Monday, September 20, 2010

Choosing colors

I often come up with a color palette from subjective study and my own thought process, but there are many great color tools out there you can use to help jog your color brain. They are very helpful to help get your mind on the right continent, so to speak, to start curating your own color palette. They're great when you are perhaps a little stuck, or when you have a couple colors in mind that you are sure you want to use, and you want to see that color used in many contexts. Or, when you just want to go in a whole new direction and need to find a compass to start with.

Digital tools:
Adobe's color palette web site also has a plug-in for Photoshop and Illustrator, so you can use Kuler within these two applications as well. I used to use it in Illustrator, but it was quite buggy at the time. I have not given it a shot since, but regardless, the web site is useful and I've never had an issue using it.

Adobe Ideas iPad App
This app has the functionality similar to Kuler built into it, plus you can grab a photo of your choosing from your photo library, and it will extract a five color palette from it for you. Cool!

Colors in Context - this is the BEST color book I've ever come across for color reference. Good thing I bought it when I did— it's now out of print, and pretty much unattainable unless you get lucky on alibris (or similar site). Okay, I exaggerrated...maybe it IS available, but I don't know anyone who is going to spend $400 on it.  Anyway, it's the best color reference book I've ever found. Hey, I just discovered that it looks like the SAME book is being published under a DIFFERENT title! Check it out:
> Colorscape: And around-the-world guide to color

Color Harmony: Layout
Color Harmony: Logos
Two books of the same series that show color combinations in various uses juxtaposed together. Helps you see how colors react to each other when next to each other, or if there is a color between them.

Color Index
Another good little color reference that does "all of the above". My main gripe about it is that the color palettes in general are a little lacking in my opinion. I still think it's a great reference book. It's small, squat size and plastic cover also help it fit in tight spaces and also take a beating in stride.

Do you have a favorite source for color inspiration? Please share in the comments!

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