More colors; hue, saturation and value

Color is a complex concept,  can have a lot of properties; hue, saturation and value are some of the most important characteristics of color. We usually refer to colors by simple names such as red or blue. Are there more precise and descriptive ways to talk about colors? There are many terms which are used to describe colors, and often there is some confusion as to what each of the terms mean. Here I will try to explain some of the most common terms use in color theory.


Hue is somewhat synonymous to what we usually refer to as “colors”. Red, green, blue, yellow, and orange are a few examples of different hues. The different hues have different wave lengths in the spectrum. Hue is expressed as a number from 0 to 360 degrees representing hues of red (starts at 0), yellow (starts at 60), green (starts at 120), cyan (starts at 180), blue (starts at 240), and magenta (starts at 300).


The color is completely pure. Saturation can also be called a color’s intensity. It is a measurement of how different from pure grey the color is. Saturation is not really a matter of light and dark, but rather how pale or strong the color is. The saturation of a color is not constant, but it varies depending on the surroundings and what light the color is seen in. Saturation is the amount of gray (0% to 100%) in the color.


Value (lightness) describes overall intensity to how light or dark a color is. It is the only dimension of color that may exist by itself. The value is a measurement of the brightness of a color. The brighter a color is, the higher is its value and the more light it emits. For instance, a vivid yellow is brighter than dark blue, therefore its value is higher than that of the blue. A good way to see the difference in the values of colors is to look at the corresponding greyscale version. Value works in conjunction with saturation and describes the brightness or intensity of the color from 0% to 100%.

The HSV scale clearly stands for “Hue, Saturation, Value.” It does a better job at visually explaining the concept of light, and it is a very useful one to comprehend, as it is what most sophisticated digital color pickers are based on (including all Adobe software). Not only do graphic designers need to understand this color construct, but fine artists do as well since digital art and rendering has become such an integral part of art processes.


How much is too much whitespace?

My last post opened the amazing topic of whitespace or “negative space” as some may call it. This topic have a big connotation and can be source of many debates on how much is too much.

Today we are going to review some facts and opinions about whitespace, this will help us determine  how much is too much?

Clients usually like to use all the space you have available for them, at the end, they are paying for it. But we all know that’s not always the best option even if they are paying; a crowded design is not always effective. Whitespace is probably one of the most overlooked and underutilized concepts in design, every design has whitespace, but the problem is that not every design has enough. The truth is, whitespace might be one of the most valuable parts of your design.

HBO marketing campaign using a big deal of whitespace

HBO marketing campaign using a big deal of whitespace

Let’s think about this, you’re in a store. It wouldn’t be a pleasant experience if you had trouble moving around due to the overcrowded aisles, alongside the sales assistant constantly prompting you with their special offers. There’s just too much to look at and you have neither the time nor the patience to find what you originally came in looking for. It’s not nice, it is not productive. This is one of the key features of why Apple stores work so well. They’re very minimalist and a large amount of the shop floor is given to the products themselves.

Now, what does that have to do with design? A lot actually. We don’t come for the task of hunting out a specific string of text underneath a wealth of pointless content you don’t care about. Negative space helps with both of these problems by leaving designs uncluttered at the same time as drawing attention to the focal point of the page.

No matter how badly you want to just fill up the entire space allotted for your design try hard not to do it. Negative space isn’t negative in the least, and it can make your designs look a lot more professional. With the endless advantages of using negative space effectively, you should stop avoiding negative space and embrace it head on. Hopefully I’ve been able to reduce your fears about negative space in your designs and you are on your way to creating some great design projects.


Starbucks designs are great on whitespace

These are the facts, but more so this is my personal opinion, can you have too much white space? No you can’t

What do you think about it? Are the examples in this article representatives of too much whitespace or are they effective designs?

Is white space wasted space?

Designers are always creating, every design is a creation on its own. In that creation process we sometimes forget or ignore the importance of white space. Sometimes is called negative space which refers to the empty space between design elements. Spaces not occupied with text, images or other visual elements. White space should not be considered merely ‘blank’ space — it is an important element of design which enables the objects in it to exist at all, the balance between positive (or non-white) and the use of negative spaces is key to aesthetic composition.

Negative space is not always white in color. If we go back to the description, it refers to a SPACE regardless if it is white or not. White space can be categorize in two different ways:

  • Active White Space – insures a better structure and layout in design and it gives focus to the content area. It is usually left out intentionally, it leads a reader from one element to another.
  • Passive White Space – Empty space around the outside of the page or blank areas inside the content which is the by product of the layout process.

White space exists for a reason – to ease the process of analyzing graphics or content so this is what you have to remember while using it in graphic design. The human eye percepts an organized and clean layout better than a cluttered space full of visual disturbances.

christmas decor

Ample use of white space in a magazine

Today we will list the benefits of white space in your designs:

  1. to balance layout
  2. white spaces attract the eye
  3. give the focus to certain content or object
  4. improves readability
  5. white space can act as a separator


How do you use white space? Do you think white space is wasted space?


[REVIEW] Photoshop World Orlando 2013

In April I attended the Photoshop World Expo here in Orlando, FL in April. There were so many people in attendance it was crazy. I ran into a few people I knew locally, but met a whole bunch more from all around the US. This was my first time ever attending a Photoshop World Expo, so I was like a kid in a candy store.

For those of you who have never attended the full expo, here’s what goes down. It is a few days of full day workshops led by some well-known industry leaders in photography and Photoshop. The last two days is the expo part, and that is where all the vendors are, real demos from experts, speakers, and even some hands on experiences from various software manufacturers.

Perfect Photo Suite Demo

Getting to see the vendors actually using some of the famed software like Photoshop CS6 or Perfect Photo Suite 7 was pretty cool. I ended up buying some software right on the spot convinced I’ll be able to replicate the effects they showed that day.

One of the apparent fan favorites is the free model shoot you can just walk up to and shoot with whatever camera you happen to bring with you that day. This theme was of a young blonde dressed in a nice aviator outfit accompanied with an aviation background. There were two constant light setups to both sides of her.