Universe of Color   2 comments

A few weeks ago, you may have seen my Universe of Energy graphic. I had created one about a year before, when I had just started learning how to use Photoshop. When I dug through the archives and saw the original, I was not very impressed by what I saw. But I was impressed by how far I’ve come. With that in mind, it was then that I decided it was time to try again.

With this new version, I wanted it to be completely even and geometric (the original was atrociously unbalanced, as I noticed when creating the guides for the new one). It needed to look more true to the building, ditching the tacky grid-pattern solar panel array. Most importantly, I wanted to make sure the colors would agree and flow instead of burning your eyes as the original did. So today, I’m sharing the story of how I arrived at the color scheme I eventually used.

Unlike the two palates I’m creating now, I started this project out by deciding what color I would use as the background. This is the one thing I chose well the first time around, and thus I stuck with the color (albeit a little darker). The calm Blue-Gray shade complements the dark, heavy Grays of the building itself. As well, it soothes the fiery Red/Orange/Yellow highlights, and aids in enhancing their intensity. Any warm color would have washed them out.

Warm colors, such as this Orange-Brown, wash out the other warm colors. Meanwhile, a cool color, such as Blue, makes the warm colors really pop.

This background color would set the tone for the entire design. The Red would be decided based on which shade best complemented the Blue. While, yes, Orange best complements Blue, I would start with the Red and work down (or, up if you look at the building). Red is easily matched with an Orange, which is easily matched with Yellow. Using Kuler, I was able to find complementary colors and shades of colors to pick the best options. I did continue tweaking each selected color beyond that (mostly by darkening them), but not by much.

The Grays were also based on the original. The deep, dark Gray used for the darker areas of the original become the lighter of the two  Grays in the new image. The new darker Gray was to be complementary to the Red/Orange/Yellow. It would deepen them, making them look much richer. They had to be mellow so that they really looked like they flowed instead of stopping and starting as the original. The dark Gray did the trick.

Although not included in the final image, I had also selected Greens to be used as foliage. These 3 shades of Green were determined simply by changing the hue of the Red/Orange/Yellow. These Greens did not fit the rest of the design, though. There was no proper space to add the planters. More importantly, the Greens did not go well at all with the Blue-Gray background.

And so, here we have it: My final Universe of Energy color palate. Enjoy:

Alex (Imagineer2017) is an aspiring Graphic Designer. He’d really love to hear what everyone thinks of his work. He also asks that you share this, so that his work can get out there and noticed.
You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He will stop talking in third person now.


Posted August 19, 2012 by Imagineer2017 in Art

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2 responses to “Universe of Color

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  1. Interesting take! I’ve noticed that you are using the old UoE model, though… The new one lost the mirrors and grey scale on the back flanks of the building. Now, its a bright yellow. Rather nice, too. I’m curious if you think that’s a detriment or not.

    Keep up the good work, always have liked your blog. 🙂

    • I really wasn’t going for either, honestly. It was a mix of the original and the new (using a lot of reference pics from your site, BTW!). The idea wasn’t to mimic either one of the designs, but to reflect the energy flow and feel of the pavilion. To do this, I limited it to only 3 colors as opposed to the realistic 6 or 7 gradients. This idea is especially prevalent on my new design.

      The present design of the facade itself is wonderful. I never saw the original in person, so I can’t completely grasp how it looked (outside of pictures), but I love it too. I don’t prefer one over the other, as they are both very similar. The only issue I have with the current design is that the yellow on the sides is highly visible from the main entrance. The trees just cannot hide the size nor brightness of that building. I’m sure the mirrors hid it well back in the day.

      Thanks for the kind words!

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