Theories of Colour – Course

This course explored theories of colour and focused on colour application across applied design, architecture and in cultural contexts. The course examined colour application and the way in which colour has the capacity to convey meaning often more effectively than words. As a result, colour is often used strategically in art, applied design and the built environment for a number of reasons:

  • Attract/divert attention and create focus
  • Convey symbolic meaning
  • Contribute to mood and ambience
  • Encourage engagement
  • Support intuitive functioning, orientation and wayfinding strategies

Theories of Colour was a 12-week (3 hours/week) TEQSA-compliant course in which theories about colour were blended with practical exercises to enhance an interactive exploration of colour.

I developed and delivered Theories of Colour at the Faculty of Art & Design (formerly COFA), University of NSW for seven years from 2008 to 2014. This course also informed the development of Designing with Colour I and Designing with Colour II, two courses I developed and delivered at the Faculty of Architecture, Design & Planning, University of Sydney from 2010 to 2015.

For more detailed information about the course that I developed and taught as a sessional lecturer, check these links to the COFA archive: Theories of Colour, UNSW Handbook 2010 2009 and 2008.

The interactive aspects of this course were inspired by the colour curriculum of my alma mater, the Shillito Design School, whose curriculum and syllabus was in turn inspired the Bauhaus and Ulm School of Design. The curriculum and syllabus of the Shillito Design School informed that of the School of Colour and Design, Sydney, where I taught briefly in 1999 prior to commencing PhD research.


  1. Rose White
    November 29, 2015 / 9:53 am

    I just wanted to say thank you for teaching this class. I really enjoyed it and will look at colour very differently from now on!

    • November 30, 2015 / 12:06 pm

      Thank you Rose and all the best with your career!

  2. Kevin Croll
    November 29, 2015 / 6:51 pm

    Thank you so much for the course, I am really glad I chose it. You made it enjoyable and informative, so thank you.

    • December 1, 2015 / 12:07 pm

      Thank you Kevin. It was great having you in the class and I really enjoyed your input.