Subject: Colour and Perception of Space

Scientific Area:



64 Hours

Number of ECTS:




Overall objectives:

1 - Develop a capacity to observe colour phenomena in relation to other visual variables, and consequently a critical sense of doing.
2 - Provide methods, tools and resources to explore and approach the multidisciplinarity of colour in a systematic and creative way to face the complexity of design it.
3 - Provide some of the numerous methods and tools to deal with colour according to the cultural and spatial context, functions and meanings, and the interaction with other visual and technical variables.
4 - Develop a sense of awareness about the importance of colour in any type and level of design, which will grow together with a personal visual and aesthetic sensitivity to colour.


1 - The multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural dimension of colour. Aspects of physics, physics-chemistry, physiology, and psycho-perception. Aspects of colour history and culture, as symbolisms and meanings.
2 - The grammar of colour. Colour basics as the primary, secondary, tertiary colours; the colour circles; the additive and subtractive synthesis; chromatic and achromatic scales; the colour attributes (hue, brightness, saturation); colour interactions, contrasts and harmonies.
3 - Colour and Perception. The perception of colour according to psycho-physiological, behavioural, cognitive, phenomenological levels; colour in relation to the Gestalt rules for visual perception; colour inductions, interactions and synesthesia; the colour appearances; colour perception in relation to time and space; perceived and intrinsic colour; colour psychology.
4 - Techno-practical aspects of colour. To name, systematize and communicate colour in Design; the colour systems, collections and spaces (e.g. NCS, Munsell, RAL, Pantone, CIE, etc.); colour palette and trends.
5 - Colour and Design. Colour as design variable; Colour and light; Colour ergonomy; Colour technology as materials and technologies; Colour in visual, industrial, interior and architectural design.


R. Arnheim , 2004 , Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creative Eye , Univ of California Pr
J. de Sausmarez , 2008 , Basic Colour. A Practical Handbook , Herbert Press
J. Albers , 1975 , Interaction of Colour (Revised Edition) , Yale University Press
U. Bachmann , 2011 , Colour and Light. Materials for a Theory of Colour and Light , Verlag Niggli AG
G. Bertagna e A. Bottoli , 2009 , Perception Design. Contributi al progetto percettivo e concetti di scienza del colore , Maggioli Editore
C. Boeri , 2010 , Colore. Notes on colour culture and design , IDC Colour Centre
M. Brusatin , 1992 , History of Colors , Shambala
G. Gage , 1999 , Colour and meaning: art, science and symbolism , Thames & Hudson Ltd
A. Garau , 1999 , Le armonie del colore , Hoepli
J. Itten , 1982 , The Elements of Color: A Treatise on the Color System of Johannes Itten , Van Nostrand Reinhold
G. Kanizsa , 1980 , Grammatica del vedere , il Mulino
S. Kobayashi , 1999 , Colorist. A practical Handbook for personal and professional use , Kodansha International
F. Mahnke , 1996 , Color, Environment, & Human Response , John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
F. Mahnke , 1998 , Il colore nella progettazione (Color in Planning) , Utet
D. Riccò , 1999 , Sinestesie per il design , Etas
J. Tornquist , 1999 , Colore e luce. Teoria e pratica , Ikon editrice

Assesssment methods and criteria:

Classification Type: Quantitativa (0-20)

Evaluation Methodology:
The theoretical contents are alternated with practical individual exercises to make each student experiment with colour and become aware of the importance of colour perception in Design. The practical exercises encountered during the first part of the course become useful to a team based colour exercise at the end of the course. The learning-by-doing methodology will support the students to pass from theory to practice when designing the colour component. The evaluation is continuous and based on the realization of assignments. The attendance is required of minimum 75% of the total number of lessons. This UC follows the Model B of the UMa Student Evaluation Regulation. Working students should attend at least 50% of the lessons in order to be evaluated. The Recurso exam only reflects the 30% of the final grade. The course is based on 2 to max. 4 quantitative evaluations. At least one of these points corresponds to an individual theoretical and critical work with 30% of the final grade.