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Book Review: Designer’s Toolkit — 1000 Colors

1000 Colors CoverEvery graphic designer (every print designer, anyhow) knows that one of the chief hazards of the job lies in the fact that colors rarely look the same on computer screens as they do in print. Unless you own a super-expensive set of Pantone books or only work in black and white, selecting the right colors is always something of a crapshoot. Graham Davis aims to remedy that situation with his book, The Designer’s Toolkit: 1000 Colors.

Small graphic arrangements of colors make up the bulk of this book. That’s it — simple and effective. On each page, a rudimentary design or pattern is rendered in twelve different colors. These color groupings are repeated in different color arrangements, twelve to a page, organized under cutesy headings like “Yummy Apple.” Most importantly, all colors are reproduced at the bottom of each page with their corresponding RGB, CMYK or Hexidecimal values. Some color groupings are also displayed in faux magazine spreads to illustrate how to effectively use color with text and photography. A CD-ROM embedded in the book’s cover contains all colors in TIFF format for easy reference. The material’s clean design and organization is impressive. Most of the color arrangements convey a bright, cheery mood — which might be a liability if you’re looking for something dark and/or subtle.

I’ve had this book for a couple of months now, using it on some book cover layouts with pleasing results. The very first color I selected was a sumptuous teal blue. When I entered the values, however, the color came out more like an olive green with way too much yellow (a misprint perhaps?). Despite that glitch, the book’s been beyond useful. In addition to the three or four book covers, I also utilized bits of a color scheme called “Deco Artifice” for my Twitter page. It’s true — seeing colors in print with their CMYK numbers right there takes a lot of the guesswork out of designing stuff.

The Designer’s Toolkit: 1000 Colors is published by Chronicle. Buy at here.

1000 Colors Spread 1

1000 Colors Spread 2

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