Being a web guy and graphic artist, I use colors a lot. I’ve even talked about that in several of the articles I’ve written for Traces, so I want to share a tool with you I’ve been using for years.
The product/service is called Coolors.co.
This service helps you find a color palette that works for whatever you might need.
What I like about it is the simplicity of generating a set of colors that look great together. You don’t even have to create an account, although I recommend you do as you can save your color palettes in your account.
To get started just visit the site and literally click “start the generator.” Boom! There is your first option. If you don’t like it, click the button that says generate and you get a new set of colors.
During the process, if you see a color or colors that you like, just click the lock icon for that color. Then, click generate and the color engine will replace the colors not locked into place.
You’ll notice that by default it will generate five colors in your pallet. Obviously, you don’t have to use all five, and of course, you can add additional colors as well.
If you can’t decide which, you can also see a gallery of what others have created. Either use those as they are or make that a starting point to find what works best for you.
By default, you will see the colors in what is called Hexadecimal color naming which is a series of 6 alphanumeric characters that identifies that color. This is what web browsers, services, and applications use to display colors.
You do have the option to get that color in other formats such as CMYK which is generally used for print or RGB which is used for other electronic devices and some graphic apps. This versatility helps keep your brand color consistent over different media sources but do keep in mind that you are not able to create an exact match in CMYK, RGB and HEX because RGB and Hex can produce over 16,000,000 colors whereas CMYK can only produce a little over 16,000 colors. With that vast difference in numbers, there could be a vast difference when you convert.
Speaking of branding, color is a key part of your branding profile. If you think of major brands such as McDonalds, Coke, Pepsi, Burger King, Ford, Chevy, etc. you will not only recognize them by their logo but also the colors associated with it. You should follow these principles as well as you build your brand and company. Using a service such as Coolors will help you create and save your branding palette, so you have it handy.
Speaking of keeping your colors handy. You can access your account in any web browser but with their mobile app that is available in both the Apple and Google Play stores, you can take your settings wherever you go.
You can also export your palette in different formats. In the past, I’ve mentioned I like to keep an Evernote notebook for each of my customers. I can export the color palette as an image and paste it into their file. It allows me to label each color in the formats mentioned previously. I usually save it in the Hexadecimal and also as color names. That way my client can easily say the color name to me and not have to rattle off a series of letters and numbers.
Although the auto color palette generator is the default, there are other methods to generate the colors you seek. You can also generate as Monochromatic, Analogous, Complementary, Triadic and more.
They also allow you to create a color palette based on an image which would be great if you had a logo created. You could generate a full color scheme that compliments your logo color.
For me, I usually stick to three main colors and then use other colors as either shades or accent colors for items such as buttons, call out boxes, menus, and things of that sort. Having a full color scheme helps you look more professional and uniform. I’ve worked on projects where the site owner would guess at the color combination each time a button was added so they may have 10 shades of what was thought to be the same color.
Something that Coolors offers that many don’t think about is a color-blind checker. It will look at your palette and show you how your colors might appear to people that suffer from different forms of color blindness. They provide 8 different color-blind tests compared against your pallet.
There are many other tools offered on the Coolors site. Besides the generator, and “extract from image,” there is also a color picker where you can import an image and use the sliders to pick the exact colors from the image you want to generate the color combinations.
There is also a contrast checker which helps if you have two images used in unison. This tool gives you a score and star rating so that you can easily tell how visible one image is over the other. This could come in handy if you are using text on a colored background. We can’t always rely on what we see on the screen because monitor settings may not be as accurate as we think.
Another cool tool is a “change image color” tool where you can upload an image and change select colors in the image and download it to use where needed. Another popular tool related to images is the image convertor where you can change an image to a different format. For example, maybe you have a .gif image and need it to be a .png—you can do that with this tool.
The Coolor’s team is constantly adding more and more resources to the already awesome services they offer. Maybe you don’t utilize colors as much as I do, but I still think you will find this tool very useful. Definitely check it out and bookmark it in your resources.