Seven online color tools for design

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Ever wanted to get some colors to match that brilliant green from your client’s logo? Picking up the right color is not an easy task. Thankfully, there are some online tools that can be helpful when looking for the right color. These 7 tools will help you to get the right color. Each of these tools was picked based on its usefulness, features and fast responsiveness to ensure a proper workflow.

Tool #1 – Practice

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The first tool is your own experience on this. Let me tell you something, when it comes to colors, I cheat. I’ve gathered a number of colors that work well together, picking from the whole spectrum, from cold to warm, from brilliant to opaque, from dark to light. Create your own palette with some colors that you have tested and know that work well. Anytime you’re faced with the challenge of finding a color, try one of the palette. Maybe it will work, maybe it will need some fine tune, maybe it won’t work at all.

On the green image above, the light blue and that gray-with-a-bit-of-green doesn’t plays nice with the green background. If their areas were larger, they would work. Color is affected not only by its hue, value and saturation, but also by how much larger their area is, you can call this the concentration of color (if you like). For instance, the kitty has a tiny area, a line, but the color is strong (a dark brown) and therefore it works. The yellow color works because it’s analogous to the green, the deep pink is close to be on the triad and so on.

You can draw inspiration from nature, look how nature combine colors. Strawberries and cheese, dawns, rivers, everything as a perfect color combination. So the first tool would be “Create your own palette of colors”.

#2 JRM Color Palette Generator

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This one creates a palette taking an uploaded image as input. There some images to create palettes from. If you’re going to upload your own image, keep in mind that it won’t be deleted afterwards, so it may not be safe to upload a customer’s image. Is the only product that can bookmark your palette (with the exception of  ColourLovers but that’s more advanced). Simple and clean, can you ask  more?

#3 DeGraeve Color Palette Generator

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Hassle free! enter an image url, get the colors. You get a dull and a vibrant color scheme, very nice.

#4 SlayerOffice Color Palette Creator

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Very simple but an effective tool, this one is perfect to get some shades between two given colors. It will blend the two rows using the colors you define. The site explains the following about this tool:

It will create 10 shades of the base color, located top-left, at varying degrees of opacity. The top row emulates opacity over a white background, the bottom over black (or colors of your choosing as of v1.4). The opacity values are 100% opaque, 75%, 50%, 25% and 10% on the top row. The bottom row begins at 85% rather than 100% and continues on as the first.

#5 Colour Scheme Chooser

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I liked this one because you can enter the RGB and Hex values and choose with the sliders the HSV values. This one creates a color scheme suitable for a small basic site.

#6 Color Wizard

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A really nice, fast and responsive tool to create color harmonies. You can enter the values for a base colors and you will get not only the monocromatic, analogous, complimentary and other color harmonies, but hue variations, desaturations and tint & shade variations.

#7 COPASO | Colour Lovers Pro Color Palette Software

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An strong contender that has everything you need to create your color palettes. You can load an image and pixelate it to sample colors, create triad, tetrad, split and more color harmonies. It has four color models: RGB, HSV, CMYK and Hexa. Under the Colors or Palette sections you can get colors and palettes related to some keyword or simply load the latest colors or palette sorting them by rating, user, date, etc.

Epilogue

Color harmonies are not bullet-proof. Most of the times color harmonies will not throw a good result, but the result is likely to be within the ranges of the color harmonies, so use them only as a kickstart. Got colors? what are your tools of the trade?

You can download some palettes I created for my own use at my (old) ColourLovers profile.

Update 2009-01-30

ColorJack Studio

Here’s another one that looks pretty cool. ColorJack Studio is its name and you can select three colors and get color harmonies based on these three as well as desaturations and brightness variations. There are even some options to emulate color blindness so this is a very interesting tool for a lot more than simple color combinations.

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