Technology, Arts and Media Program header

ATLS 4519-009: Color

Course Description

Examines the generation and perception of colors in the context of physics, chemistry, biology, and psychology as a foundation for making. Explores the synthesis and applications of color dyes and pigments in art and design through lectures, readings, experiments, and projects.

The lecture component of this course introduces an interdisciplinary theoretical framework for understanding broadly the phenomenon of color, while the lab component of the course develops practical skills for the effective use of color in the design process. Students will learn how to make dyes and pigments and utilize them in projects, including those involving digital and fine arts and homemade solar cells.

Course Objectives

Students who successfully complete this course will:

Critical Thinking & Theory / History:
  • Understand the basis of color in the physics of electromagnetic radiation, the chemistry of pigmentation, and the biology and psychology of color perception
  • Gain a historical perspective on the role of color throughout human evolution
  • Obtain a basic working knowledge of color theory
  • Identify relationships between color and energy
  • Learn to formulate pigments for color paints, inks, plastics, cosmetics, fabrics, and/or foods
  • Conceive and design projects that make effective use of custom-formulated color materials
  • Recognize and employ color as a form of expression
  • Use a spectrophotometer to measure the reflection or transmission of color materials
  • Use digital color editing software (Adobe Photoshop)
  • Acquire synthetic skills in making dyes and pigments
  • Develop creative design skills involving the use of color in a field or industry of choice

Credit Hours

  • 3 hours


  • None