Monday, December 10, 2007

Color obsession

Color can be one of the most difficult obstacles to good design. The right or wrong color or color scheme can make or break a website. Some gifted people have a knack for selecting great colors an color combinations, while others of us flounder in the face of infinite color choices. Whether you are skilled with color, unskilled or simply love color, here are some great websites to browse for inspiration, resources, palettes and tools. Some of these you may know already, others perhaps not, but all are worth bookmarking for future use!

Color Inspiration and Ideas:

COLOURlovers is a resource that monitors and influences color trends. COLOURlovers gives the people who use color - whether for ad campaigns, product design, or in architectural specification - a place to check out a world of color, compare color palettes, submit news and comments, and read color related articles and interviews.

Flickr, of course, abounds with interesting images and rich colors. However, some Flickr photography collections are particularly relevant to those looking for color inspiration. These mini kaleidoscopes, floral explorations, garden images, artful doors and southwestern environmental photographs are five great places to start your search.

Color and Palette Selection Tools:

4096 Color Wheel: Hover over the square to change saturation (left to right) and value (bottom to top) of the last hue. Use the keyboard to rotate hue. Jump to a primary or secondary color: red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, or yellow. The enter key will also add the current color to the pick list.

ColorSchemer Studio is a professional color matching application for anyone from hobbyists to advanced professionals. Work with a dynamic visual color wheel, instantly explore harmony relationships and even let ColorSchemer Studio intelligently suggest color schemes for you!

ColorBlender – your free online tool for color matching and palette design! To get started, choose a preferred color using the color picker below, and a 6-color matching palette (a “blend”) will be automatically calculated. Using the radio buttons you may switch to Direct Edit mode to tweak or edit individual colors of your blend. Blends can be saved for future use, and will be available whenever you return to this site from the same workstation, given that your browser accepts cookies.

Here and here two more similar color and palette selection tools you might wish to check out as well, at least to get a different set of color schemes to work with. You might find that if you try a variety of tools and lay the results side by side you will be surprised at what stands out as the proper color solution.


Other Useful Color Tools and Sites:

Photo Color Matcher: Enter the URL of an image to get a color palette that matches the image. This is useful for coming up with a website color palette that matches a key image a client wants to work with.

Web 2.0 Color Palette: Web 2.0 is about finding new ways to interact on the internet and collaboration, at least to a certain extent. Those of us in the know realise what Web2.0 is really all about - putting things on super shiney tables and painting them with gradients and candy colours and shiny silver and stuff. Organised into 3 distinct colour groups - neutrals, muted tones and bold colours, you may recognize a few of the shades from some of your favourite Web2.0 sites. Now you can quickly and easily assemble your own colour scheme - simply choose any number of bold or muted colours, then add as many neutrals as you see fit - you’ll have a Web2.0 masterpiece in no time at all!

The Meaning of Colors: For most of us, a rainbow of colours envelopes our lives. Over 80% of visual information is related to colour. What colours and combinations of colours stimulate people to be interested in different things? What colours make us feel pleasure or disapproval, hot or cold, to be attracted or repelled, our appetite stimulated or suppressed? Many reactions to colour are instinctual, universal and cross cultural boundaries. “Colors also convey messages that go beyond ethnic, racial, or gender boundaries. According to a 1997 survey by Cooper Marketing Group, Oak Park, IL, power is represented by the color scarlet red for 25% of respondents, black for 17% and bright violet blue for 13%. More than 55% of those surveyed chose one of these three colors out of 100 colors. Fragility was most represented by pale pink (27%), white (9%), and pale lavender (9%).”


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