I mentioned  in this post that I depend on color theory the way my seventh grade art teacher taught me to use it — as guidance and inspiration.  In this podcast we discuss the origins of Color Theory and ask the question, “Why do we feel such a need to order and understand color?”

Aron Sigfrid Forsius.  Forsius’ oldest color system and translation.  Date ref. 1611:

Isaac Newton.  Newton’s “Hue Circle” , the first color wheel, and Dorian Scale from “Opticks”.  Date ref. 1704:

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (pronunciation). Goethe’s Color Wheel.  Date ref. 1810:

Albert Munsell and Munsell’s Color Tree.  Date ref. 1915:

Natural Color System.  Click on diagram for a full explanation of the NCS:

NCS Color System Explained

Color Mixing Color Wheel:

Interior Designer’s Color Wheel:

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


  1. Lively discussion….food for thought, and practice.
    It seems to me the color systems were not explored in depth at the recent Seminar…leaving the door wide open.
    PS- How was you experience of the EM seminar?

  2. I have a client who wants to put a pale blue-grey in her family room and grand room, the family room has a Northern exposure. I’ve tried to explain that a cool color on the walls of a Northern light will look sickly. I have a feeling she’s not going to listen. The only thing is to put up a sample and let her see if she likes it.

    Do you have any suggestions for me to bring to this client?

  3. This was great as always. I recently taught a community ed class about color, and I asked the ladies why they came. Most of them expressed frustration that they didn’t get how to use the color wheel when trying to choose paint colors. So, the first thing I did was smile and tell them that I wasn’t going to be talking about using the color wheel anyway! We had a great time and I got postive feedback. Afterwards, they felt like they could trust themselves and not worry about trying to fit into rules they didn’t understand.

  4. Although Edda Malley’s seminar was enlightening in so many ways and surreal to meet such a lovely woman, I believe that color systems were meshed together as if they had relevance to one another – rather they are different approaches. Glad I had Lori to explain the difference as she provides clarity and relevance to color theory in simple terms. Great podcast LS, KB, and RP + I concur with Debra about the recent seminar.

  5. Kelly has just reminded me about this brilliant set of podcasts. I really enjoy listening to you all discuss such great topics. I totally agree that the best parts of each theory should be taken into account rather than just concentrating on one person’s theory. I’m an Itten and Albers fan myself but do enjoy parts of all theories. Thanks for such an inspiring conversation.

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