“In visual perception a color is almost never seen as it really is – as it physically is. This fact makes color the most relative medium in art.” –Josef Albers

Color, as we see it, results from our eyes and brains working together to make sense of the light around us. Since as early as the 15th century, artists and philosophers alike have tried to understand how this works and create a unified approach to color – a color theory – to understand how colors complement or contrast with each other and why they rouse our emotions and influence our decisions.

Essentially, color theory, like the interaction between our eyes and brains, helps us make sense of what we “see.” Perhaps one of the most influential color theorists was artist and educator Josef Albers, who published Interaction of Color in 1963. A tome of a book on color theory, it was made for interaction, to be pored over and actively, even emotionally, involve students as they learned Albers’ philosophy of color.


Now, fifty years later, Yale University Press has released a version of the book for iPad. The app, like the book, is completely interactive, featuring more than 125 color plates, 60 interactive studies, and two hours of video interviews with designers, artists, and architects – as well as archival recordings of Albers himself. Our design team has explored the app, and we think it is both beautiful and practical, bringing new life to Albers’ studies and providing inspiration from his teachings.


When it comes to design at Alabama Chanin, color is only second to quality. Color emphasizes the craftsmanship of each piece, whether we’re using tone-on-tone designs to delicately reveal elegant details or bright colors against neutral tones to boldly shift the focus to patterns.

4 comments on “COLOR + JOSEF ALBERS

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  1. Rowena's Daughter

    I have this app and it’s amazing! I’ve never studied color before, well actually we all study color everyday, this is simply my first time in a structured way. Watching the videos you get the feeling that Josef Albers would have been a great teacher to learn from. I thought of Alabama Chanin when looking at his tone-on-tone design!

  2. benjia morgenstern

    Years ago I studied color theory with Ati Gropius , the daughter of the famed Bauhaus architect. She studied with Albers at Black Mountain College . It was challenging….and so helpful to me as a weaver.

  3. Lisa P.

    This is a great book, but I didn’t know about the digital version. I’ll have to check it out. After reading/skimming the original book, I could never think about color the same way again. I like your new yellow, by the way. It’s bright and fun and is a great contrast to your other colors. I like seeing them together.