Coming to Terms: Saturation & Intensity

Coming to Terms: Saturation & Intensity

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Many of us love to “geek out’ on color…whether it be with tools, materials or terms.  There isn’t always agreement about what each term actually means, and some of them seem to overlap.  Maybe some color terms cannot be neatly tied up in  one definition.

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Let’s perceive this post as an exploration, an investigation, and a drilling down into some of the color terms we use every day.  Well, the color terms we may use often, without truly thinking about it, or considering what they mean. Perception…that’s the ticket!  We’re going to take this slowly, step-by-step, working (and playing) through the terms, like Noah’s Ark, two by two. We started at the beginning, with Color &  Hue.  We worked  our way through Colorfulness  & Chroma. Now let’s look at the intertwined concepts of Saturation and Intensity.

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Many of us use the term “saturated” often…and the term “intensity” even more. But, what do they mean? is there even an agreement as to what they mean?

Saturation has been described as the strength of a color, the dominance, and/or vividness of hue in a color, the intensity of a color,, the degree of difference of a color from a gray of the same lightness or brightness as the color.  Saturation is one of the three aspects by which a color is described, the others being hue, and value.

We learned that “Colorfulness can be defined as ‘”the degree of difference between a color and gray…and Chroma is the colorfulness relative to the brightness of another color that appears white under similar viewing conditions.”

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Saturation may be defined as “the colorfulness of a color relative to its own brightness.”   or “ the degree to which it is different than gray at a given lightness.” Saturation measures the degree to which a color differs from a gray of the same darkness or lightness.

Thus, the Saturation aspect of a color may be defined as how far is from gray (“Colorfulness”), as regards to the aspect of “ visual perception in which a source appears to be radiating or reflecting light.”, or, Brightness. Thus Saturation relates to Brightness, which relates to to Luminance, which will be discussed in a subsequent post!

We have ascertained that “unpacking’ these Color Terms is akin to a a tongue-twister AND a brain-teaser!

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To desaturate, (lessen saturation, or make less intense, give the appearance of being less strong, or, less full of, color) in a subtractive system, such as paint color, gray, black, white, or the complement (the color opposite on the color wheel) of the color in question can be added.  All will serve to lessen the intensity, strength, “purity”, concentration, and / or colorfulness of the color, and thus make it less saturated.

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The term “Intensity” is often used interchangeably with “Saturation”, by painters and others.  I prefer to think of the term “Intensity” as a descriptor or adjective of “Saturation”.  Also known as “intensity,” saturation describes the strength of a color with respect to its value or lightness. What that means is a color’s saturation is the degree to which it is different than gray at a given lightness. For instance, colors near middle gray are relatively unsaturated compared to brighter, more vibrant colors….”–http://www.colorcube.com/articles/theory/theory.htm

“….saturation tells us how a color looks under certain lighting conditions. For instance, a room painted a solid color will appear different at night than in daylight. Over the course of the day, although the color is the same, the saturation changes. This property of color can also be called intensity. Be careful not to think about SATURATION in terms of light and dark but rather in terms of pale or weak and pure or strong.”http://www.colorcube.com/articles/theory/glossary.htm

Remember, Saturation is related to brightness, light, and luminance.

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Well, I hope your brain is not completely scrambled! It may be time to take a deep breath, relax, let our minds unwind, and take a moment to simply enjoy and revel in color…and saturate our soul and senses with it…pure, intense and full.

Coming to Terms: Colorfulness & Chroma

Coming to Terms: Colorfulness & Chroma

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Many of us love to “geek out’ on color…whether it be with tools, materials or terms.  There isn’t always agreement about what each term actually means, and some of them seem to overlap.  Maybe some color terms cannot be neatly tied up in even a colorful bow of one definition.

WEB1

Let’s perceive this post as an exploration, an investigation, and a drilling down into some of the color terms we use every day.   Well, the color terms we may use often, without truly thinking about it, or considering what they mean.  Perception…that’s the ticket!  We’re going to take this slowly, step-by-step, working (and playing) through the terms, like Noah’s Ark, two by two. We started at the beginning, with Color &  Hue.  Now let’s work our way through, and look at the inter-related terms Colorfulness and Chroma.

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Colorfulness:  The definition that made the most sense to me is: ‘”the degree of difference between a color and gray. “–https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorfulness   In essence, Colorfulness is the level, or amount of color in a color! Not to be confused with “Hue“, or the “color of a color”. IE-the question,  “What color is it?” Relates to Hue, while “How full of Color is it?” relates to Colorfulness.

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Gray is a mixture of black and white, Grey or gray is an intermediate color between black and white, a neutral or achromatic color, meaning literally a color “without color.” To drill down a bit on “Gray”, and its components, Black and White: “Black…. is the darkest color, the result of the absence of or complete absorption of light. It is the opposite of white. ….the color the human eye sees when it looks at light which contains all the wavelengths of the visible spectrum, at full brightness and without absorption. White does not have any hue.”

