Color Scheme Designer Inspiration from Art & Design

Color scheme creation can be tricky.  The job of any good graphic artist is to also be the color scheme designer and coordinator for websites, programmers, and clients. Adobe Kuler, which we discussed earlier is one tool for creating website schemes. However it does have weaknesses like limiting you to five color swatches. At Austin Web Design we utilize Kuler as well as other methods of color scheme in our design process.  Another, more old fashioned, way of choosing a color scheme that is popular among fine artists, fashion and interior designers, as well as graphics specialists is to draw inspiration from artists and their work, fashion, and even your surroundings.

Thanks to the magic of Photoshop making web ready color scheme swatches is as simple as taking a picture, uploading it to Photoshop, and using the eyedropper tool.



Frida Kahlo based color scheme
Artists aren't afraid of color.

Here we have this picture of Frida Kahlo from Google. This image has great color scheming. Notice the bold, complementary colors, yellow highlights, and pastel accents. I would love to incorporate these colors into a scheme for a website. We are going to take 5 colors but there are thousands to choose from in a website

First you draw a swatch shape from the vector shapes tool. Now you have two color choice selection areas. You can either use the fill selection in the top task bar or the side color panel. When you double click on the fill color you can hold the cursor over an area of the image and the eyedropper tool will appear and you can select which color from the image you desire your swatch to be.
















Alternatively you can create all the swatches before hand and save them in the swatches panel and even save your color scheme for later. I have done that here and named all my swatches with the prefix Frida.




Here are some other color schemes I have created based on fall fashion trends and a well designed home from Apartment Therapy.  First we have an outfit with colors I love from Diane Von Furstenberg’s fall collection. When considering drawing inspiration from fashion remember to consider the surroundings and the makeup of the model into your color scheme! That is where I got the smoky blue and purple that makes this work. The fashion designer considered their makeup as part of the color scheme of their clothes, so don’t leave it out when paying homage with your design.

diane von furstenberg fall 2012 color scheme
Diane Von Furstenberg is known for her use of color and pattern.

For the apartment I chose six colors that referenced the mix of warm and modern colors. The important thing about this image is you can also draw inspiration for textures. There are tons of great textures to use in this image! There is a natural wood grain, sleek modern metals, tiles, wire grating, basket weaving, and even the textile patterns. When you create a website such textures can really bump your site design level above the rest.

Try looking at the world as inspiration for design. Carry a journal for quick notes or create a Pinterest board for ideas to incorporate.  There are even apps for your smart phone that allow you to take a photo of a color you love in real life and get the HEX and RGB codes for use on websites. Good luck and happy designing!

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