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The Color Theory of Shigenobu Kobayashi

I just love color (colour) the more I learn the more want to know and realize I don’t know. One of the first books on color I bought when I was in college; ‘The Art of Color’ by Johannes Itten. Lately I have been revisiting the color theories of Shigenobu Kobayashi.

Mood Board created by Rosena on

Shigenobu I believed died earlier this year. He taught about color taste and helped people find their color taste by completing a number of color and word excerises. Basically he divides colors into warm, cool hard and soft he uses the ten hue Munsell System. Albert H Munsell a painter and art teacher developed a color system in 1915. The Munsell system has become the standard method of classifying colors.

Color Board created by Rosena on

Shigenobu then divided the warm soft, hard cool colors in to a number of other categories. For example soft warm colors are divided into romantic, pretty, casual, natural and elegant. Soft cool colors he catagorized as romantic, elegant, clear, cool casual, natural, elegant and chic. Warm hard colors he divided into dynamic, gorgeous, classic, wild, classic and dandy and chic. Cool hard colors are catagorized as modern, formal, dandy, cool casual, chic, and classic and dandy.

Color Board created by Rosena on

Another topic on color he explored was regional colors but that’s a whole topic in its self. The psychological color types he presents can assist people to put together a personal color profile. I found I tend toward warm soft and some cool soft colors and steer away from hard colors. I find it all  fascinating. As you probably know colors can change when viewed on different computers so forgive me if the colors appear incorrect.


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