The importance of color theory and the expansion of class options

By Cissie Brotzman

You’re a communications major at Rider. It’s time to pick an art class for next semester. Your options? Not many that involve hands-on experience.

Enter COM 202 Color Theory, a class dedicated to helping students understand the foundation of color and how it’s used professionally by designers.

According to Rider’s DegreeWorks, COM 202, “Introduces the fundamentals of Color Theory by studying the scientific principles of the color wheel, the logic of color structure, as well as the emotive principles of color, color harmony, qualities and combinations. This course will helps students sharpen and train to recognize, describe, define, replicate and identify color in everyday experience, especially in visual communication design. “

Jessi Oliano, who has been teaching graphic design courses at Rider for 10 years, discovered along the way that not all student’s have the art knowledge that they should.

“One thing I noticed in the past for a lot of my students is that there was a b it lack of acknowledgement to color theory and using the principles of color theory effectively and purposefully in their designs,” Oliano said.

Oliano realized this situation had to change after she viewed the work of a transfer student who had taken a course in color theory at her previous institution.

“Her portfolio sung out loud, it was just beautiful in a different way than I had seen in students that didn’t have color theory,” Oliano said.

And so, COM 202 Color Theory was born at Rider.

The spring semester of 2022 is the first time Color Theory is being offered as a class. Oliano wrote up the class and presented it soon after she recognized how advanced her transfer student’s portfolio was.

Like Oliano, Jenna Krauss, a sophomore graphic design major, agreed that there was something missing in the curriculum.

“There’s not a ton of art classes here that focus on traditional mediums,” Krauss said. “I think the program was definitely lacking a color theory class. Color is a huge part of design, and it really should be its own class.”

Color Theory is one of the few art classes at Rider that is hands-on, but it is unfortunately only offered for those students in communication, journalism, media and game and interactive media design majors or minors.

Oliano admitted that although this class can only be taken by students with limited majors or minors, she would recommend this class to anyone interested.

Why shouldn’t all students be able to take a course like this? If a marketing major has a passion for art and wishes to take a class at their university, why shouldn’t they be able to?

Every student at any university should be free to take whatever class they wish, regardless of their major. If students are paying for their education at a university, they shouldn’t have to take that money elsewhere to learn about what they desire.

And why are there so few classes at Rider that allow students to work hands-on with art? Those interested in art do not wish to simply listen to a lecture about art when they could be painting or creating something.

Color Theory provides Rider communication students another opportunity for a hands-on art class. However, this should be the first step of many. More classes like this should be made available to all students at Rider, not just those who are in a particular major.

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