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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

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Colour Rules

Knowledge about colour’s origin and ordering principles does not yet give you the ability to make use of them in the right way. For generation of a well-formed end-product there are some important basic rules to consider, because there is hardly another system to find that effects on the psychology of the recipient more directly than colour. Colour works on three levels:

  • Visual and objective
  • Expressive, emotive and subjective
  • Symbolic or cultural

You, the designer, may make intuitive decisions at some stage, but nevertheless rules have to be observed. Those rules you can call 'Colour Harmony', 'Harmonious Proportions' and 'Expressions' as well as 'Contrasts' and 'Colour Interaction'.:

When planning colour concepts, be aware of colour-deficient vision, also known as colour-blindness. You can test yourself with the following test-plates. There are different defects that can appear.

Have a look at the PDF for deeper information: Colour_Deficient_Visioning.pdf

One out of 12 men will have colour preception deficiencies. To minimise the effort for colour-blind users of maps and graphics, without making changes to the colour palette, you should internalise some propositions:

  • Be consistent in using colour, that means to choose the same colour for the same level of information or the same meaning.
  • Do not use colours just for their own sake
  • Think about using colours just as an additional instrument beside your basic proposition
  • Use more colours only if it helps clarify the logical structure of the information

If you intend to adapt your colour concept to the colour-deficient visioning, then have a look on this web page, where the RGB values or the code via hexadecimal numerals is directly converted. It will show you the 216 colours of the web palette.

The content of the following external link concentrates on designing for colour blind users in general; it is just optional Designing for Colour-Blind Users.pdf

If you want to see how colour-blind people perceive colours, then have a look here: What do colour-blind people see?

If you are interested in this topic, please check the web with the search item "safe web colors color-deficient". You will find extensive information.

Colour has already been mentioned as a means of grouping and emphasising. However, although it is very effective you should use it with care.

  • Too many colours destroy the unity of the display.
  • If colours are over-used they lose their impact.
  • Avoid using colours in ways which contradicts their conventional meanings e.g. red is not a good colour for showing that a fact is clear.
  • Remember that meaning also depends on circumstances e.g. blue indicates water on a map and cold seasons.
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