Color and Accessibility

27 Apr 2021 – 25 May 2021

Regular hours

20:00 – 22:00

Timezone: Europe/London

Cost of entry

€187.64 – €262.22

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Hosted by: schoolofma

How can an understanding of color theory in historical context from a painterly lens add value and meaning to our creative practice?


/ Five-week Live* Online class begins 27. April, ends 25. May

/ Every Monday, 8pm-10pm, CET

/ Small class of participants

Course Description

Colors, brimming with historical, cultural and personal associations, are far from neutral. Each of us have a unique and diverse pallet of historical and emotional attachments to color that influences the way we view and thus navigate the world around us. But how effectively do these relationships translate across digital borders? In this class we explore how color can be used playfully and intentionally to build meaningful digital experiences that resist the bland uniformity of minimal design trends, centering visual accessibility as a priority in our creative process.

We will connect to the wider history of color-making, tracing back to a time when color was harvested from beetles, in order to explore how the cultural and visual richness of these pigments can be carried into virtual mediums. Through this historical lens we aim to develop a new, more encompassing vocabulary for color by appreciating its relationship with the natural world; it’s varied cultural associations; it’s power as an emotional storytelling device; and it’s strength as a compositional tool. Equipt with this more holistic and textured understanding, we will be reintroduced to color as an emotive tool for telling stories and creating memorable interactions across screens.

Throughout the course of the class, each participant will develop a digital experience that showcases new possibilities and visions for the future of color, composition and digital accessibility.


Week 1: Introductions

In this first week, we’ll introduce ourselves and set our expectations and intentions for the class. We’ll discuss our experiences with screens in comparison to our experiences with physical art works. We’ll chat about some common misconceptions about color and light that influence art-making.

We will also set our goals around producing a final project that will illustrate our new understanding of color through the thoughtful creation of color palettes that we will use to make digital images. What kind of visual work are we interested in making that we can enrich with a deep-dive into color? We’ll set expectations around weekly exercises and additional resources to reinforce our learning, as well as review some open source digital tools for image-making.

Week 2: Color as Technology

In the second week, we’ll explore color as a reflection of the natural world, and how the science technology of color has evolved through history. Digital color displays function differently than pigment, though we often use both technologies in tandem. How can we use this practical knowledge to select colors that work well together and translate across media?

We’ll look at paintings through history that illustrate changing ideas about light and color and developments in color technology. We will explore how artists have drawn inspiration from science and the natural world to challenge ideas about composition and visual harmony and push the limits of image-making. How can we use color to push these limits in our own work?

Week 3: Color as emotional force and cultural experience

This week we will dig into the relationship between color and cultural history. The use of pigments to create compositions is a human obsession since prehistoric times, and the use of color in art is as complicated and diverse and human culture is as a whole. We’ll explore how the contemporary digital concept of the meaning of colors overlooks the breadth of this history.

We’ll look at examples of paintings through history that reflect different ideas about the symbolism and emotional content of colors, as well as paintings that illustrate the political and economic forces behind the use of color in art. How can we use color to add symbolic value, to inspire emotions, to make a statement about what’s happening in the world around us?

Week 4: Color and accessibility

Digital experiences don’t need to be bland to be accessible. This week we will bring our cultural understanding of color to the challenge of making rich experiences across digital platforms. We’ll explore visual accessibility and clarity as a creative inspiration.

We’ll look at paintings that reflect ideas about human perception and vision. How have artists used color and light to explore what visual experiences can be? How can color be combined with texture, light, shape, text, and sound to make an experience more exciting and meaningful?

We’ll also make space for practical tools and techniques for translating experiences across different platforms, with different kinds of viewers in mind.

Week 5: Project presentations and debrief

In our final week, we’ll present our final projects and debrief on our experiences. How do our projects create space? What emotions do our projects communicate? What cultural influences do we see in our projects? How do our projects translate across platforms and perceptual experiences? We’ll walk away with a shared vocabulary and toolkit for using color in our work.

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