Light & Verity

The portable Albers

An interactive iPad version of a classic book on color.

Courtesy Yale University Press

Courtesy Yale University Press

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What better way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Josef Albers’s classic book Interaction of Color than to make it more, well, interactive? In August, Yale University Press released a new version of the book for iPad that lets readers try out Albers’s principles themselves.

Albers spent years exploring how colors work with each other, most famously in the hundreds of paintings of superimposed squares that were all titled Homage to the Square. As chair of design at the Yale School of Art from 1950 to 1958, he had students do similar studies with colored paper. Interaction of Color, published in 1963 after Albers’s retirement, summed up his explorations.

The app, available for $9.99 through iTunes, includes Albers’s original text and illustrations. It also has tools to let users deconstruct Albers’s compositions and make their own. Michelle Komie, an editor at the press, calls it a “very tactile experience. You feel as if you are working with paper, which was a very important part of Albers’s methodology.”

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