Color has always been a bit of an Achilles heel for me. At school I could always draw well but not paint to any real level of proficiency. And so it is when it comes to designing a web site – for me, finding the right color scheme is one of the hardest parts.
Occasionally, the right color palette comes together very naturally (it certainly helps if the client imposes certain constraints on you), but most of the time it is a time-intensive process of tweaking, modifying, and often starting again from scratch.
I’m always on the lookout for ideas for good color schemes and recently I happened to check out the web sites of paint manufacturers for ideas.
After all, choosing a color scheme for a web site has a lot in common with doing the same for the interior of a house.
They actually had a surprising range of resources. Here are some of the better ones I’ve come across.
Sherwin-Williams has a nice color trends section, which is currently showcasing their color trends for 2006.
They also have a 2005 color trend archive with more great color schemes.
Behr has a good site, with lots to offer in terms of color inspiration (although they don’t provide any specific color palettes). It’s well worth taking some time to explore.
They have an excellent color tool they call Color Smart which enables you to create a color scheme based on a starting color (which you can define as the main color or just an accent).
Here’s one I came up with using orange as a starting point:
And here’s one that used green to begin with:
Of course, there are a myriad of color scheme tools and sites available on the web. I’d be interested to know if anyone has personal favorites that they find particularly useful.
How do other color-challenged web designers come up with good color schemes? Surely not trial and error?!