Color me insightful

Canon 550d - Pencil ColourColor is a crucial part of the message in any visual design. There are a plethora of color theories and guidelines out there. If you have a good eye, then most of it is common sense. Color Scheme Designer 3 is one of my favorite tools to quickly throw together a color scheme. At first glance it may seem pretty simplistic, but play around with it a bit and you’ll discover the subtleties you can achieve using the “Adjust Scheme” options. Once you have a set of colors you like you can look at the “Color List” to quickly see all of the hex color codes, or export your scheme in a variety of formats. There’s also an option to view your color scheme as a colorblind person would see it, which can help you with accessibility. (Two colors that are distinct to someone with normal vision may be nearly someone who is colorblind.

Color is about more than just what looks good however. There are evolutionary and cultural connotations surrounding colors. For instance, research has shown that women wearing red are viewed as more attractive and men wearing red are viewed as more powerful. This is true even in a controlled experiment where a photo is duplicated and only the color of the clothing is changed. Think about the American/ Christian connotations white being holy, symbolizing a hero, and black being evil, symbolizing the villain. Of course, those aren’t the only connotations, for instance in luxury items black is often viewed as sleek and upscale (think a black car or black leather furniture). If you’re curious you’ll have no trouble finding articles on the web to learn more. Just bear in mind that what applies to you and your culture might not apply to your customer overseas. Make sure you do usability testing or work with someone from your target market to ensure you’re not sending mixed signals with your color choices.

So readers, what are your favorite color schemes? To you prefer the subtle variation of a monochrome palette, or do you like to mix it up with a bold tetrad?

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