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What is Color?

 , May 05, 2016 updated on January 19, 2017
Color is how humans perceive electromagnetic radiation emitted by the sun, stars, fire and electronic devices such as light bulbs.

Visible Light

Structures in the human eye can see a limited band of the electromagnetic spectrum. This band is known as light, or visible light.

Color of Things

Each physical thing absorbs and reflects different wavelengths of light, giving things color.

Color Perception

Humans have trichromatic color vision meaning that we have three types of cones in our eyes that are sensitive to three different spectra. Perception abilities vary from person to person. The average person can distinguish between millions of colors including different hues, tints and shades. The upper bound is around 10 million colors.
Overview: Color
TypeColor Theory
DefinitionHow humans perceive different wavelengths of visible light.
Related ConceptsColor Theory
Impossible Colors

Color Theory

This is the complete list of articles we have written about color theory.
Analogous Color
Color Combinations
Color Depth
Color Harmony
Color is Real
Color Perception
Color Purity
Color Saturation
Color Scheme
Color Space
Color Symbolism
Color Temperature
Complementary Colors
Corporate Colors
Impossible Colors
Monochromatic Color
Primary Colors
Rainbow Colors
Spectral Color
Tints And Shades
Visible Spectrum
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Color Theory

An overview of color theory.

Color Theory Definition

Definitions of color theory.

Color Theory

The study of color mixing and the visual effects of color.

Impossible Colors

Colors that can't be seen under normal circumstances.

Color Harmony

Why colors match or clash.

Color Symbolism

A definition of color symbolism with examples.

Sensory Design

A definition of sensory design with examples.

Rainbow Colors

An overview of the colors of the rainbow including a few common myths.


A large collection of color palettes.

Visual Design

A list of visual design techniques, elements and considerations.


A design element that is meant to catch the eye.

Symmetry vs Balance

The difference between symmetry and balance.

Proportion vs Scale

An overview of proportion and scale in design.

Design Contrast

The basic ways to create contrast in a design.

Design Unity

The common types of design unity.

Visual Communication Examples

A definition of visual communication with examples.

Information Design

The common elements of information design.

Modern Design

The defining characteristics of modern design.
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