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The Importance of Color in Design
Color is one of the most impactful aspects of our visual experience. Obviously, it plays a primary role in marketing and design.
The challenge for the non-designer is knowing how to create a color theme that both looks good and is effective. For many people, color coordinating their outfit for the day is challenging enough.
If you are designing your own brand identity and visual marketing (ads, graphics, website, etc), the stakes are a little higher than picking the right tie, shirt or shoes for the outfit of the day. It can feel overwhelming.
The advantage of the professional designer / artist is that they should have spent a significant amount of time learning the basics of color theory, and have the experience of working with many flavors of brands with their variety of clients.
What is Color Theory?
Color theory is the intersection where science meets art. There is a way in which humans experience color that is universal (with respectful exception to those who have a color deficiency). Our brains miraculously interpret the light waves passing into our eye as color.
There is a rhyme and reason to how and why colors interact and blend. We can organize the spectrum of light into a color wheel which helps explain why certain colors harmonize or clash.
Designers are trained to understand the color wheel so they can design using the natural relationships between colors.
Amazing Tools to Assist Color Selection
Isn’t is wonderful to live in a time where we have access to so many automated, dynamic tools?
To help you find and choose a color palette that aesthetically works, I’ve put together a few of my favorite online tools.
Keep in mind, there’s more to it than just selecting brand colors that coordinate nicely. Color theory also speaks to the psychology of color selection.
For now, let’s dive into the color palette generation tools!
Create Your Own Palette
This tool will help you to learn and distinguish the types of color palettes via their filtering tools. You can set your color wheel to select “Analogous, Monochromatic, Triad, Complementary Split Complimentary, etc” harmony rules.
If you have particular colors in mind for your brand, it will automatically coordinate the aligning/harmonized alternatives.
If there is a graphic, brand, or image you have seen elsewhere and loved, you can upload it into Adobe Color and it will create a color palette based on it. Imitation of a favorite brand or style isn’t a wrong decision, especially if you know it ‘works’.
Explore Palettes & Trends
There are tools to explore suggested palettes of all hues and shades, to help inspire you. You can search trends within specific industries.
In the end, you are intended to generate a 5-color palette to guide your brand theme. When you download/save the theme colors, you will be provided color swatches that include a web hex color (the color system for internet/web display), and RGB (digital color system).
Integration with Adobe Cloud Library
Additionally, if you are a Creative Cloud subscriber and opt to use software like Photoshop, you can save your preferred color palettes directly to your cloud library. This will easily allow you to use inside Photoshop while creating graphics.
HTML Color Codes
Easy tools to develop a downloadable palette based on a color selection of your preference.
Another tool, meant for designer/developers based on web color systems. But easy to use for anyone just looking for an automated color palette generator.
There are several other tools for finding names of colors and building a library of colors. Including a tutorial section if you wanted to learn about web colors and how to do simple CSS code. This is a little more advanced.
Easy Download of 6 Color Palette
Get swatches of your selected colors for your use in your branding.
Simple Filters and Search
The best thing about this site is simplicity. Use the filtering tools to search new, popular, or color-based inquiries – and you’re given dozens of palettes to consider. Easy-peasy.
Download your color palette for your own use.
Pigment by ShapeFactory
Not as intuitive as some other tools – you have to play with to get the hang of it. But heck, it’s cool. It feels like a great experience with color, and you can discover some interesting palettes for sure. Give this a shot!
You can apply the colors you find to gradients, duotone photos, and experiment with shades/tints of the color swatches.
Simple Download in SVG format.
Download your color palette for your own use.
Color Palette Generator
Simple and direct. Create a color palette based on a color name/hex # you provide, upload an image with colors you like, or just select a color.
Muzli will generate color palettes that follow proper color theory for you, which you can save. It also generate some demo images of how it might look in application online.
Click and download your color palettes. There are other features if you ‘join’ the site, which seem to provide inspiration and additional tools.
Knowing What Colors to Choose
Applying color to branding is about knowing Your brand personality & your market.
There is strategy to color. Colors represent emotion and evoke a message. It can be attached to culture, stigma, psychology, association, and more.
For example, here are known associations with color:
Red = danger, excitement, caution, passion, energy, power.
Pink = Femininity, romance, delicacy, youthfulness, compassion.
Black = Formality, sophistication, power, darkness, death.
White = Purity, minimalism, simplicity, cleanliness
Orange = vibrancy, creativity, friendliness.
Blue = Calmness, responsibility, stability, coolness.
Green = Freshness, growth, nature, finance.
Yellow = Happiness, warmth, hope, cowardice.
You need to aware of these associations to be aware of challenges. You’ll need to manage the color effectively.
I personally believe any color can work, if used well. Some choices will require more strategy and creativity. That’s where understanding your brand personality is powerful.
Brand personality is your personal twist.
It’s your tone, flavor and way of presenting your brand. With intelligent, creative concepts and good writing, you can become unique and identifiable. Even if you go against the grain, you carve out your brand as something unexpected and refreshing.
You should know your brand personality BEFORE you choose your brand colors. Building around a color concept is a weaker position. Start with a strong concept and strategy, and create around that foundation.
Be aware of your competitors. If you want to stand out, it’s best to not mirror their style.
Once you know your personality and have a strong concept, tools like these offered on this website are helpful is creating a color scheme that looks great!co