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Lesson Navigation IconLayout Design Settings / Graphical Semiology

Unit Navigation IconMap Size and Scale

Unit Navigation IconDefinition and Organisation of Map Elements

Unit Navigation IconTypography

Unit Navigation IconColour Design

LO Navigation IconColour Basics

LO Navigation IconColour Models

LO Navigation IconColour Rules

LO Navigation IconColour Harmony

LO Navigation IconColour Harmonious Proportions

LO Navigation IconColour Expressions

LO Navigation IconColour Contrasts

LO Navigation IconColour Interaction

LO Navigation IconColour Conventions

LO Navigation IconColour Schemes in General

Unit Navigation IconReadability Rules

Unit Navigation IconMap Critics

Unit Navigation IconSummary

Unit Navigation IconRecommended Reading

Unit Navigation IconGlossary

Unit Navigation IconBibliography

Unit Navigation IconMetadata

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Colour Basics

The human eye and light of the termvisible spectrum in any state, are the two agents that allow us to recognise colours. They are responsible for termcolour appearance. In other words: Our light-sensitive receptors on the retina pass those light impulses from the termrods and termcones to our brain where they are bundled into a picture. Which colours we specifically identify is dependant on the characteristics of each individuals’ visual system.

The matter of colour perception allowed man to set up theories about how colour works and can be ordered, and we will point out the most significant components in this learning unit.

A colour circle, based on red, yellow and blue has long been traditional in the field of art. Besides Goethe, who concentrated on the theory of colours in the philosophy of natural science, Sir Isaac Newton - from a mathematical and physical point of view - developed the first circular diagram of colours in 1666. This colour wheel is a 2-D description. It shows the purely saturated, spectral colours of the termvisual spectrum. The colours between red and blue, including purple, that are not covered in the spectrum, can be seen as an overlap of the two ends of the spectrum.

Colour Wheel

The ability to measure and define colours is most important if preparing the map for printing. All visible colours can be described via this 3 parameters:

These characteristics may firstly be illustrated with a 2-D colour model:

Relief: reproduced with the permission of swisstopo (BA027224)

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