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Chroma may be described as “the colorfulness relative to the brightness of another color that appears white under similar viewing conditions.”  According to this definition, Chroma is a type, or aspect of Colorfulness, which relates to Brightness (which relates to Light, and  Lightness.)  This exploration  is becoming quite a tongue-twister as well as a brain-teaser!

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Thus, according to the above definitions, Chroma, means how far a color is from achromatic gray (Colorfulness),  as compared to the brightness of another color that appears white under similar viewing conditions.  Spoiler alert: “Saturation is the colorfulness of a color relative to its own brightness.     (We will get into Saturation, Brightness, Purity and Intensity in subsequent posts!)

Thus the term Chroma is associated with Brightness, or the perception of luminance.  I am repeating here, but sometime repetition helps us to drill down into, dissect and finally understand meaning.

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Well, that is about all the drilling down we have time for at the moment, so I  will leave You with my heartfelt wish that your Life be filled with as much Colorfulness, and the highest level of Chroma that you desire, with the Achromatic moments far and few between.  Unless you love shades of Gray, of course!

Brand of Colors: Color Etiquette for your Graphics

Brand of Colors: Color Etiquette for your Graphics

When friend, colleague and client Debbie Josendale  founder, creator, and president of 3C Marketing Group LLC contacted me to get my opinion on the colors in the graphic below, I dove in headfirst, and delivered an analysis of not only the colors, but their placement, qualities, and distribution.

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It is a process I find fascinating, and I never tire of both studying, and analyzing how, why, and where colors work best  for the purpose they are being employed…or not.  When the colors are “not working”, sometimes a slight tweak will do the trick; changing the placement, value, chroma, or saturation of a color, or how much of it is being used.  Other times, a greater overhaul of the color palette may be requited.

Debbie knew that something was not right in the graphic above…not in balance. She knew the feeling she wanted communicated wasn’t quite there yet.

I saw immediately that the central “bar” of color, surrounding the word “AUTHORITY” was too dark, and needed some brightness and warmth to fully communicate the idea of “AUTHORITY” as a positive, powerful, and in essence, beautiful thing to the viewer.  I suggested that instead of the deep, almost blackish green (on my screen, and in this age of individual internet screen and printers, who knows what any given pair of eyes is seeing…), that a a mixture of the top green, and bottom blue, IE, a warmer, clearer, yet still strong,  teal be used, to distill the positive message of leadership and problem-solving.

I also suggested that the lighter, brighter green, used at the bottom of the graphic be moved to the top, and the deeper blue at the top be used at the bottom, to “ground”  the “page”, as is done in architectural color consulting. Deeper, darker, and stronger color used on the foundation, or lower part of a building can “ground” it, making the building as a whole look more rooted, stable, and solid. By moving the green to the top of the “page” or view, I felt a more expansive, airy, and optimistic feeling could be created.

Finally, I advised that the top blue block, encasing the Map Marketing (TM) Method lettering be altered in some way that again, would make it less heavy, and also differentiate from the blocks of color below.  This is challenging, as this lettering/text serves as a logo, and thus changing even its scale could be tricky.

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Well, Deb  and her team made the majority of the adjustments I advised,  to the graphic.  Above you can see the beautiful teal color which replaces that dark blackish-green surrounding the word AUTHORITY”,  relieving it of that “black hole” feeling. Not only was the green from the original moved from the bottom of the piece to the top, but a cooler hue of green, closer to the central teal, and less yellow  is used, bringing the piece as a whole into greater color harmony. The blue at the bottom is also adjusted to be closer to the teal, a greener blue, rather than the original “royal” blue, and is now separated from the “title” color bar/block at the very top.

We are still working on what can be done with that top color block, which I feel still, is too strong and heavy, visually “bearing down” on the rest of the graphic. The left side of the top color “block” overhangs the words in color read sideways, which are surrounded by the white background, giving it the sense of being off-center, and bearing to the left.

Enlarging the white text inside that top blue block would alleviate this to some extent, but my advice would be to lose that top block of color altogether, and make the text itself blue, and maybe a bit larger and heavier, to fill the space.
We will see what 3C decides to do!

In any event, the general consensus is that the graphic as a whole is much improved, and better communicates the feeling its creator wants to project. Voila the power of color, how much of it is used, and where!

You can hear our “Color Muze” discussion on Rebecca E. Parsons‘s blog talk radio program, “Artistically Speaking Talk Show” on this subject, preceded by a wonderful interview with paper artist Helen Hiebert.  You can also catch previous “Color Muzes” here, in Cre8tive Compass Magazine.

From all of us to all of You: here’s wishing all of You the  right color mix for You and Your color needs…today!