Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Grayscale versions of colour

Processes like logo design can begin to run away from the designer if they don’t consider one thing at a time – which is why, as the form of the logo is being drafted, the colour may be ignored for the time being. That would mean working in grayscale or even black and white.

The following information came from my finding the percentage of black in the grayscale version of some basic colours. For instance, in the table below we see the numbers 10 to 100; that’s 10% of cyan, magenta and yellow in the first column, running up to 100% of each in the last. Their grayscale versions are beside them – there’s 3% black in the grayscale version of 10% cyan, for instance. The grayscale version of a colour, in effect, tells us how deep/dark it appears to the eye – this, however, is NOT to say that blue doesn’t recede on the page more than red – light and dark is not the same as near and far.

In checking the grayscale values for colours it can sometimes be surprising to find that one is darker than another, and it’s good practice to consider how the hue and the brightness are working in colours. Going back to logo design, working primarily in grayscale will allow you, firstly, to focus on form; secondly, it will force you to decide what should be dark and what should be light – choosing colours will then be down to matching their grayscale versions with the values you’ve chosen and picking a hue that will make the right impact – quiet/loud/vibrant/reserved. Something to think about anyway.

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