Colours say a lot about your brand. Beyond the traditional blue means cold, green means natural, red represents speed... there's more to it than that.
Working on brands, logos and new designs is never without its challenges - particularly when developing a new or refreshed look for a client.
One of the core elements is picking an appropriate colour theme. There are so many things to consider: How many colours should you choose? What should be your primary colour? How will you compliment these with secondary colours? How do you even know if two or more colours are complimentary?
Doing this manually will probably alleviate you of some hair follicles, but you no longer have to fret. You're about to get some 'secret sauce' tools to make choosing colours both easy and inspiring.
Dribble is a design portfolio site, where designer work is aggregated and showcased. Each designer submits work for their portfolio which has resulted in a tonne of designs from around the world - all in one handy place. Pretty simple concept.
One of the features of the site is the ability to do a search by colour. So say for example you wanted green as a base colour for your brand. Then simply visit Dribbble, pick the green colour that you like most and what percentage that green should make up of the design portfolio.
Dribbble then trawls its database of designs and shows you every variation that contain that shade of green in it. It also shows you combinations of secondary and accent colours.
What we like about this site is the use of live examples. This enables you to make a judgment on how things look in context and how colours are balanced.
When you find something you like - you can then simply export the colour swatches and upload them into your preferred design tool such as Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign. This is pretty handy really, because someone else has already created colour combinations that you can use as a reference!
Canva Colors is like a Wiki for colours and palate combinations. Unlike the other tools, it also provides information about the meaning behind different colours.
Equipped with a large base of colours, Canva's tool helps you pick the right combinations to help you match your aesthetics with your brand characteristics and attributes.
In addition, Canva Colors helps you to pick colour combinations that work well together.
With a huge library of colour palettes to explore, the tool is comprehensive and great if you want to find the perfect match for your brand.
Coolers is another great tool. It's a bit more manual in the sense that you don't get the contextual examples of others' work. However, by simply hitting space bar you can get a random array of colours for you to consider. If you like one colour, but none of the rest - then you can simply lock that colour in and keep generating the remaining colours for your palette.
It's pretty interactive and quite fun picking the colours - and makes a great alternative to Dribbble. Again, once you're finished then simply export or save the palette and keep going.
Job done - what's next?
Adobe Color (apologies for the Americanism), is another great tool. Similar to Cooler in that it's a bit of manual process (without contextual examples).
However, one little feature we quite dig is the colour rule toggle. It's pretty nifty if you want to generate variations of one colour - monochromatic, or a triad of colours (which sounds dangerous), or several alternative options including customisation.
It's a nice tool and like the others, when you're happy simply save your preferences. The tricky part here though - is that saving will only add it to your Adobe Library (if you're a Creative Cloud subscriber).
So if you're using another design tool then you'll manually have to document the colour palette for later use. No sweat though, right!
Another cool feature with both Coolers and Adobe Color - is you can extract a colour palette from an existing image. So if you find something you like online, simply drop it into the tools and waalah - you have your palette.
Now you're equipped with some tools to make a great start on your next design project. Let us know if you have any hacks or shortcuts you use for your day-to-day design work in the comments below.