Color is life; for a world without color appears to us as dead. Colors are primordial ideas, the children of light. —Johannes Itten


Johannes Itten {Swiss Designer, 1888-1967}

Pronunciation Johannes Itten

Through the exploration of color relationships, Johannes Itten was one of the first people to organize contrasts and identify them as harmonious color strategies.  Itten’s Seven Color Contrasts:

  1. Contrast of Saturation
  2. Contrast of Light and Dark (value)
  3. Contrast of Extension
  4. Contrast of Complements
  5. Simultaneous Contrast
  6. Contrast of Hue
  7. Contrast of Warm and Cool


Johannes Itten’s Color Star representing 7 Light Stages and 12 Tones, 1921

Each hue is tinted in two steps toward white and shaded two steps toward black.

Itten sphere

Itten’s Color Star from a sphere perspective


Itten Farbkreis {Color Circle} 1961

The concept of color harmony by the color wheel is an objective conclusion arrived at by intellectual activity.  The response to color, on the other hand, is emotional; thus there is no guarantee that what is produced in a purely intellectual manner will be pleasing to the emotions.  Man responds to form with his intellect and to color with his emotions; he can be said to survive by form and to live by color. —Deborah T. Sharpe

simul squares

Kelly’s “favorite” Itten contrast – Simultaneous Contrast.  Both squares of gray are identical.  If the surrounding color is lighter {the yellow}, the gray square appears darker. If the surrounding color is darker {the blue}, the gray square appears lighter.

Bauhaus shapes

Itten assigned colors to basic shapes.  Echoes of synesthesia?

Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) Transverse Line, 1923

Transverse Line, 1923 by

Artist and proclaimed synesthete Wassily Kandinsky {1866-1944}

Kelly, Rachel and I share our extensive color knowledge and experiences. ColorPodz are a unique window to leading-edge, professional color perspectives.

©2010 Color Strategies, LLC


  1. Love this blog! Yes, there is more to color than crayola! lol Color theory is so fun, nice flash back to my college classes. Can’t wait to play around more on your site.

  2. Brenda, my favorite part of Color Budz is you can click on someone’s name and it opens a link to their blog/website. So, of course, I clicked on your name and got a lovely introduction to who you are and what you do.

    Welcome to Color Budz! And thank you for the comment!

  3. “Color gymnast” ha! 🙂

    I love the Top Chef series. The last one, Just Desserts, one of the judges called a contestant a “Chocolate Ninja” and thought that was soooo cool.

    Color gymnast is cool too, so thanks! (as she says with arms darting to the sky, back arched, chest out a la Mary Lou Retton)

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