Designing with Colors

Colors can make or break a design and finding the right color palette that helps elevate your graphics can be more than difficult and sometimes seem impossible. So I’m here to lend a hand and talk about some tricks I’ve found along the way that have helped me. 

First off as designers we must understand that colors have meaning, they provoke different emotions, associations, and responses that can change how your designs are looked at. You don’t just want your design to speak to your audience, but also your color palette. With over 16 million possible hexadecimal color combinations this can seem overwhelming. 

One of my favorite things I love to do to find or create color palettes is to use my Adobe Capture app on my phone. Adobe Capture is a free app and can be used on an active adobe account. It allows me to create palettes through pictures I take. I love to take photos of different color schemes that I find in everyday life. Through the app I can take a picture of a beautiful blossoming flower, from there the app highlights the 6 colors used and creates a palette from them. Then I can download and name that palette and upload it right to my adobe account to be used later when I’m designing. Its such a super handy app and allows to have a better understanding of the world of color around us.

Another trick I always keep in my desk is a color wheel.  As simple as it is, my color wheel allows me to visualize what colors are where and what works with what. Artist Marc Chagall put it best “All colors are friends of their neighbors and the lovers of their opposites.” Friends are analogous colors and complementary colors are lovers. It’s a great way to be able to visualize colors even if we have the color wheel memorized, just having that visual guide helps when seeing what works best.

My last and favorite tip is to use color swatches, specifically Pantone swatches. A digital color wheel on our design apps sometimes just doesn’t cut it and to be honest, blends a lot together for me. Being able to see each Pantone color and be more exact I think helps with designing in general. Besides looking up my Pantone swatches on my Adobe Suite, I also have a full physical copy of a coated and uncoated Pantone color bridge that comes in very handy when I want to show clients some colors off a screen.

I hope these few simple tricks helped when you’re designing with color on your next project!