Color Design Tips and Tools

Here are some useful online tools to help you work on color issues for your site:

  • Easy RGB Color Harmonies – Options such as color matching, searching for a tint, a color calculator and monitor calibration add value to this easy to use free online color tool.
  • Whats Its Color – Some of us have a great eye for complementary colors and matches–and then some of us still don’t understand why brown shoes and black pants are a bad idea. For anyone looking to set an image against a complementary background or find a color scheme, Whats Its Color (their grammar, not mine) is a free web app that can help. Upload an image and the site creates a palette page with a complementary background and a list of unique and dominant colors in your image. Photoshop and GIMP gurus might already know how to sift these kind of things already, but the visible color matching could be a boon for presentation slides or small design projects. [Lifehacker Annotation]
  • colr.org – Whether you’re looking for some help designing the color scheme of a web site, a blog, or a house, you can’t do much better than colr.org, a site that loads random Flickr images and intuitively parses the colors out of the photos to give you the best combinations possible. You’ve got quite a few options here: you can load your own image for a little color play, pick random color schemes compiled by other colr.org users, even choose a specific web site to copy colors from. [LifeHacker Annotation]
  • ColorZilla – ColorZilla is an extension for Mozilla Firefox that assists web developers and graphic designers with color related tasks – both basic and advanced. With ColorZilla you can get a color reading from any point in your browser, quickly adjust this color and paste it into another program. You can Zoom the page you are viewing and measure distances between any two points on the page. The built-in palette browser allows choosing colors from pre-defined color sets and saving the most used colors in custom palettes.
  • Design blog Before & After put together a great booklet detailing a little beginner’s color theory for complimenting your next effort. According to Before & After, colors are relational—always seen in conjunction with other colors—so it’s important to understand a little about color hues, tints, and palettes. Their 25-page booklet [PDF] walks you through choosing the perfect color, beginning with pulling the natural color palette out of a digital photo. From there, you can extract the predominate colors and work your way through the warm and cool color schemes to play around and see what tones and hues best project the idea you want to portray. [Lifehacker Annotation]
  • Color Theory for Designers, Part 1: The Meaning of Color. Smashing Magazine offers a post that serves as Color Psychology 101 for would-be designers. Beyond explaining which colors work as “warm” and “cool,” how primaries play off secondary colors, and offering lots of keen examples of every kind of color design, Smashing’s post offers some clues on how colors are perceived when images are translated to mental impressions. [Lifehacker Annotation]
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