Explore the use of colour

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to explore the use of colour and to apply colour theory.No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of endorsement.


This unit applies to any individual whose work involves the effective use of colour, and who needs to understand the basics about the way colours work. Artists, designers, photographers, lighting technicians, digital media specialists and visual merchandisers are just a few examples of people who need these skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Source information on colour and colour theory

1.1. Identify and access sources of information on colour and colour theory

1.2. Evaluate and collate information to build a knowledge of colour and its application in different contexts

2. Experiment with colour

2.1. Test different colours and colour combinations through experimentation

2.2. Use own ideas as a way of testing, challenging or confirming colour theory

2.3. Ensure safe use of materials, tools and equipment during experimentation with colour

3. Communicate concepts and ideas through use of colour

3.1. Investigate how colour might be used to communicate a particular idea or concept

3.2. Select materials, tools and equipment relevant to the idea or concept

3.3. Apply colour in a way that communicates the concept or idea based on own knowledge of colour and colour theory

3.4. Review and reflect on own use of colour and what it communicates

3.5. Seek and obtain feedback from others about the way colour has been used and its success in communicating the concept or idea

3.6. Present and store work any samples in a way which takes account of the need for professional presentation and potential relevance for future work

Required Skills

Required skills

literacy skills to read and interpret information about colour and colour theory

numeracy skills to calculate quantities and proportions of different colours

visual literacy skills to make judgements about the way that different colours work together and in conjunction with other elements.

Required knowledge

colour attributes and colour relationships

different colour theories and their applications to different contexts

emotional, cultural and situational aspects of colour

individual interpretation and choice in relation to the use of colour, and the potential limitations of theory

materials, tools and equipment required to experiment with colour in relevant contexts

ways in which other practitioners use colour in their work.

Evidence Required

The Evidence Guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit

Evidence of the following is essential:

effective use of colour to communicate a concept or idea

knowledge of colour theory, the effects of colour and its potential use in different contexts.

Context of and specific resources for assessment

Assessment must ensure:

access to materials, resources and equipment needed to apply colour in the relevant work context.

Method of assessment

A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples are appropriate for this unit:

direct questioning combined with review of portfolios of evidence and third party workplace reports of on-the-job performance by the candidate

evaluation of colour samples produced by the candidate to communicate a concept or idea

oral or written questioning to assess knowledge of colour theory and use of colour by different practitioners.

Guidance information for assessment

Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended.

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Sources of information on colour and colour theory may include:

anecdotal sources, personal observation

art and design work

books and magazines

characteristics of materials, for example paints, pigments

scientific texts

web-based resources

Experimentation may involve playing with:

application of light, for example in a theatrical context

colour attributes in hue, chroma, value

colour grading

colour models (emotional, physical and psychological effects of colour)

colour scales

colour schemes

effective colour relationships, for example harmonies and discords

Materials, tools and equipment may include:

air brushes



digital equipment



gouache, watercolour, acrylic

hand tools

light sources/equipment

lighting gels

measuring tools

pastels, colour pencils, crayons

range of papers





spray gun

Idea or concept to be communicated may relate to a huge range of activities such as:

advertising and promotion

artistic works

exhibitions or events

fashion designs

interactive digital media products

interior designs

jewellery design

lighting designs

object or product design

sign making

theatrical props, sets or scenic art

Samples may be:

colour wheels

colour swatches


digital output

drawn, painted, printed


sample boards

transitory, for example natural and artificial lighting effects


Unit sector

Competency Field

Design - Design Process

Employability Skills

This unit contains employability skills.

Licensing Information

Not applicable.