Reading color theory books can be a huge benefit to any artist or designer. The study of color theory allows us to use colors more effectively and naturally in our work. It does not matter what your background in color theory is all graphic designers can benefit from studying color theory. Using color not only helps enhance our work as artists but also allow us to develop a mood for a particular piece. This helps to create a better understanding and connection with others through the use of color.
If you have ever been unsure about your color, color theory can help you. Even if you are already familiar with color theory, it can make a huge difference to continue the study. You will see a significant improvement in your work, and you will be more confident when using colors.
Lucky for us, the study of color has been around for centuries, and we have an entire history of information available to us through books. Some of the world’s greatest artists, sculptors, and painters have all shared their information and techniques for designing with color in books.
Graphic design, concept art, photography, film, and illustration can all be impacted by color choice, so it is crucial for all artists to have at least a basic understanding of color. If you are a graphic designer or artist and you are looking to learn or refresh your knowledge on color, we have put together a list of 11 books about color theory that every graphic designer should read.
Our Picks for Top Color Theory Books
Josef Albers’ 50th anniversary edition book on color theory is the standard against which all other color theory textbooks have been written. It is hands down still the best book for learning color theory and the most widely used textbook at the best art schools and universities. If you were to only read one book on this list, make it this one.
Edwards shares her knowledge of color and how to use it to create unique shades and hues. She presents information about color theory in an understandable. This is a great book for beginners or those just looking to learn more about color theory.
This creative book explores the history of 75 colors. Written in a light and fun tone, The Secret Lives of Color, provides a captivating look at the history of color through captivating stories that are easy to read. This book is a great choice for professional artists and interested learners.
Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours was first published in 1814. It is a systematic guide for color that has been treasured by scientists and artists for over two centuries. This pocket-sized facsimile is an updated version of the original that will delight and inform a new generation of artists and designers.
The Pocket Complete Color Harmony: 1,500 Plus Color Palettes for Designers, Artists, Architects, Makers, and Educators by Tina Sutton
The Pocket Complete Color Harmony is a mini-course on how to use color. Readers first learn how to use the color wheel. The book then covers the main aspects of color such as bright, warm, pale, cool, and pale. Finally, readers will explore color moods. You will see how color invokes emotions like sadness, power, and joy.
Secret Language of Color: Science, Nature, History, Culture, Beauty of Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, & Violet
The Secret Language of Color begins with an explanation of the physics of color. The book deep-dives into how and why color is seen. The book provides a fascinating look at the colors we see in nature and the universe and how we can influence them.
Color: A Natural History of the Palette will help you understand where colors come from by diving into their origins and history. For history lovers, this book is a must-read. Finlay even included information about where pigments for certain colors can be found in the world.
Have you ever wondered why certain colors were prominent in various art movements? This book has the answer to that question and many more! In Anatomy of Color, Baty provides a guide to colors throughout history. The book crosses art and history to explore the origins of color. You’ll even learn why specific colors have gained so much popularity by learning how their pigments were made.
Wada was a pioneer in traditional color combinations and his book, A Dictionary of Color Combinations, helped to establish the foundations for modern color theory. This book, which is based on Wada’s original 6-volume work, offers 348 color combinations.
The Designer’s Dictionary of Color offers a detailed look at 30 color keys that are essential to graphic design and art. This book is organized by spectrum and includes charts that show color variations as well as color ranges. Each chapter explains the cultural and creative history of each color, as well as examples of color usage that range from the artistic to the practical.
Color Theory: An essential guide to color-from basic principles to practical applications by Patti Mollica
Patti Mollica, a renowned artist, walks you through the essential aspects of color theory in relation to acrylic and oil painting. This book covers everything you need to know to create dynamic, harmonious, and meaningful colors in your art, from color psychology to pigment characteristics to color mixing. This essential guide offers a contemporary, fresh take on color theory. It includes step-by-step projects as well as practical tips and techniques that will help you put your color knowledge to good use.