The Effects of Color Contrast and Aesthetics

Topics: Green, Color, Color theory Pages: 9 (2081 words) Published: April 23, 2012

COLOR Harmony

Definition of terms:

Chroma refers to amount of intensity that a color has

Red is very bright
with a high intensity

Grey is very “dull” and
has a low intensity

Value refers to the lightness or darkness of a color

Pink is light
and has a high

Maroon is dark and
has a low value

Background Works:

Betty Edwards is a well-known author in the art education world for her book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. In Edward's book, she claims that the right side of the brain contains spactical and creative thinking skills to communicate visually, while the left side of the brain contains logic and reasoning thinking skills to communicate linguistically. Her book has been proven to bring positive results. This book has been published in several languages and it is the standard resource for most art schools.

In another book, Color, she develops another theory. Her new theory is that if colors are placed in a circle based on their value and chroma, then colors on the opposite side are the most harmonious and aesthetically pleasing. (see next page for diagram)

The purpose of this experiment assess the validity of Edward's Theory of Color Harmony based on Opposite Value and Opposite Chroma. This experiment will do this by analyzing statistical data from a color survey that has various color combinations that are based on axis of harmony that Edwards proposes. The information will be analyzed to test the validity of her theory.

Here is Edward's diagram of a green color circle based on value:

The diagram includes the axis of harmony according to her theory.

Here is a diagram of a green color circle based on chroma:

The diagram includes the axis of harmony according to her theory.

This experiment will measure value by combining the two value wheels to create one:

Chroma will be measured in two ways:
It will be measured by comparing 100% chroma with various levels of chroma

It will also be measured by comparing 50% chroma with various levels of chroma.


1. Create a color harmony survey. The color harmony survey will contain various combinations of color based on value and chroma. This will include a blue version and an orange version to increase the validity of the results. The order of the color combinations will be randomized for to prevent the participant from repeating the same patterns if they recognize a patrern.

2. Complete survey. 6 participants will be chosen to complete the color survey. They will observe various color combinations based on chroma and value and rate the amount of aesthetic appeal on a scale from -5 to 5.

3. Collect Data. The scores of the color survey will be collected. The color combinations that were randomized, will be put back into order based on value and chroma. This information will be placed on a graph that displays: the color combination of chroma or value and the frequency of each score.

4. Analyze. The information will then be analyzed by averaging the aesthetic score for each color combination. These averages will then be used to create a best-fit-line to determine if there is a relationship between combinations of chroma and value with aesthetic appeal. This analysis will also include a description of the amount of error in the experiment.

5. Conclude. The results of the analysis will then determine the validity of Edward's Theory of Color Harmony

The Survey:

The two surveys above will be given to 6 participants. These two surveys have the exact same color combinations but they are mixed and are have a different hue. For example, question 12 in the...

Bibliography: Edwards, Betty. Color. NY: Penguin Group, 2004.
Edwards, Betty. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. NY: Tarcher, 1989.
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