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Art of Color and Design

Art of Color and Design by Maitland Graves

In The Art of Color and Design, Maitland Graves identifies and analyzes the core principles of visual design in one of the most important art reference books of the 20th century. In the author’s own words, this work is intended to be “an orderly, clear, and simple analysis of the elements and principles upon which all visual art is built”. A comprehensive analysis of all facets of design, this text is essential for all visual artists and designers.

As a key figure in an art-world fractured and subdivided into ultra-specific genres like cubism, vorticism, and Dadaism, Graves reaffirms the “common ideals and criteria” of visual aesthetic order, and understanding these principles is critical to cultivating a broad, inclusive perspective. 

The language of art becomes a crucial factor in the distillation of these principles, and the Graves’ efforts to clarify and elevate the muddled terminology of art discourse are testament to their importance.

The exercises at the end of each section make this an especially useful tool for students and instructors.

Table of Contents

The plan of design study, elements of design, principles of design, forms of elemental relationships. Harmony, gradation, contrast, unity. Analysis of the design elements. Line, direction, texture, proportion, value and color.


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Editorial Reviews

If arithmetic, mensuration and weighing be taken out of any art, that which remains will not be much.” – Plato, in Philebus

“Those who are enamoured of practicewithout science are like a pilot who goesinto a ship without rudder or compass andnever has any certainty where he isgoing.” – Leonardo da Vinci

“It is ordained that never shall any manbe able out of his own thoughts to makea beautiful figure, unless by much studyhe hath stored his mind.” – Albrecht Diirer

“One ought never to forget that by actu-ally perfecting one piece one learns morethan beginning or half finishing ten. Letit rest, let it rest and keep going back toit and working at it over and over againuntil there is not a note too much or toolittle, not a bar you could improve upon.Whether it is beautiful also is an entirelydifferent matter, but perfect it must be… perfected, unassailable.” – Johannes Brahms

“The artist is born to pick, and choose,and group with science, these elements,that the result may be beautiful—as themusician gathers his notes, and forms hischords, until he bring forth from chaosglorious harmony.” – James A. McNeill Whistler

“The imagination voyaging through chaosand reducing it to clarity and order is thesymbol of all the quests which lend gloryto our dust.” – John Livingston Lowes, in The Road to Xanadu

“The determination of the form prin-ciples in a specific example of designmeans, in a sense, the elimination of thepersonal element. With this element re-moved the residue represents merely theplanning knowledge possessed by theartist… Invariably the higher or moreperfect the art, the richer is the remainderwhen the personal element is removed.” – Jay Hambidge, in The Elements of Dynamic Symmetry


Art of Color and Design by Maitland Graves
Paperback: 456 pages / Publisher: Echo Point Books & Media (August 12, 2019)


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