Tired of using the same color schemes over and over again? Adobe has an innovative and easy and FREE website with a great color utility called Kuler that generates color schemes. You do have to be using the current version of the free Flash Player plugin, but its well worth the few minutes it takes to upgrade your outdated plugin.
Here is a quick guide to creating your own schemes with Kuler. It’s so easy that it makes all those hours spent in college color theory classes seem wasteful.
Your “central command” looks like this. Your first step is to choose a “Rule” basically how you want your colors to relate.
Here’s a quick reminder on the types of color schemes:
Analogous color schemes use colors that are adjacent to each other. Play around a bit and you’ll be surprised at the endless variations
Monochromatic color schemes use different tints and shades of the same color. I recommend adding white and black to create a striking color scheme.
Triad schemes use colors that are equal distance apart on the color wheel. The best way to have these colors relate is to use variations of saturation.
Complementary Color schemes have colors directly across the color wheel. These color schemes offer contrast,but are often hard to harmonize.
Compound Colors are similar to a “Split Complementary Scheme”. Create beautiful and unique relationships from all around the color wheel.
Once you choose your type of color scheme. The Second Step is to start with a “base color.” This would be the color that you want to build your whole color scheme around. The wheel will automatically formulate colors that relate to your base color. This image shows a “Triad Rule” where I set the base color as a warm yellow:
Kuler filled in the rest of the colors automatically, what a beautiful color scheme! And All I did was choose “Triad” and the color of yellow. Genius!
If you’re not happy with the colors the Third Step is to try other “Rules.” As you change between rules, you will be able to see how your base color reacts in all the different color scheme types. This is really fun and gives you a good base to further customize if you choose.
The Fourth Step is to alter colors independently but still within the “Rules” of your color scheme.
Play around with the dots on the color wheel to see how your color scheme changes. There is also a bar underneath the color wheel. This bar controls the Saturation of each individual color. Simply click on the color you want to change and then slide the arrow — left for less saturation, right for more saturation. This move should not alter any of the colors in the set since it is not changing your “Hue” (color)
You can also fine tune the color with the color controls beneath each color. However Doing so may alter other colors in the set because the program wants to stay true to the “rule” that you’re working with.
If you get to the point where you feel as though your color scheme is *almost perfect* and the rules are not letting you tweak just one or two colors perfectly, go ahead and move to the Fifth Step which is using Kuler’s “Custom” rule.
Under the custom rule, you’ll be able to individually fine tune each and every color to your liking as I’ve done here:
Once you’re done, you can save your color schemes, share them, and copy the color values into whatever program you are using. Kuler is definitely worth checking out and best of all its free to use!
Jen Allyson *The Project Girl*