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Hello, my name is Jesse Wingert and I am the graphic designer and creative guy behind WordPress Now. I’m here to share a little bit of my secrets – if you will – about where to get some inspiration when it comes to making a color scheme for your website.

First, I do want to take a few steps backwards and just mention that this post is really for anyone, regarding any type of project – WordPress or otherwise. When us creative folk are developing a website, a new WordPress blog, an artsy picture, or even choosing which colors to use in our new living room, we need to come up with a color scheme. Color schemes work for several different purposes…

They work firstly as a very crucial piece of your product or company branding. Almost every successful company has established itself a set of colors that people immediately recognize and associate with that company. Google uses blue, red, yellow and green. McDonalds used red and yellow. The popular soda company, Pepsi, uses red, blue and sometimes a variation of grey. At WP Now, we use a mixture of dark grey and a few bright colors like teal, pink, and lime green, and these colors are involved with every aspect of our company. We use them with our logo, website, our business cards, t-shirts and anything else we can think of.

If you are starting a new company or website, it would be a good idea to create a color scheme that is unique to your target market. We all know that Microsoft primarily uses a greenish-yellow color for their Xbox brand. If you were to create an Xbox website, how much sense would it make to engulf it with red? Absolutely none. 😛 On top of that, the colors you choose need to go well with each other and be fluent. But, you may ask yourself how to create the perfect color scheme. Well the answer is quite simple… you need to experiment.

There are a handful of useful tools that are at your disposal. Without knowing about these tools, you would spend a lot of time experimenting in a graphic program such as Adobe Photoshop. However, going with my advice and using these tools will make your life easier and take some strain off of the creative part of your brain. So before you dive into the creation of your project, check out the tools listed below:


COLOURlovers
http://colourlovers.com
The name of the website says it all! COLOURlovers is catered to design professionals who want to expose the colors, color palettes, and patterns that they have created. Not only does this website help people show-off their montages of colors and patterns, but it can also be used to help those in need of inspiration. Just browse around the palette section for a bit and you will see a vast combination of colors, many of which work very well with each other. Take the color palette Lime Moda Stripe for example… Before going to COLOURlovers, I’ve never seen these colors together before. They work very well with each other, and would build a great color scheme for a new website or business. And if you get bored with browsing through all of the palettes and colors, try to create your own.

Another thing about COLOURlovers that tickles my fancy is the names. Some people give hilarious and ridiculous names to their creations. Like… how did they get the name “chicken” out of colors that mainly come from a hunter’s camouflage? No one knows, I am sure. Though the color scheme is horribly ugly to my eyes, the name does make me chuckle, and there are plenty more on COLOURlovers that do the same.


Color Scheme Designer
http://colorschemedesigner.com/
This website proves that there is a slight science to creating a group of colors that fit nicely with each other. If you have ever taken an art course in school or college, then you’ve probably learned about color combinations that follow some pre-set rules. Mono, complimentary, triad, tetrad, analogic, and accented analogic are all based on certain rules that the Color Scheme Designer uses to generate a workable color scheme for you. All you have to do is choose a base color from the color wheel, choose what type of combination you want to generate, and the scheming tool does the rest.

If you are feeling a bit more advanced, then you can also adjust the saturation, brightness, and contrast of the color scheme. This handy tool provides you with all of the hex values for each color used, and also has useful examples of what the scheme would look like on a live website.


Flickr
http://flickr.com
Flickr is an image hosting website that is loaded with an abundance of… wait for it… images! The majority of these images were taken by professionals in the field of photography and wow, does it ever show. For artsy/creative people like myself, Flickr can provide you with images that are full of color. This doppelganger photograph is simple and colorful, using colors that suggest spring-time. And this Long Branched image only proves that a contrast of dark and bright colors go exceptionally well together. I suggest walking down your own path of images and exploring something that stands out to you. If you find something that you like, try to incorporate the colors within the image in your color scheme.


So there you have it… My secret stash of color resources are available for the world to use. (Even though they have always been there.) But now you know about them, and now you are free to create the world’s best color schemes for whatever you need it for. Enjoy!