Why you need to take color seriously
The world we’re living in is an increasingly visual place. There’s so much information at our fingertips that we have moved away from careful reading, and moved toward “scanning.”
We expect to be able to get a sense of an overall product, website, or brand by just looking at it, without much investigation.
Did you know:
- “80% of clients think that color is responsible for brand recognition” (source)
- Purple is associated with respect, and the color red can raise your heart rate (see more at digitalinformationworld)
- Color choice can increase readership up to 40% (source)
Color is powerful.
Check out this infographic at Branding Magazine for more info on the relationship between color and brand.
Your color scheme can have a big impact on your business.
…and by business I mean blog, because TechYourBlog, obvi!
Just kidding, it actually applies to any business – but this is a blog for bloggers, so it’s an important reminder.
You’ve no doubt seen those websites where someone just chose every color that they loved and plastered them everywhere. Did you think it looked nice? Really pretty? Probably not.
It may even have affected the way you thought about their professionalism or stopped you from becoming a regular reader.
As I mentioned in a previous post – people like pretty pictures, but what that really boils down to is this: Our eyes (or actually our braaaaiiiinnssss *zombie voice*) create specific reactions to certain visuals, and a massive part of that is color combinations.
To help you narrow down an awesome color scheme for whatever project you’re working on, I’ve put together this GIANT list of color-pickers and color scheme tools that are guaranteed to make the process of choosing color palettes easyaspie, and also pretty rad.
For a better overall understanding of graphic design to make the most of these tools check out this list of 26 awesome graphic design resources.
I’ve actually gone through and used EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.
There are 35 tools here specifically made for the sole purpose of creating awesome color schemes, and I used all of them.
I’m about ready to go stare at a white wall to give my eyes a break, but I wanted to make sure that all the tools here were truly valuable.
There are some others out there that didn’t make the list because either 1) they didn’t deliver enough value or 2) the user interface just wasn’t up to par.
These are the best the web has to offer for color-picking tools. And yes, they’re all free!
Jump to a certain section:
I hope you guys enjoy them!
Browse & Pick Specific Colors
This is a color-picker with a straight-up beautiful layout. It’s inspired by “flat” UI design and lets you scroll through large squares of color with all the info you need to use them (including a name) on each square.
Sometimes you want to stick within shades of the same color – for instance, if you’re creating a gradient and have one color, but need a lighter version of it to complete the gradient – and 0to255 is made for just that. Pick a color, paste it in, and they’ll show you all the variations of that color, and their hex numbers for easy copy-and-paste.
A color picker with a seriously cool design. The color of the screen changes as you move your mouse, and once you find a color you like, just click, and it will place it off to the side for you, so you can continue picking new colors and see them side-by-side.
Color.Hailpixel’s big brother.
A very similar interface with extra options for those that wanna get fancy!
Picking colors doesn’t get much easier. This is just one page with a ton of color choices, and all you have to do is click! It automatically copies the color code for you so you can paste it wherever your heart desires.
This handy little tool lets you mess with color combinations using a variety of settings. It will let you choose color schemes with options like “complementary” so you the color choices automatically adjust for the best fit. It’s intuitive and also highly customizable.
The Paletton color-picker displays a several small squares within a large square, allowing you to adjust the different colors via a color wheel and see how they work together. It was made specifically to find colors that work together so you can choose how many squares of difference colors are displayed, making it easy to compare complex color schemes.
Paletton’s sister app, Color Scheme Designer focuses on showing you a range of different color schemes, with different options for the points of focus to create complimentary or analogic color palettes, plus more. The colors you choose show up side-by-side in a box on the page, so you can see exactly how they’ll look and easily choose a color-scheme for any project.
Colorspire is a great web design tool. It displays a website-like graphic and you get to choose which colors go where, so it’ll give you an idea of what your website will look like with x-background-color + y-widget-area-color.
Tip: Use one of the other tools that focuses on great color schemes, then once you have a color scheme you like, go insert the colors into colorspire, and see how you feel about them with the website visual.
An in-browser tool that’s simple (big) design makes it easy to manipulate to find the perfect color combo.
Color Sphere’s app will run offline if you need it to. It helps you choose color palettes, find complimentary colors, the hex codes for adding a color to your website, will export colors to apps like Photoshop, and even simulates colorblindness!
For those who don’t know, hex colors are what you use when adding color schemes to website code. The tool was made specifically for that purpose.
Non-Traditional Color-Pickers + Color Palette Inspiration
This tool has an interesting 3D design to it. You can create your own color palette or browse ones that other people have made. There’s also an iPhone app version, but its’ not free, just fyi.
Colrd is a website with a load of color scheme tools attached to it.
