9 Essential Color Theory Books for Designers and Artists

9 Best Color Theory Books in Graphic Design

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Color Theory is one of the key principles in graphic design and art, colors can convey different messages and transmit feelings to the viewer just by seeing them, feelings that can vary by the complementary colors, that is why for any graphic designers is important to understand these concepts and know how color theory works to create cohesive color palettes.


For many ages there are studies about color and how they are formed, what feelings they convey and how to combine them correctly to create harmonious color schemes, that is why I made this list with 9 Essential books every graphic designers should read to dominate color theory and color psychology.


Let’s start this list with one must-have book for any graphic designer and artist and its interaction of color written by Josef Albers, one of the most important artists of the Bauhaus School and where he developed his Color Theory.


This book is essential to understand correctly how works color intensity, color boundaries, juxtapositions, and casual gradation and how we can change our color perception depending on the nearby colors.


So if you are a graphic designer, design student, or artist this book is a must-read book to understand how color theory works and how you can use it to transmit certain feelings to the viewer.

If you are a beginner graphic designer or a design student then I recommend you this book written by Betty Edwards as an introduction to color and color theory as it covers all the topics related to color with clear and intelligent language easy to understand for everybody.


In this book of 220 pages, you will learn basic color concepts and learn how to mix different colors using the color wheel to create harmonious color palettes, besides this book covers traditional modes of painting it’s a great book to use it as a guide of color to create your color schemes.


If you want to learn about color through history then this book written by Kassia St Clair is made for you, as it covers the history of 75 colors as the main character and tells you the tales and curious facts about these colors through history.


This book has a fun and engaging tone perfect for professional designers and curious people. The Secret Lives Of Color shows you plenty of curious anecdotes about colors at the same time that thought the stories the author makes a deep analysis helping you to understand the color, so if you want to learn about color psychology without a heavy read this book is perfect for you.

This book was written by Sanzo Wada, he was an artist, teacher, and customer designer who has visionary ideas ahead of his time and made a six-volume book about color and released it in the 1930s, a dictionary of color combinations is based on this six-volume collection in a more accessible way.


If you are looking for color inspiration for your next design project you should read this book as it has more than 300 color combination ideas that are still perfect nowadays, at the same time that this book contains practical advice on the use of color theory.

If you want to know how colors are formed and why we see them like that then this book is made for you, written by Joann Eckstut, this book explain in an accessible way the science of color learning physics and the scientific aspect of color.


With the secret language of color, you will discover the relationship between color, light, and shadow in a figurative and symbol way helping graphic designers to create ideal color combinations taking care of these factors.

Color choices is written by Stephen Quiller an international artist and this book offers you a unique perspective on mastering the color styles, on this book you will learn the color theory concept and learn how to create great color schemes.


On Color Choices you will learn how to construct your own color schemes using color sense at the same time that it educates you on lights, mid-tones, darks, and shadow and how they can become a single one to create a cohesive color palette for every type of design or artistic work.


An important factor for a graphic designer is to explore and experiment with ideas, and that is why this book exactly do, it shows you the fundamental color concepts and helps you explore the vast repertoire of colors to help you create unique color schemes for your design projects.


This book comes with 70 different exercises that will help you understand how colorwork in different types of art and helps you to understand the general guidelines about color theory making it easier to break the rules and get creative with color.

Color inspiration is a book written by Darius A. Monslef IV and if you are looking for color palette inspiration for your next design project you should read this book as an inspiration guide, as it contains 3,286 fresh and inspiring color schemes ideas you can use for your next project.


This book contains over the best color palettes created by COLOURLover’s community and organized them in an intuitive and logical order with accurate CMYK, RGB, and HEX values and a brief explanation about color theory, so if you want some creative ideas about the color you should consider to read this book.


PANTONE: The 20th Century in Color is a book written by Leatrice Eiseman, Pantone’s chief color guru, and this book is a really helpful guide to graphic designers as it explores the color trends through the 20th century.


With this book you will see a historical evolution on color trends and how these trends change through the years and why they will popular during these ages, at the same time that if you are a designer looking to create a retro-style graphic design project this book can be really helpful to choose the color palette for your idea.



Hope you find this post useful and thanks to this books you understand the science behind color theory and how it can affect the viewer perception of your design, with this list of books you will dominate the art of color and learn how to create the perfect color combination for your design, and if you want to learn more about color in graphic design you can read my post about Color Theory and How Color Psychology Affects Logo Design or you can check my other posts about books in graphic design.

9 Graphic Design Books About Color Theory

If you found this post useful you might like to read these posts about Graphic Design Inspiration.


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