Nelson Higher Education

Higher Education

Contemporary Color: Theory and Use, 2nd Edition

  • Steven Bleicher
  • ISBN-10: 1111538913
  • ISBN-13: 9781111538910
  • 224 Pages | Paperback
  • Previous Editions: 2005
  • COPYRIGHT: 2012 Published
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About the Product

CONTEMPORARY COLOR is back with a beautifully produced and lavishly illustrated second edition! Combining a solid grounding in traditional color theory and a thorough exploration of effective color use in digital applications and 3D design work, this introduction to contemporary color text is a must have for all art students. Written by a leading design educator and artist whose work is widely exhibited, this text features a balanced examination of essential theory and its practical application using today's cutting-edge technology. Contemporary Color, second edition covers a wide range of topics including all the basics on color theory, while also examining the latest on digital color, 3D design, and variations in color across nations and cultures. To complement this inclusive content, the text features thought-provoking discussions of the psychological impact of color, the future of color, creativity, and best practices for students and working artists. A vast collection of vivid images, drawn from both classical and contemporary artists, rounds out the text with powerful examples to illustrate applied color theory in all of its dazzling diversity.


  • Goes beyond basic theory to present a comprehensive picture of color that encompasses science, fine art, design, and digital applications, making this text equally suitable for many arts and graphic design courses, as well as an invaluable reference for students, instructors, and working artists.

  • The author's clear, engaging writing style and inclusion of anecdotes drawn from his own successful career as a teacher and artist make even complex, challenging material accessible, interesting, and meaningful for students--without skimping on depth or detail.

  • Covers a wide range of topics effectively, from the history of color theory to contemporary issues such as digital color, three-dimensional aspects of color, brand identity, and the latest technology.

  • An extensive library of contemporary and traditional images drawn from painting, photography, architecture, and sculpture--as well as carefully crafted diagrams and charts--illustrate key concepts in a vivid, memorable way, making it easier for students to master the material and discover inspiration for their own work.


"I like that this book covers a wide range of topics related to color theory. Beginning with the physiology of the human eye and continuing on all the way through to digital color it really does cover a wealth of information about color."
— Lisa Ramussen, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh

About the Author

Steven Bleicher

Steven Bleicher is a tenured professor in the Visual Arts Department at Coastal Carolina University. After receiving his B.F.A. and M.F.A. from Pratt Institute, Professor Bleicher worked and taught at the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture; the State University of New York; Brooklyn College; and Marian College. He also served as a senior faculty member in the Arts and Humanities Program at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and was assistant dean of the School of Art and Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology. In addition to teaching, Professor Bleicher is active as a visiting lecturer and consultant on color psychology for clients including Staples, Inc., and The Savannah College of Art and Design. He is also an accomplished artist whose work is included in many major collections and has been widely exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions both nationally and internationally.

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 in Fine Art.
9. Color in Design.
10. Global Color.
11. The Future of Color.

New to this edition

  • Thorough updates to the chapter on digital color include coverage of cutting-edge concepts and the latest technology, including HDTV; CD, DVD, and Blu-ray discs; LCD, LED, and plasma displays; megapixels; motion gaming and animation; and Web 2.0 applications such as Second Life.
  • A new chapter on global color that explores color variation across cultural, ethnic, and national boundaries, providing vital perspective to broaden students' understanding of color and its political, cultural, and religious implications--and prepare them for success in a global artistic community.
  • Extensively revised the chapter on the future of color in light of recent trends and theories, including the impact of green design on color choices, making this thought-provoking content even more timely and relevant for today's students.
  • Extensive new and revised material to cover key topics in greater depth, with significantly expanded content related to color psychology, color forecasting, tracking trends in color design, traditional and new media, and the use of color in the fine arts by innovative artists such as Rothko and Kandinsky.
  • Includes numerous new images in every chapter, including significant additions to the text's vast collection of contemporary art, as well as never-before-published images of light-sensing cone cells in the retina.


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the Main title.
Please see Main title page for new to this edition information.

Instructor Supplements

Online Companion  (ISBN-10: 1111538921 | ISBN-13: 9781111538927)

Instructor resources to accompany Contemporary Color, second edition.