Choosing the correct color for anything can be difficult. You need a whole spectrum of matching options, whether you are doing it for a website, a logo, a house or a room. Everything has to fit just perfectly, and that can be a real challenge especially since it isn’t always apparent what a color will look like when placed against another, or even just used for a large area and that’s not to mention lighting or shape! You can go from loving one to hating it in seconds, or wanting a slightly different shade of the same general tone.
But whatever you are planning a color scheme for, there are some tricks and tools you can use to make the whole thing a little less stressful, and a lot more successful.
Trick: Select a scheme based off of something you already have.
If you are planning a room you can choose a color scheme based off of something you have that you love and want to keep. For example, if you had a sofa that you really enjoy that is a deep red color, you could select a light gold or a cream color, or keep things white washed but do the borders In the same shade. You could then select other pieces of furniture, accents or decorations that fit in with it.
But this trick also works for websites and other similar designs. Say you have a picture you want to use for the main page, or a shape you want to use for a logo. You could then select colors that would complement it, and build based on that foundation.
This is an awesome site and one that is truly unique. It works by selecting photos at random on Flickr and showing them to you. It then allows you to break down all colors used in that picture and shows what they are. You can upload your own photo for this purpose, or see what other users have decided to share or search for. You can even find a breakdown of the colors used on particular websites of your choice.
Trick: Look to nature for good combinations.
Nature is full of examples of incredible color mixes that can seen hard to duplicate. But actually it is quite simple. If you already have a color in mind you want to use but don’t know what to pair it with, find an insect, a plant or an animal with that color. Then use the other colors it is naturally mixed with. Not only will this give you the closest matches to perfect you could find, but it will speak to your instincts that respond to colors in nature.
Tool: Color Scheme Designer
This cool little tool works by letting you select colors from the color wheel and seeing tones that combine well with it. You can go with warm or cold colors, and see recommendations in Mono, Compliment, Triad, Tetrad, Analogic and Accented Analogic. I like the way it automatically sets the tones in three strips for you, so you can see what they all look like next to each nother.
Trick: Go with opposites.
Opposing colors that directly counter each nother on the color wheel are great choices for more dramatic schemes. This is because they compliment one another, and since there are so many shades you can usually find something that will work, whether it is deep tones or pastels. Just be careful not to overwhelm by using too many opposing colors at once. Try to keep accents within the same two spectrum.
I love anything that allows for some kind of color association, and Toucan lets you set up a palette as many as 20 colors using that method. But you can also use uploaded photos, which will let you pull out a color and find others that will match it. Since you can select so many colors at once it is a great way to see all possible combinations and eliminate until you have what you want.
Tell Us Your Own!
There are hundreds upon hundreds of color design tools, and everyone has their own little tricks for finding what works. What are your recommendations?