You can browse color palettes created by other people, or you can create your own. It has options to create color palettes, choose just one specific color, make a gradient, or – one the coolest tools in my opinion – get “image DNA” from a photo. Meaning you get a color palette based on a picture.
This is a color-picker that designers can appreciate. It functional, and also has a super-modern feel. It’s “generator” has a similar look to Color.Hailpixel but functions differently, letting you adjust things like “hue” and “saturation” in a toggle bar, and also lets you browse through pre-made color palettes in the “browser.”
A cool little tool that lets you choose a photo and (on hover) displays swatches of all the colors used in the photo. It breaks down the colors in the photo for easy selection, and then displays the color hex, and gives you the option to find similar colors. This is marketer more for interior design, but can be useful for any number of color-picking jobs.
A website with several tools dedicated to color-schemes.
You can create your own palette, select a color and see more colors it works with, upload a photo for color-analyzation, or look up a website to analyze, plus more. There are a lot of useful features in this place.
Color blender creates a selection of colors for you based on two colors you initially choose. You decide how many “mid-points” you want – aka colors in between you starting color and ending color – then click blend, and BOOM you have a pretty new palette.
An easy to use tool for picking great color palettes.
It has a nice user-design to make picking color palettes super easy, you get to choose how many different colors you’re looking for, plus it has an awesome explanation section below the color-picker.
This one may be of particular interest to bloggers.
Pictaculous lets you upload a photo, then displays options for a color palette. So if you have an idea of what sort of images you’ll be using on your blog, you can upload a couple here and see what other colors you should incorporate into your blog design.
Another very useful option for finding and grabbing colors from your images. Upload a photo and this tool will give you a color palette based on the photo.
One more for good measure! Another good option for getting color palettes from a photo – but instead of uploading, you paste the image location into the generator. It’s super-simple, just paste in your image url and go!
Such a cool palette-picker here, guys!
With Palettr you type in a keyword (I used “China” – yes it can be a place) and the site finds a bunch of awesome color schemes for you and provides the hex codes.
Color Hunter is purely a palettes-based site. There’s no color wheel, but it gives you a way to find good color-schemes fast. You can choose colors by hex number, a tag or upload an image.
Another excellent choice for color palettes. A simple tool that lets you choose from a library of color swatches and add them to your palette on the top of the page. Alternatively, you can check out palettes by other users, or select a color and choose to search for other colors that are in “harmony” with it.
A MASSSIVE collection of color palettes used by the world’s biggest brands.
Is there a company whose brand design you really like? Check this directory to see if their colors are listed – chances are good they are.
This is a unique little palette-picker. It takes color a color palette that you choose, and overlays it with another single color to create a more “cohesive” color palette.
A flat UI design much like the one in the Flat UI Color Picker at the beginning of this list – but this one creates palettes with multiple colors in it from your initial selections. Once created you can download the palette or even tweet it!
Color Tools That Are A Little Outside The Box
This tool is technically a search engine – but a search engine for color! MultiColr searches thousands of creative commons images based on a color palette of your choosing. You can refine the images even further by keyword.
It’s a really cool way to find pictures that fit your color scheme!
This site has ALL THE INFO for picking color schemes.
Pick a color, any color! Then let this site tell you everything you ever wanted to know about that color, including what other colors it will play well with it.
It will also let you create gradients or blend colors, and give you the color codes for each variation.
CheckMyColours is an odd, interesting, and potentially very useful tool. Simply type in the URL of website and it will analyze things like color contrast and brightness, giving you a more data-driven view of your website’s design. This is probably more useful for web designers and bloggers who have a more technical understanding of their site’s design.
A similar tool to MultiColr, but you choose the color by a slider and the results are stock photos for sale on Shutterstock.
There are some really pretty pictures guys. It’s very satisfying to just stare at them.
Ever see a color on a blog or somewhere around the web that you really want to copy? ColorZilla is your answer. It lets you pick colors from your browser on Chrome or Firefox (please tell me you’re not using Internet Explorer!) and lets you copy the color info – such as the hex number so you can use it in Photoshop or web design.
Sometimes you need an in-depth look at the colors you’re using.
Maybe you have the RPG color code, but you need the hex number of a certain color. SpyColor will display all other info related to a color for you, so you have everything you need to use that color in any project, whether it’s painting your house, or using it in a website.
This is an awesome website just to grab some inspiration, for color palettes or design in general. Choose your color palette and click “search” – designspiration will grab hundreds of amazing pictures with a similar palette for you to draw some inspiration from.
Thinking of revamping your blog’s brand? Check out these helpful posts from other bloggers:
Keep an eye on the colors!
Any last words?
Are there any other color-pickers or design tools out there you’d add?
What has your experience been with choosing a color scheme?
*There may be affiliate links in this post. There may not be affiliate links in this post. Life’s full of mystery. And hopefully pizza.