Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Colour Scheme Tool - Or How Not To Make Nauseous Colour Combinations

If you've been reading this weblog for any length of time, you'll certainly know that I like to pretend to be a lot of different things. Depending on factors such as my current hobbies, projects and interests (and the phase of the moon) I might pretend to be a photographer, programmer, tech pundit, writer, or any number of other things.

Lately, I've been running around with a beret and palette doing a bad impression of a graphic designer. Let's be clear. I'm no graphic designer. But I do enjoy pretending to be one and sharing what I learn.

In that vein, my sense of colour coordination is not finely honed. I can draw things, but when it comes to making things look attractive with splashes of colour, I'm not your go-to guy. I need a little help.

I did a fair bit of reading about colours and web design in the days immediately prior to starting this blog (at that time I was pretending to be a web designer and HTML codemonkey). I read enough about colour theory to know I had no sense of taste when it came to combining things - I know a relatively tasteful colour combination when I see it, but for me to come up with one is quite painful.

But that little bit of research did explain that there was a method to colour-combination madness. Things like colour wheels and triad combinations told me that there actually was a science to this, and that it wasn't all black magic.

Since racking my brain to submit some decent logos for the Open Font Library logo contest, I went in search of a free colour combination tool to help me out. I found Color Scheme Generator 2 which seems to do what I need it to do at the price I like the most ;).

So if you really are a graphic designer (or just playing one on the web like me), you might find it a useful tool if you're all thumbs when it comes to colours.

I know there are lots of other similar tools on the web. If you've got a suggestion for a better one, please post it in the comments.


Simón A. Ruiz said...

Greetings for a first-time commenter.

I recently found http://www.colorjack.com/sphere/ which has a lot of nifty switches and options which are actually pretty intuitive.

It pays to know some very basic color theory, like the fact that RGB is more appropriate for computer screens, whereas "RYB" (actually CMY) would be more appropriate for print materials.

RichardQuerin said...


Very cool link. Thanks for posting it. It works much nicer and easier than the one I posted.

I think even a little bit of colour theory can go a long way if you're trying to make something attractive. Many people outside of the design community might not have ever heard of it.

Thanks for commenting.

Will Simpson said...

I've used a little Linux app called Agave. Simpler but doesn't require connectivity and allows saving of favorites.

Install via apt-get.