4 Tools to Make Your Designs Pop and How To Pic The Right Colors

Before you embark on your next logo, website, brochure, business card, or painting a house for that matter, bookmark and read our guide. You will thank us later (maybe). Choosing colors can be confusing and very time consuming but there is a methodical approach that can help you execute your next design project with confidence and efficiency. At the end of this short article, I included the best free tools, discounts to incredible design platforms (no Photoshop Ninja skills required) and included two tools to use as the Color Calculator and the Adobe.com Color Wheel.  This will help you explore creative color options for your project. Start with a base color (search industry specific colors for a few helpful tips), choose a color harmony, and get your design on!. You’ll get a report of the hex, RGB, and CMYK color values for your project and see your colors applied to design samples. It’s that simple! Let’s get started!


What are color rules?

Color rules help guide our decisions when picking color’s that naturally balance well together and harmonize for an aesthetically appealing and well composed design. The process normally involves picking a base color, choosing a harmony rule (such as ‘complementary colors” or “monochromatic”, and using something like a color wheel tool to generate you hex color numbers to set as your default colors for your project. This makes it easy to keep a consistent and clean design across all media. As part of our plans, we include branding guidelines to make this easy so you can easily give designers, advertisers, or creators the guidelines for your brand! Remember, consistency builds trust, credibility, and your design will evoke feelings, negative or positive, so don’t take any shortcuts here!

Analogous Colors

There are basically three main types of color palettes to consider when starting your project. 1. Analogous, where colors are near by on the color wheel such as a the image below with purple, blue, and teal. This can sometimes get confusing when comparing it to a monochromatic color palette but we’ll explain the differences.
start with two to three colors to use throughout your website here is an monochromatic color palette (source: Adobe)

Complementary Colors

You will notice that for these examples, we are using the same base color to help illustrate the different attributes of different color palettes. Each color palette was made with the same blue as the base. 2. Complementary colors, which refers to colors located on opposite ends of the color wheel. Thing about when you look at the stock color palette choices in Microsoft Office – these colors are all different buy they are complementary so they still work well together. Here’s an example:
start with two to three colors to use throughout your website here is an complimentary color palette

Triad Color Palette

In Triad color rules, you the spokes of the color wheel are evenly spread around the color wheel

triad color palette

Monochromatic Colors

Lastly, this next color palette is a great place to start if you have a base color picked out but are stuck there. This is the 3. Monochromatic colors where the color scheme uses only one color but changes the lightness and darker shades of the color to give it a clean and modern look. Remember, less is more and you can’t go wrong starting with this color harmony! Example below:
start with two to three colors to use throughout your website here is an monochromatic color palette

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The Square color palette can be observed below. This is really only recommended when your using one strong dominate color.  
The Compound color palette is similar to the complimentary but uses its adjacent colors instead.  At this point you should start to see a pattern of how color palettes are made and why they work together.  Finally, the Custom color palette is just as the name implies – custom!  You are not bound by the dials of the color wheel, color hex codes, CMYK numbers, Pantone Colors of the Year, or anything else.  This can come out really unique and wonderful or a complete disaster.  I prefer to stick with the color rules described above.

One of the best free tools and to use (and a leading authority on all things design) is Adobe.com.  There tool is very useful in experimenting with the different color rules or color palettes and they also have a very neat feature to help individuals that are color blind.  How do you test your color palette so that it’s color blind friendly?  Do so right here:  color.adobe.com Color Blind Save
*Color Blind Safe Check

Color like many design element, less is more. pictured here are 3 different color pallets with complimentary and monochromatic

Adobe's Color Wheel - Free Tool to help you pick the right colors

Visit color  adobe.com and experiment with advanced tools to get a professional look and enhance your brand.

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