Contemporary Color : Theory and Use book cover
3rd Edition

Contemporary Color
Theory and Use

  • Available for pre-order on April 3, 2023. Item will ship after April 24, 2023
ISBN 9781032151533
April 24, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
504 Pages 251 Color Illustrations

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Book Description

This fully revised and updated third edition offers students and artists valuable insights into traditional color theory and its practical application using today's cutting-edge technology.


The text is lavishly illustrated, stressing issues of contemporary color use and examining how today’s artists and designers are using color in a multitude of mediums in their work. It is the only book that has parity between the male and female artists and designers represented, while containing more multicultural and global examples of art and design than any other text. This book begins with how we see color and its biological basis, progressing to the various theories about color and delving into the psychological meaning of color and its use. There are individual chapters on color use in art and design, as well as global and multicultural color use. One chapter investigates cross cultural life events such as marriages and funerals, while examining the six major religions’ conceptual and psychological underpinnings of color use. The final chapter explores the future of color.


Contemporary Color is the ideal text for color theory courses, but also for beginning art and design students, no matter what their future major discipline or emphasis may be. It provides the foundation on which to build their career and develop their own personal artistic voice and vision.

Table of Contents

1. Color Perception  2. Color Theory-Making Sense of Color  3. Color Psychology  4. Color Harmonies  5. Pigments, Colorants, and Paints  6. Digital Color  7. Color and 3-D  8. Color and Fine Art  9. Color and Design  10. Global Color  11. The Future of Color

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Steven Bleicher is a tenured professor of visual arts and former chairperson of the visual arts department at Coastal Carolina University. Bleicher received his B.F.A. and M.F.A. from Pratt Institute. He is an accomplished artist whose artwork is included in many major collections and is widely exhibited both nationally and internationally in numerous solo and group exhibitions.


"Contemporary Color, Theory and Use is a must-have for students of art and design. Along with theoretical discussions, it covers the practical aspects of color as a means of expression and communication. The presentation of ideas is clear and concise. This third edition is updated to include recent innovations in the field." - Sandy Skoglund

"A wonderful resource and a must-have reference book for all artists, designers, visual creators and students interested in the deep impacts that colors have on our lived experience." - Jennifer Wen Ma