Thursday, May 26, 2011

TOOL - Color Scheme Designer

Ever have trouble finding colors that work well together? I know it is one of my biggest challenges...but I'm also somewhat colorblind so I guess that kinda goes hand in hand. (I know a colorblind designer? Really?)

I'm always looking for sets of colors that work well together and I have a secret. I use Color Scheme Designer. This tool has been invaluable to me in the past. I know that even if the colors don't look quite right to me, they are most likely to work well as long as I don't mess with too many settings besides the given presets.


First, pick a color on the color wheel that will be your main color. It will be fairly bright and saturated, but don't worry, you can easily adjust it. Above the main color wheel, you see a selection of color scheme setting. Check out how each one looks with your main color. It will automatically select a set number of colors at very specific positions on the wheel in relation to your base color based on specific ideas of color theory. When you find one you like, change to the adjust scheme tab (under the wheel). You can test out what the two palettes do if you want, but I usually just stick to the presets from the drop down menu. A few different ways to preview your settings are located on the right fo you to test out your new color scheme before you export it. When you find a color scheme you want to use, you can export it in various formats including palettes for Photoshop or GIMP.


There are a couple of great features that I use quite a bit. First, after I pick a generalized color scheme, I click the various color wheel presets again and see how they look (mono, triad, tetrad, etc.). More often than not, I end up using a setting that was not what I started with. Secondly, I like to hit the random button at the top if I get stuck and just can't find anything I like.

One of my personal favorites, is the colorblind modes. Its great if you want to make sure that everyone can read your site, even people who have various forms of color-impaired vision. It's also kinda fun to play with and see how people with less than perfect color vision see the world. (You can check out how I see colors with the tritanomoly setting near the bottom.)

If you would rather use web colors or PANETONE or RAL palettes, you can select color space and change it with one click.

With this terrific free online tool, you can easily adjust a wide array of settings and select from various presets and instantly see what your color scheme will look like together. The best way to learn to use this app is just to play with it and see what happens. If you get totally messed up, just reload the page.


Post a Comment