A few weeks ago in our post on Color, some of you asked if we had any go-to web sites or resources for color combinations. I have a few to share with you and some other tips/tricks that I use to put colors together. My love and study of color dates way, way back to design school and the fundamentals that Sandy has been writing about in our color series.
Almost every combination can be tied back to the color wheel and categorized into a ‘why it works’ combination.
Monochromatic – color schemes that are derived from a single base hue, and extended using its shades, tones and tints.
Direct Complement – the colors which are directly opposite from one another on the color wheel. Complementary colors provide strong and balanced contrast.
Split Complement – Split complementary is a main color (like red) and the analogous colors to its complement color. (So instead of green, you would choose the blue/green or yellow/green next to the direct complement.)
Triadic – Triad colors (my favorite in terms of balance) are three hues equidistant on the color wheel.
Achromatic – Similar to monochromatic but only using neutral colos (like black and white to create a series of grey)
Accent Neutral – Using an achromatic scheme and adding a single accent color for pop!
So here are a few tips on how to explore color combinations.
Choose a photo that you love! I’m often inspired by colors in nature, so I look to beautiful photographs for color inspiration. From a photo, you can use a tool like Photoshop or Pixlr (free!) to pull colors. Using the eyedropper tool, you can pull out 3-5 main colors and easily use them to work into a branding campaign or logo design. This might be fun when working with a client too. Ask them to provide 3-5 photos that inspire them and you can use them to come up with a palette that represents them. Once you have used the eye-dropper, you can click on the color thumbnail to reveal the hex code. These colors are visible on the web.
A site that does an amazing job at this is Design Seeds.
They’ve done all the work and provide amazing photos with a color palette. If you find something inspirational here, you can use the eye-dropper tool and reveal the hex codes for each color provided. Follow them on Pinterest for even more inspiration.
A few other sites that work well for web-based color selecting and combining are:
december.com Useful for identifying primary brand colors.
colortools.com Useful for combining colors if you just can’t decide between two.
colorsontheweb.com The color wizard lets you submit your own base color, and it automatically returns matching colors for the one you selected.
These sites are not fancy whatsoever, but they do the job of putting colors together with the hex codes you would need for design on the web.
I hope you enjoy the resources that I shared here! If you have any tips or resources that you’d like to share, we’d love to know about them.