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Skip to 0 minutes and 7 seconds This is Julia Begbie from the KLC School of Design. We’re going to look now at concept and colour.

Skip to 0 minutes and 20 seconds When she spoke to us, Joa Studholme told us that nature inspires her. And she talks about the memory of a colour of mud on her children’s legs. She also used the example of the aubergine, or the eggplant, when talking about inspiration that came to her from nature. And she referred to the dramatic contrast between this plant’s shaded, purple-red body and the fresh green stalk, which suggests a ready-made colour palette. Designers and creatives are expected to come up with new colour palettes for each and every job. And clients, quite rightly, expect to get original solutions. So in the same way that Joa referenced nature as a source of ideas, designers also use abstract inspirational references for their projects.

Skip to 1 minute and 16 seconds So a concept, as used within design, is an abstract inspiration that suggests colour, texture, or a mood that is a relevant visual theme for the brief that the client has given the designer. So how can you use abstract images to help you to create original palettes of colour? So we hope that as you take this course, you might have a particular project in mind– something creative that you’re going to be making or doing. And you’ll want to take a new and original approach to colour and not just fall back on old favourites, which is something that all of us are prone to doing. So using a concept image to inspire you could be a great start.

Skip to 2 minutes and 8 seconds Our design students all follow a similar process. First of all, they take time to understand the practical and aesthetic requirements of the client. They carefully think through and they challenge assumptions. So just because something has always been done in a particular way, or just because you’re accustomed to having or using a colour in a particular place or location, it doesn’t necessarily make this the best or only solution. So there always has to be an element of research, again, to ensure that they approach the project with an open mind and that the student is well-informed.

Skip to 2 minutes and 52 seconds So once we fully understand the client’s needs, their wishes and desires, and the reasons that underlie these, we can start to think about a creative mood for this project.

Skip to 3 minutes and 7 seconds So let’s look at some examples of images that are suggestive of mood.

Skip to 3 minutes and 50 seconds So hopefully, you’ll see from these images that a picture can convey style or mood. And for an architect or designer, concepts influence their projects in many different ways. However, for our purposes on this course, we are thinking just about colour. And I’m going to introduce you to a really easy digital tool that is going to allow you to release the nuance of colour from an image. In this example, I’ve put the image on the screen through a digital colour extraction tool. And this is a tool called Color Explorer that we’ll be introducing you to via a link, as part of another step. So this wonderful online tool, which is free to use, can be used to extract colour from images.

Skip to 4 minutes and 43 seconds And it can be really surprising to discover just how many colours are hidden in one photograph. So often, our eyes see an object but don’t necessarily pick up on the subtle and discreet colours that they’re made up of. If we look a little bit deeper into this image and analyse the basis of the colour scheme, we can see that it’s a harmonious scheme, which means that it’s made up of colours that are near neighbours on the colour wheel. And in this case, the colours are slightly whitened, perhaps they’re even slightly greyed. So they’re verging on being tints. But this is a relatively pure palette of colours. Contrast this with the colours extracted from our tranquil and moody landscape image.

Skip to 5 minutes and 36 seconds You can see that these colours are much less saturated. They are, in fact, shades. On the whole, there is a significant quantity of black in most of these colours.

Skip to 5 minutes and 51 seconds With this particular colour extraction tool, you can choose the number of colours that you would like to have withdrawn and presented from the image that you upload. And it’s very helpful that this tool will break these colours down and give you an RGB reference– a Red, Green, Blue reference– for each of the colours that it presents. So our tranquil and moody– our sophisticated scheme– is made up of colours that are near neighbours on the colour wheel. So we have started with a harmonious palette of colour, but we’ve quietened this even further by adding black and creating shades, which knocks back the contrast between colours to an even greater degree.

Skip to 6 minutes and 47 seconds Looking at our third image– again, this is a harmonious scheme. The colours are near neighbours. But the impact of the colours is greater, because they haven’t been blackened to the same extent. So we have some fairly pure hues at play, albeit within the harmonious palette. And these colours combine to create a slightly stronger effect with greater contrast between each of the colours. So this is another harmonious scheme. The colours are purer, and therefore, there is more contrast and slightly more drama than there is from the palette that we saw previously.

Skip to 7 minutes and 29 seconds So colour extraction is an extremely helpful tool. And the process that we recommend here is the selection of a mood image that conveys the style and mood that you would like to reproduce in the creative scheme that you’re developing, and the extraction of colour from that image using a digital tool in order to create a palette from which you can make selection of colour to take forward into your final project. The great thing about the RGB references that this tool provides is that they can be converted online to RAL numbers. And RAL numbers can be used to order paint and other materials.

Skip to 8 minutes and 18 seconds So the process of moving from an abstract image that inspires you with its combinations of colour, through colour extraction, to a palette of colours that you can then select and take forward to a scheme, to finished product, such as paint and other materials that you can use practically in the realisation of the scheme that you are in the process of creating. This week, we’re going to ask you to work with abstract mood images and to try out colour extraction for yourself, if you have access to a computer and have the ability to do this. So we hope that you have fun playing with this creative, but extremely practical and versatile tool.

Skip to 9 minutes and 11 seconds In the articles associated with this step, we’ll be giving you further information on the process with links to the various sites that you might like to try using.

Concept and colour

In this video, Lead Educator Julia Begbie discusses what we mean by concept and colour in the design field.

  • A concept is an abstract inspiration that suggests colour, texture or mood.

How to discover a concept

The design process helps you to find inspiration for creative projects:

  • Take a brief
  • Analyse the brief
  • Carry out research
  • Identify the required ‘mood’.

Palettes, images and mood

You can use online tools to extract the colour palette in an image that inspires you. One example is ColorExplorer. We’ll look at this in more depth later this week.

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This video is from the free online course:

The Power of Colour

KLC School of Design