Books

Top 5 books on colour, chosen by Riccardo Falcinelli

The graphic designer and author selects five great books about our relationship with colour

Spectrum of colours

Image: Robert Katzki on Unsplash

1. & 2. The Art of Colour by Johannes Itten, and Interaction of Color by Josef Albers

Both writers taught at the Bauhaus: the former might seem a bit esoteric nowadays (Itten was a kind of guru fascinated by meditation and spirituality, Albers is more concrete and practical). If you read them in parallel you can learn how to use colours for art or crafts and even to enhance your photographs. 

3. Cromophobia by David Batchelor

Colour is also something that can be scary. This is a very interesting essay on this subject which explains how colour can be a question of morals. For example, why do some people refuse to dress or accept colour in their lives?

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4. Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni

This pictorial and poetic book is a beautiful story for children. It’s a story of friendship, tolerance and inclusion where the two little protagonists learn that our appearances are something that can even blend together, as if on a palette. 

5. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Lyman Frank Baum

This is the classic fairy tale where you will discover that, despite the famous movie images, the magic slippers are not ruby red but shining silver. In Hollywood they changed colour because red was more effective for the new Technicolor magic. 

Riccardo Falcinelli‘s Chromorama: How Colour Changed Our Way of Seeing

Chromorama: How Colour Changed Our Way of Seeing by Riccardo Falcinelli is out now (Particular Books, £22). You can buy it from The Big Issue shop on Bookshop.org, which helps to support The Big Issue and independent bookshops.

This article is taken from The Big Issue magazine, which exists to give homeless, long-term unemployed and marginalised people the opportunity to earn an income.To support our work buy a copy! If you cannot reach your local vendor, you can still click HERE to subscribe to The Big Issue today or give a gift subscription to a friend or family member. You can also purchase one-off issues from The Big Issue Shop or The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store or Google Play.

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