DESIGN HOW-TO: Choosing Color (for Designers)

The potential of color is unlimited: how do you choose just one scheme from infinite possibilities?
Below is one of our simple methods.

GET INSPIRED: we are often inspired by walks through nature and the sights and sounds of the forest.

IMAGES: search for images of your inspiration or take your own photographs. We opted to photograph physical samples of the plants that inspired us.

DIGITAL RESOURCES: Try Adobe Capture, Photoshop, or a variety of free online tools to pick, sort and analyze colors.

COLOR SELECTION: Give yourself freedom to explore and find the colors that speak to you. Select a variety of hues, tones, tints, shadows, and saturation to create interest. Most of all, have fun! We picked 13 colors and tones from our image. Apps provide color picking tools to sample from images. Or simply match color swatches by eye.

VISUALIZATION: Help yourself see the depth and breadth of your chosen colors.
Organizing and arranging colors by hue will allow the brain to make sense of the palette and begin to recognize groups and patterns.

THE EDIT: Too many colors may produce a design that lacks focus. Limit your scheme to 5 colors and pick shades that fit a particular “mood”. Try different moods to come up with a color scheme that feels right.

Challenge yourself to develop color palettes from the world around you, and you may be surprised by what you can create!

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