Add some Colour into your life
As a designer I should be better at using colour, I think we’re all guilty of “sticking to what we know” at some point in our careers. Luckily for me the internet is a haven of inspiration and truly amazing resources to aid your every day design work.
This blog highlights some of the websites, apps and services which I use on a daily basis, If I miss any, please leave a comment and I’ll be sure to look into them.
I apologise for any American readers in advance for not spelling colour, color.
Let’s start with the obvious.
UPDATED 25TH JUNE 2014
Adobe Kuler has been around for years and is a fine resource, Kuler enables you to view and create colour schemes with aid of the color wheel or browse thousands of color combinations from the Kuler community. Look no further for some super beautiful combinations of colour, Analogous, Monochromatic, Triad, Complementary, Compound and Shades about covers it.
Kuler works within Adobe Illustrator and has recently been launched as an App which uses the camera to pick colours out of thin air. The app is available for iPhone and is well worth a download. [Kuler iPhone Link]
When it comes to finding tints and perfect combinations of graduated colours then look no further than Colllor. With Colllor it is much easier to generate a consistent web color palette with just a few clicks.
All the alternative proposals produced by Colllor derive from the same color and they all have a common denominator sharing hue, lightness or saturation values. This tool will let you find the exact value of darker shades of any color, not just something that ‘looks darker’. That will be a huge step towards professionally looking design.
Colllor may have advertising within it’s site but that should not put you off for one second, I strongly urge you to bookmark this site and use it regularly.
Spectrum is a stunning Mac application that is designed to allow you to easily and intuitively create beautiful color schemes. Like the websites above, Spectrum is a very powerful tool, except this one is a stand alone app and a beautiful one at that.
Spectrum goes a little further than just finding you colour palettes, you can also generate colours by selecting your very own images! Very powerful stuff. Other features include importing and exporting schemes as CSS, PNG and ASE files, Switching between colour wheel modes, a built in colour picking tool to help you grab colours from whatever is on your screen and you can even organise all your schemes into a searchable database, very handy for those who have brand guidelines to stick to.
Priced at £13.99 it is more expensive than the free sites, but it’s hard for me to understand why any designer wouldn’t use this in his day-to-day life.
I’ve only listed the three main services/sites I use, but feel free to leave your own colour resources.
Dribbble Colour Search
Sometimes as a designer you can really struggle with finding inspiration but Dribbble has always been there to help, one feature that many designers may not be aware of is their colour search.
Their colour search means that you can seek inspiration based on the colour palette you are using, you can browse designs to a hugely accurate ratio of design and colour. Well worth a look. Plus each design you like will reference their most used colours so you can easily view similar designs based on your tastes.
Don’t forget to follow me on Dribbble and view some of my work.
Have you ever seen or been working with a brand and thought “their colours are beautiful” well Brand Colours is the place where you can easily find colour pallets for all the webs top brands including Facebook, Twitter and Dropbox.
The site is elegant and easy to navigate, plus you can quickly copy their HEX codes and use them in your artwork. Heck you can even download all the colours in a variety of formats. A must have bookmark for any product designs looking for branded colour schemes.
Snook Colour Contrast Check
The Colour Contrast Check Tool allows to specify a foreground and a background colour and determine if they provide enough of a contrast “when viewed by someone having color deficits or when viewed on a black and white screen”[W3C].
The tool will indicate that the colours pass the test if both the colour difference and the brightness difference exceed their threshold. It will indicate that it sort of passes if only one of the two values exceed their threshold. And finally, it’ll fail to pass if neither value exceeds its threshold.
This site was created by Jonathan Snook and all credit to him for it. It may not be the prettiest but is one hell of a useful tool.
Mike Hince is a UI & UX Designer and the co-founder of Bossanova Design.