Art + Design

Reading Rainbows: Books That Use Color in Big Ways

For those of you who can never get enough rainbows, or color in general, here are some books to feed your obsession.
Books and Rainbows

Each one uses a different technique to pack extra color into or onto the book, which in my opinion is always a good thing.


The Color of Pixar

The Color of Pixar

The Color of Pixar is a book governed by the color spectrum. Hundreds of film stills from Pixar’s archives are sequenced purely by color, resulting in some interesting and unexpected juxtapositions. The book starts with a fade in from white and then moves through the spectrum from violet to end with deep red, sinking into black. In between there are slight tonal shifts from one spread to the next, taking you through the full color spectrum.

Neil Egan, the book’s designer, worked with a team at Pixar, as well as layout designer Liam Flanagan, to compile and sort the art. He started by organizing the images into folders by color (red, green, etc), but quickly moved to more subtle distinctions as they placed the images in layouts. Colored borders around the art accentuate the dominant color in each film still and help create a smooth, continuous flow to the book. They also create a striking rainbow edge to the book block, visible when the book is closed.

Color of Pixar Color of Pixar Color of Pixar Color of Pixar Color of Pixar Color of Pixar


Bright Ideas Journal

Bright Ideas

With 10 different sections of colored paper, the Bright Ideas Journal is for the ultimate color lover. Did I mention every page is solid color?!? The colored paper naturally creates a rainbow effect on the journal edges, but the best part is the book’s spine. Instead of a traditional covered spine, this journal has exposed stitching—this means that a rainbow of color peeks out from all sides of the book.

Bright Ideas Bright Ideas

Above: the three journals in the Bright Ideas line (from top to bottom, Bright Ideas Superbright Journal, Bright Ideas Productivity Journal, Bright Ideas Journal)


Encyclopedia of Rainbows

Encyclopedia of RainbowsEncyclopedia of Rainbows

And finally, a book with a rainbow on every page. Julie Seabrook Ream photographed objects arranged by color and the result is Encyclopedia of Rainbows, a book that will make you swoon. Jellybeans, matchbooks, and even wedges of cheese become celebrations of color through her lens. On the outside of the book, the front and back covers are connected by rainbow-printed spine tape, which adds texture and color to the book’s sleek design.

Encyclopedia of Color

Encyclopedia of Rainbows cheese

You can check out more lovely images from Encyclopedia of Rainbow here.

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Which rainbow effect is your favorite? Comment below!

And to read more about all things design at Chronicle books, visit here.

Allison Weiner

Allison Weiner

Senior Designer at Chronicle Books and weekend crafter.
Allison Weiner

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