Making sense of color


When my studiomate Hayyim brought copies of these incredible 18th century color charts to the studio yesterday, I couldn’t wait to find and share them. They come from a book (which is online in its entirety) on the development of color technologies in Europe in the 18th century. The charts show the emergence of the color wheels most artists and designers are familiar with, and some more novel approaches, such as triangles and pyramids, that reveal a generation of thinkers’ joyful struggle to make sense of our chromatic world in the wake of Newton’s theory of color.

I hope the color brightens up your weekend. See you next week!

xx Ingrid

Addendum: In the original post, I linked but did not cite the source of these wonderful charts. Please see the following reference for more information on this fascinating topic:

Sarah Lowengard, The Creation of Color in Eighteenth-Century Europe, Gutenberg-e Series (New York: Columbia University Press, 2006).







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  1. Here’s the full citation for the book you mention:

    Sarah Lowengard, _The Creation of Color in Eighteenth-Century Europe_, Gutenberg-e Series (New York: Columbia University Press, 2006).

    It is a born-digital book (i.e., not available in an author-approved or publisher-issued “hard copy”) so I tend to be somewhat testy about being recognized as its author.



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