The Language of Colour is a short, readable and enjoyable introduction to visual communication and the semiotics of colour. Packed full of examples and exercises, Theo van Leeuwen moves from discussions of the meanings of individual colours and colour naming to a theory of how colours combine. The author argues that colour schemes and combinations are more important than the individual colours that comprise any combination.
His examples cover the arts and business (and everything in between) and a broad range of historical and cultural contexts. Although he draws on semiotic theory, you do not need any background in semiotics to enjoy this book. In fact, anyone with an interest in or knowledge of colour or art history would find this a very good introduction to semiotic concepts grounded in a topic that they already know. It is also a good primer in theories and science of colour for those who want to understand more about what is arguably the most meaningful sensory information that shapes human behaviour and culture (see Brand esSense for more on this). Highly recommended.
The Language of Colour: An Introduction by Theo van Leeuwen
Brand esSense: Using sense, symbol and story to design brand identity by Neil Gains