How to Select and Use Color. Part 4 in a 4 Part Color Series

So, you have a project and you are ready to go but you can't decide on a color palette. What do you do?

Do you surf online? Do you stroll through shops and look at existing merchandise? Do you look at past work, magazines, watch TV?

Color can be wonderful and overwhelming at the same time.

Here are 5 go-to tips and tools for selecting and combining colors. See if any of them can help you.

1. The Voice of Color® Color Game offers you your own personal set of colors for all the design elements in your room or space. All you do is answer a few questions and select images that resonate with you.This is geared more towards interior colors you personally might like to be surrounded by but I figure if they are colors you like, you will enjoy creating with them. I played the game a few times and it was very accurate for my personal color preferences. CLICK HERE to try The Voice of Color® ColorGame.

2.Adobe has a really useful online tool called Adobe Kuler Color selector. You can create color schemes with the color wheel or browse thousands of color combinations from the Kuler community. It is set up to automatically create combinations based on your selection of a color rule. That way you don't even have to know color theory! It does it for you. CLICK HERE to try Adobe Kuler

3. Coolors was a fun, free color palette generator that I enjoyed using and will incorporate into my design arsenal. It has a quick tutorial that explains how to use all of the features and save your combinations. I really liked the over sized color swatches. I was able to easily and quickly generate some color combinations that excited me. They also have a page with existing color combinations from other users. CLICK HERE to try Coolors.

4. Pinterest is a great place to discover and save new color combinations. There is a never ending supply of inspirational color palettes for all of your creative, design projects. Just search keywords (like seasonal, feminine, vibrant, neutral) along with the words "color palettes" and see what you discover. It's also a great place to create color stories and inspiration boards. I can spend way too much time on there! To see some of my favorite color combinations, CLICK HERE to follow me on Pinterest.

5. Lastly, a great option is taking a course in the study of color theory. There are many online workshops or you can check your local community college if you prefer to learn in person. A little basic knowledge can really help build your confidence where color combining is concerned. There are also books and color wheel tools that you can find at your local art and craft store.

Do you have tools or tips on creating color palettes?

Until next week,

CLICK HERE to read part 1 in the color series
CLICK HERE to read part 2 in the color series
CLICK HERE to read part 3 in the color series

Ever Wonder Where Color Trends Begin? Part 3 in a 4 Part Color Series

There is a great scene in the movie The Devil Wears Prada where the character Miranda Priestly schools her new assistant on the lineage of color trends. It's a classic scene and really gives a peek into the truth about color trends in the fashion industry. CLICK HERE to see this entertaining video clip. 

In most industries, color trends are selected by a group of people.

I recently read about one such group where they explained their in depth process of selecting their paint color forecast for the year. They also introduced some of the members of their international group. I would love to be a fly on the wall during one of these sessions!

CLICK HERE to see a really interesting behind-the-scenes look at exactly how they created the PPG The Voice of Color® 2017 Color Trends.

For designers, the name PANTONE® is known worldwide as the standard language for color communication. Each year they release their color of the year with much fanfare.
CLICK HERE to visit their site. There is a wealth of information along with tools and training, all related to color. 

While these colors trends don't necessarily need to be followed exactly, they can serve as great  inspiration for your own color palettes. They will also give you an idea of what you might be seeing in stores in the future.

Until next week,

CLICK HERE to read part 1 in the color series
CLICK HERE to read part 2 in the color series

What's in a (Color) Name? Part 2 in a 4 Part Color Series

There is a funny graphic circulating social media right now that shows two people standing facing each other, separated by a vertical line of stacked multicolored dots.

On top of the person on the right it says "Normal People". On top of the person on the left it says "Artist". The "normal person" is pointing to the colors and lists the most obvious 7 colors…like red, purple, pink. The "artist" is pointing to the same multicolored dots and lists 29 colors…like maraschino, cayenne, maroon, plum, eggplant, grape, orchid…get the point? As the artist, I think it's very clever and true!

This brings me to color names and how they influence our preferences consciously or subconsciously.

Think about how different your gut reaction might be to the color
"pea green" as opposed to "spring meadow ",  just because of the name.

Would you get as excited over "dirt brown" (yes, this is an actual paint color name) as opposed to "toasty" or "down home" or "hickory" or "brunette"?

We are emotional beings and words and names can trigger memories or experiences. A simple word can conjure up a reaction and manufacturers know this.

Did you know that for some, this is their actual job? That’s what the do, they create the most fabulous and marketable names for colors. That goes for all industries from wall paint to nail polish.

I read an article that said when they started, OPI nail polish decided to go against the norm of other companies that named their colors in a more utilitarian way like red #37 and maroon #5. They chose instead, to take a more fun approach and name their polish colors after destinations they traveled to and landmarks they visited. Which would you choose…pink #27 or "Barefoot in Barcelona"?

Successful names spark a connection. It could be to a location, a time period, a feeling, a desire, etc. Whether the consumer realizes it or not, that connection can ultimately cause someone to make a choice between two or more items. 

Have you been drawn to a color simply because of a great, descriptive name?

Until next week,

CLICK HERE to read part 1 in the color series

The Personal Connection to Color, Part 1 in a 4 Part Color Series

Do you have a favorite color?  What is it about that color or color family that draws you to it? Is it a feeling or a memory? Is it just a gut reaction? Is it based on tradition or history?

On the flip side, do you have a color that you really dislike? Do you have a specific incident, thought or item connected to it that makes you dislike it? Or again, is it a gut reaction?

Color is so personal and the reality is that we all see colors differently based on our physiology and experiences. What might look like one color to you might be described in a completely different way by someone else.

There is also a Psychology to color. We see color based on our experiences and surroundings. When you grew up, where you live, what you eat and wear, it all influences the way you process color.

Below is an example of how color is used in marketing and company branding. It is a strong science and there is a lot of importance placed on finding just the right color combinations based on the action or response the business wants.

Colors are chosen deliberately to cause a reaction…usually for you to make a purchase and specific colors are very important for brand recognition.

Do you find yourself thinking of certain businesses based on color combinations?

It's funny because it seems like ice cream shops use a lot of pastel colors in their branding…and in particular pink. Where I live, there is a local business that uses that iconic pastel pink in their branding but instead of selling ice cream and sherbet, they clean and service porta-potties! A VERY different business and yet every time I see their sign I think of ice cream!

Do you agree with the emotional link to the colors in the image below?
You can CLICK HERE to visit the blog post that this image came from. They provide a simple but comprehensive look into the psychology of colors.

I think it's kind of fun to notice my reaction to color throughout the day. I am organically drawn towards all shades of orange and tend to see those items first. For some reason I seem to see items in shades of blue, last.

Pay attention to what you are naturally drawn to. You might be surprised how often you automatically pass over certain colors. Sometimes I have to force myself to "see" specific colors so that I can step out of my comfort zone and expand my color palette.

Until next week,