This Post Will Get You Color-Inspired!

What’s your favorite color? What color do you refuse to wear? What were your school colors? Your team colors? What color is your car?

And what color makes you buy? For winter 2011, color firms predicted a bright red-orange. Fashion followed the tip, just as they did two years ago with yellow and gray; the year before that with layers of purple; and the year before that with peacock blue.

The reason that color is so commercialized is that it is undeniably compelling. Color is one of the sharpest tools in a designer’s toolbox. Smart palette choices can boost your designs’ appeal and coordinate it with your clients’ taste. Better still, daring color choices make your work original and iconic. If you can stray from the day’s hues with aplomb, your work will always stand out.

Here are a few ways to enhance your color literacy and get excited about palettes.

Study the Field

Inscope Arch

Though the iconoclast in you might balk at the fashion industry’s forced entrainment to seasonal palettes, there are practical reasons for falling into step. For example, if your textile design utilizes a popular palette, it is more likely to match other items in a customer’s home. Blogs such as Colour Lovers make it easy to train your eye. Or try Color Collective, whose curator culls unusual but current palettes from fashion editorials.

Change One Thing; Add One Thing

russian red:they don't believe

If you’re trying to play nice with an established palette, you can still use color to stand out. What one color could you add or change to give your design a focal point without destroying the color harmony? As an exercise, try painting new swatches on busy origami paper.

Revisit Color Theory

622 - Rainbow - Seamless Texture

Remember the color wheel? This Tigercolor tutorial will jog your memory. How long has it been since you’ve tried out a split-complementary palette? See if you can think of one you like. How about a tetradic? Trying new harmonies with underutilized colors is a great way to pull out of a color rut.

Consider Human Factors

Seasons

You probably know what colors look best on you. If not, check out the classic fashion “Color Me Beautiful” – yes, with the dated cover but rock bottom cheap on Amazon. This book’s “seasons” palette classifications make for spurious color theory, but they endure because they work: People are attracted to colors that make them look nice. This book will supply you with palettes so dated that they’re coming back as well as a lot of food for thought. Bonus prize: cringeworthy 80’s makeup and fashion advice.

Keep a Color Journal

| my colors |

The Wear Palettes catalogs feature striking color harmonies drawn from street clothes. Though the Wear Palettes’ entries frequently echo the season’s ordained palettes, yours needn’t follow suit. Find some gouache and document the color schemes you meet. For a bit of extra fun, try recording them in a coloring book instead of a Moleskine.

Have Fun

Hands

Yes, it’s a cliche. But your colorwork doesn’t have to be. In both nature and design, color is meant to attract and appeal. If your revamped palette is making you happy, then you’re definitely on the right track.

This is a guest post by Aimee Sway, blogging for PrintExpress.co.uk, providing premiere printing services. Follow her on Twitter @PrintExpressUK and like on Facebook!

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  • sweet !

  • rod rodriguez

    This is really cool… I’ve always associated myself with dark and moody colors, finding myself lost lately. This roundup surely jogged a lot of the color cob webs in my head. Thanks!

  • Brett Widmann

    These photos have very beautiful uses of color. Thank you for sharing.