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Colors 101
Picking colors for your website

 12:43 pm on May 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

OK, I know that some colors look good together, and some colors don't... But how do you know which ones look good together??

I've got a website that I want to build with a green toolbar (#336600). I am having a hard time trying to find colors that will look good with that green. You know, I need a different color for some subheadings, and action words, ect... I'm looking at an HTML color wheel, and it all looks very nice, but I'm still not sure how to pick colors that look good together...



 1:09 pm on May 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

You could try this link: http://www.colorschemer.com/online/ [colorschemer.com].

It is an online colour scheme generator. You do need to input the RGB value for your primary colour, and it will thne output 15 colours that "go well" with your colour.

A handy little online utility, and it should give you a start on how to choose colours that go well together.

OK, I know that some colors look good together, and some colors don't... But how do you know which ones look good together??

I think that this is something that you need to have an aptitude for. You can learn the principles of colour associations etc. But I believe that at the end of the day you need the creative eye and flair to do this well. Practice always helps though!


 1:17 pm on May 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

There's also a nice free little utility that sits on the desktop called Eyedropper. It picks up color from a single pixel and gives both the hexadecimal and RGB values. It's handy because if you see a color you like or a site that has a good color combination you can find out the colors and make up little palette swatches for yourself in your graphics program to save for future reference.


 5:13 pm on May 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

There's a link somewhere around here to an old About.com site with a bunch of three-color "ready made" color schemes...


HERE it is: [webmasterworld.com...]
Lots of good color links in that thread. :)


 3:11 pm on May 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

... But how do you know which ones look good together??

1. Go the rules route (the color geek approach). First you need the right color wheel. Order of colors should be same as sunlight through a prism (Red/Orn/Yel/Grn/Cyn/Blu/Vio). I think one with 24 hues is good. Then you can use that to figure (roughly) degrees around the 360 degree wheel. 180 degress apart for complements (opposites), 120 degrees for "harmonic" thirds ("triads") etc. (these are not really harmonics, as the actual first harmonic of red is way above the visible spectrum). Kind of like a musical approach.

Then apply color scheme principles like: Mixes of compliments look good, with the direct compliment as a tiny (nearly "clashing") accent.
Example: Yellow and Violet mixed make some nice warm browns that go well with Violet. Then a tiny bit of Yellow makes a nice accent.

Another (usability) principal. Web colors should have different values ("brightnesses"): Yellow is the lightest valued color, Violet is the darkest (see thread on color-blindness).

2. Look for examples and copy them. I like to look at flower blossoms (really) as examples of wonderful color schemes. Or check magazines and web sites.

3. Get trained. Take a color class at your local Junior College design or art department.

4. Build your skills. The more you work with color schemes, the more you'll get a feel for the ones that work to the purpose you want.

Of course, there are no color schemes that are always right, because sometimes you want to shock people, sometimes sooth them, etc.

Color can be a lot of fun!


 7:09 am on Jun 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

On a similar note to this discussion...

Does anyone know a good resource to finding out what colors affect what emotion or cultural association? i.e. Is it bad to use the color red on business sites becuase it may imply that the company is doing bad financially?


 11:08 am on Jun 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WebmasterWorld chew.
Try these



 12:02 pm on Jun 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

Some very nice and extremely interesting articles in those links... thanks Korkus.


 4:41 pm on Jun 18, 2002 (gmt 0)


I've seen you post many (many, many, many) a (useful) links. I'm curious to see your favorites folder in IE. If you have a good (organized) favorites folder would you consider sharing that?

[edited by: OhMyPixel at 7:06 pm (utc) on June 18, 2002]


 5:21 pm on Jun 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

Posting an entire favorites folder would probably be a bit beyond WebmasterWorld's link posting guidelines (they may be fuzzy, but they do have their limits ;) ). Perhaps, if Korkus were inclined to share, you could communicate via stickymail about it?

I know tedster has posted some great material on cultural color association around the forums... but the general consensus in those threads always seems to be that there are too many variations to make a one-size-fits-all site, and in many cultures traditional color associations are becoming less important to the younger internet-savvy generations.

[edited by: mivox at 6:29 pm (utc) on June 18, 2002]


 6:23 pm on Jun 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

There are not many colors that go well together in the formerly websafe pallette, using a broader color selection helps.


 2:07 pm on Jun 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

> You could try this link: [colorschemer.com...] <

Good link that one.
Tried it for one site and loved the results,lots that I had not thought of.

Tried it for another and yuk no way I am going to let those colours go together on a business site.

I guess the initial choice of comparison colour is vital. Hope most businesses think hard before creating odd coloured logos if their webmasters will use this software.



 2:57 pm on Jun 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

Mark_A & all...
I want to create a better color scheme program, but I'm not that good a code slinger.
Any programmers want to talk about a joint venture to produce a really good color scheme program?

Seems to be a market and the program mentioned above is the only one I've been able to find.

Sticky mail me if so. I can do the color part and most of the program design and a web site.


 3:04 pm on Jun 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

JayCee interesting but I can't afford to get involved with anything I don't get paid for :-) have enough of those that are not gettig done already.

Anyhow programmings not my stong point (by any means :-) at the moment.

Know a few who do and will bear it in mind when I speak to them next.

All the best.

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