Saturday, December 9, 2017

Color Index XL

Title:  Color Index XL:  More than 1,100 New Palettes with CMYK and RGB Formulas for Designers and Artists
Author:  Jim Krause
Publication Information:  Watson-Guptill. 2017. 304 pages.
ISBN:  0399579788 / 978-0399579783

Book Source:  I received this book through the Blogging for Books program free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "Color Index XL is the latest volume in my Color Index series."

Favorite Quote:  "... color really isn't all that complicated as long as you look at it in the right way."

I love the vibrant cover of the this book - the vibrant rainbow creating motion against the stark black and white. It's probably a key reason I picked up this particular book. I have an amateur's interest in design and photography. As such, I find the ideas intriguing and the opportunity to learn invaluable.

This book is an updated version of a reference manual first published in 2002. Its objective is simple - to provide "good-looking, attention-grabbing, and thematically on-target color schemes for ... design and art projects." In the introduction, the author explains the enhancements in this edition - larger size, print pages in which colors bleed to the edge of the page, palettes incorporating five colors, and palettes shown in four different versions.

Although clearly a reference for designer, the book does include an up-front section on color theory. The section is short and to the point. As an amateur, I appreciate the introduction with terms, definitions, and illustrations.

Beyond that, the book has no other text component. The remainder of the over 300 pages is all color palettes "organized into three sections:  warmer palettes, mixed palettes, and cooler palettes." Each page of the book is one palette presented in four variations - brighter, darker, lighter, and more muted.  For each variation, the book presents CMYK and RGB formulas for precise incorporation into projects. Now, on to the pros and cons...

  • First and foremost, what's not to love about a book full of color. Flipping through the book is like looking at a rainbow. The book is lovely just to look at.
  • Although marketed as a paperback, the book has a weight to it. The cover, spine, and paper are not that of what I think of in a paperback. It is of a quality to allow true printing of the colors being depicted.
  • With almost 300 palettes shown, the book offers the ability to follow a formula. With imagination for substitutions and combinations added in, the inspiration is endless.
  • The fact that the colors bleed to the end of the page enables a designer to hold the page against a project or planned use and visualize the color flow.
  • The palette on each page are laid out in a rotating set of four geometric patterns. The patterns also vary in size. Perhaps, there is a design industry reason for doing so that I do not know. I find the patterns distracting. I would rather see larger swatches of the colors of the palette.
  • The center third of each page is taken up by the CMYK and RGB formula. I would prefer to see that text smaller and perhaps at the top or bottom of the page, leaving the primary part of the page devoted to the colors.
Finally, this is a book in which my clear preference would be for a print copy. A digital display would like be different and impacted by the settings of the display. To me, it would also just be harder to use. Now, to let imagination run wild and put it to use.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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