One of my favorite parts when creating a new design is the process of choosing a color scheme. There are times when the colors just fall into place after I have my main color, or when using a photo the colors just flow around it. But sometimes you need a little help.
Whether your looking for a color scheme to base your design on or you need a little help picking out complimentary colors the generators, articles, color wheels and more below will assist and inspire your color creativity.
Color Generators / Wheels
colourlovers is one of my favorite websites to visit. Not only do I use it for inspiration but I just LOVE to tool around with their super cool COPASO palette software generating my own quirky palettes and naming colors that I have “discoverd”. Besides being able to create your own colors and palettes you have the ability to search other people’s colors and palettes (and patterns!) by color, keyword, newest published, tags and randomly! There’s no going wrong here (did that come off too fangirl?)
Adobe’s kuler is another favorite, although I admit I neglect to use it often as I’m such a big fan of colourlovers. Like colourlovers, kuler offers you the ability using a sweet little program to create and name your very own color palettes (sorry, no claiming and naming individual colors here). Also, when viewing a color palette created by another use you can edit their palette creating your own derivative work. I like kuler, but at times I find it depressingly slow, and a bit complicated.
colorjack doesn’t have the social aspects like colourlovers or kuhler but it does have options galore. View the color wheel and color selections by formula (analogous, triadic, six-tone, etc), vision (different forms of color vision), spectrum (full spectrum, web safe and web smart), and model (RGB or RYB). You will get a palette of six colors which you can modify by moving around the color wheel as it auto-generates the matching colors based on the previous mentioned options. Many option on exporting your palette including Illustrator and Photoshop. (Also, check out Color Galaxy, predefined color selections, with names from popular color manufactures including Crayola!).
Colors on the Web – Color Wizard A sharp color wheel that allows you to choose a color on the wheel, or type in a hex value for the color, which then generates a palette (you can choose from six different types of palettes) for you of three to six colors based on your original entry. You can also modify your original color input by choosing the provided ajustments to the hue, saturation or tint and shade. Also, another cool feature is the “randomize” button which will pop up random color schemes for you.
Colors From Photos
BIG HUGE LABS – Palette Generator allows you several options of generating your palette from a photo – upload a photo, select from your recent uploads, link your flickr account and choose a photo, link from photobucket or a url from the web. Pretty standard – takes a good sampling of the colors in the photo and provides you a “harmonious color palette”. Also provides a adobe swatch (.ASE) and a textarea with the css for the colors (names included with comments).
Colorhunter is another great service that allows you to upload your photos, and it generates a five color palette based on the photo provided. One different and cool thing about Color Hunter is that is allows you to click (or enter a hex #) for a color to search for it, and provides you a list of all the palettes (and corresponding photos) that contain that color. Curious as to where those images come from that append each palette? Here’s an explanation from Color Hunter’s about page: “When you search for color palettes by tag, ColorHunter.com searches Flickr.com via Flickr’s API for images labeled with the tag you entered. The thumbnails of the Flickr images are used to create a color palette. ColorHunter.com uses the Flickr API but is not endorsed or certified by Flickr.”
Articles on Color Theory
- Color Matters – Color Theory is a short, but informational article that breifly describes the basics of color theory and defines the main terms of color theory.
- Color Theory on Wikipedia – Extensive information on color theory from the history, to the basics including a nice list of references and resources at bottom of article.
Color Psychology & Symbolism
Articles On Using Color In Design
Premade Color Scheme Inspirations
Because, sometimes you just need a jumpstart to find your perfect color scheme!
- Daily Color Scheme is now defunct, but of the 20ish color schemes provided there is a lot of great inspiration to be found.
- Color Blender – kinda like the palette generators mentioned above, but I don’t find their color matching, or generator to be as useful. Best part is browsing through palettes already created by other color blender users.
HTML Hex Codes
- “Hex Hub” – extensive, extensive list of HTML hex codes sorted by related colors.
- Ultimate Color Hex Code List – much like it says – a pretty exhaustive list of HTML hexidecimal codes.