Helpful Tools for Creating Color Schemes

By Lisa Sabin-Wilson

You can spend a lot of time creating different color schemes for your WordPress site by using the online color wheel; however, you can also find other tools to help you create just the right color scheme.

Explore different color combinations

Here are several online tools and places on the web where you can find color inspiration and ideas:

  • COLOURlovers: The COLOURlovers website lets you browse through millions of different color combinations and palettes that you can use in your designs. Members of the website submit and share their favorite colors and schemes with other members — so it’s a social network based around colors.

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  • Kuler from Adobe: Adobe’s Kuler is a web-based application where you can share and experiment with different color combinations. Kuler is a community where members share their color schemes and experiments with other members to help inspire one another in the area of color.

  • ColorSchemer Studio 2: ColorSchemer Studio 2 ($49.99) is an application for mixing and matching colors to develop a color scheme to use on your website design project. Download the app from the ColorSchemer website and install it on your computer. From there, use its visual color wheel to create your preferred color schemes. This application is available for Windows and Mac.

How to find RGB and hex codes

Sometimes you already have a color scheme defined for you before the design project begins; for example, if a client comes to you with her logo and wants the color scheme to match it. In these circumstances, pull out the following tools to determine quickly and easily the RGB or hex codes of the colors presented:

  • Color Cop: Color Cop is a very handy small application that you download from the Color Cop website and install on your computer (currently available only for Windows). After it’s installed, you can find the Color Cop icon on your Windows Quick Launch toolbar. Follow these steps to quickly pick a color from a website you’re viewing in your browser:

    1. Click the Color Cop icon on your Windows Quick Launch toolbar.

      A small Color Cop window opens.

    2. Click and drag the eyedropper to your desired color location.

      The eyedropper symbol is located on the middle of the left side of the window. You can drag the eyedropper to any location on your monitor to select your preferred color.

    3. Note the RGB and hex codes of your preferred color.

      The RGB code appears in the upper-left section of the Color Cop window, and the hex code appears in the middle, underneath the main color box.

    4. When you’re done, close the application by clicking the X button in the top-right corner of the window.

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  • Color Palette Generator: This is an online tool; you can upload an image, such as a logo provided by a client or a photograph with a preferred color scheme, and the website analyzes the image and returns a color scheme based on the colors found in the image you uploaded.

    You can see that the tool returns the main colors found in that image, and from there, you can hover over each color with your mouse pointer to discover the specific hex code to use in your design project.

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  • I Like Your Colors: I Like Your Colors lets you discover a specific color scheme of another website by simply entering its URL (web address) and clicking the Submit button. I Like Your Colors then returns a listing of colors found on the website you entered.

    This is a handy tool when a client comes to you and says, “I love the color scheme on Google — I want to use that scheme!” You can then enter Google’s URL and find out the exact hex codes for the colors it uses.

If all else fails, most graphic design and image-editing programs have color pickers, or eyedroppers, that you can use to drag over an image to select a particular color. You’re all set to create your own color schemes.