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Creating custom swatches

From: Illustrator for Web Design

Video: Creating custom swatches

As you continue to work with clients in your web design business, chances are they are going to be throwing assets at you left and right, especially when it comes to color. Inevitably, you will get something sent to you by a client that was clipped out of a magazine or scanned into their computer, or even like me, someone once sent me the patch off of a hat that I had to sample colors from in order to create a logo. It was crazy. So as you start to get these assets into Illustrator, we need to learn how to sample those colors, and turn them into usable swatches which we can then share with other designers and other applications to use a consistent color palette across the board.

Creating custom swatches

As you continue to work with clients in your web design business, chances are they are going to be throwing assets at you left and right, especially when it comes to color. Inevitably, you will get something sent to you by a client that was clipped out of a magazine or scanned into their computer, or even like me, someone once sent me the patch off of a hat that I had to sample colors from in order to create a logo. It was crazy. So as you start to get these assets into Illustrator, we need to learn how to sample those colors, and turn them into usable swatches which we can then share with other designers and other applications to use a consistent color palette across the board.

In this movie, I'll be exploring how to create those custom swatches and also how to save them out as an .ase file, or Adobe Swatch Exchange file, for use in other applications. So I've got this file open here, and let's say that this color strip was sent to me by a client. They copied it out of the magazine. They just put some things on paper, scanned it in, and sent it to me. So here it is! And so what I need to do is get these swatches into my Swatches panel and then I need to be able to save those out in order to use them in other applications and share them with other people in my workgroup. So the first thing I'm going to do is start sampling the colors with the Eyedropper tool.

So I'm just going to hit the letter I on my keyboard, and that's instantly going to give me the Eyedropper tool. Then I'm simply going to move right here and click, and that's going to automatically set my fill color to the color that I click on. So, once I have that done, I can come over here into my Swatches panel--and I'll actually drag it out so you can see it--and I'm going to click on the New Swatch icon, just like so. And once I do that, I'm just going to name this Client Dark Purple. Hit OK. There it saves it right there. If I hover over that color, it says Client Dark Purple.

Sample this, create a new swatch, Client Blue Green. Hit OK. It adds that in. I always hover over these, just to make sure that it's getting them correct. Sample the next, Client Light Yellow, hit OK; sample this one, Client Burnt Orange, hit OK. And then finally, this one is just white, but I'm going to sample it anyway, just in case there's any values that I don't see in there. Client White.

And each time I'm creating this new swatch, I'm careful to make sure that my Color Type is set to Process and that my Color mode is always on RGB, because when we are working with the web, we want to work in RGB color. So I hit OK. So once I do that, it's going to add it up there. I can always move it. I just click and drag it down to these right here. If I want these in their own color group, that's easy to do. I'll just come here, create a new color group, and I'll call this Client Swatches, and I'm going to hit OK. Now it threw a color in there for me already. What I'm going to do now is just remove that.

Then I'll come here and select each one of these by Shift+Clicking, and then I'll drag them down and I'll just put them right next to the group. And I'll undo that so you can see exactly how I did this again. I'm going to select, hold down Shift, and then I'm going to drag these down, and watch the little blue line that appears right next to the folder. It's hard to see with my mouse in the way, but once I see that little blue line appear, I let it go, and there we go. Now, I can select the group, and it selects all of them just by clicking the folder, and then I can save this out as an Adobe Swatch Exchange file. So in order to do that, what I'm going to do is get rid of all the colors that I'm not using currently.

So I'm just going to come here, hold down Shift, and go all the way to the top, like this, and click to get rid of all these colors. I'll just trash them out, just like so. So now I've got only my color group left. And I'll go to the right-hand side of the Panel menu, and I'm going to go down to Save Swatch Library as ASE, Adobe Swatch Exchange. I'll put this on to my desktop, and I'm just going to call this Swatches.ase and hit Save. It's going to warn me that swatches containing gradients or patterns are not currently exchangeable, and that's okay.

These are all solid colors, so you have nothing to worry about here. I'll hit OK to that. And so now, I can close up this document because I've saved it out. I don't need it anymore. I can hit Don't Save. And I'll create a brand document. Let's say that I wanted to create a brand-new document for this client. You'll notice when I start this new document that none of those swatches I just created are available to me. I have to go down to this little library icon, go down to Other Library, navigate to my desktop, and you'll see swatches.ase down here at the bottom. I'll hit Open and instantly come in all of my swatches that I had before: Client Dark Purple, Blue Green, Light Yellow, Burnt Orange, and Client White.

So all of those are now available to me anytime I need them in any application that supports ASE files, whether that be Photoshop, Indesign, Illustrator, whatever. So the next time a client sends you some sort of wacky color combination, now you should be able to sample those colors, turn them into swatches, and then export them out for use in other applications or to distribute across your workgroup.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator for Web Design
Illustrator for Web Design

67 video lessons · 26075 viewers

Justin Seeley
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 13s
    1. Welcome
      50s
    2. Using the exercise files
      23s
  2. 43m 51s
    1. Designing for screens
      1m 57s
    2. Decoding screen size and resolution
      2m 40s
    3. Exploring the Illustrator to HTML workflow
      3m 42s
    4. Setting up Illustrator for web work
      6m 55s
    5. Creating a new document for web
      6m 25s
    6. Creating a new document for mobile
      3m 31s
    7. Using artboards for responsive layouts
      7m 42s
    8. Creating email newsletter documents
      4m 31s
    9. Working with Pixel Preview and anti-aliasing
      6m 28s
  3. 25m 28s
    1. Adjusting color settings
      6m 47s
    2. Understanding web color
      3m 47s
    3. Creating a color palette
      5m 4s
    4. Creating custom swatches
      4m 50s
    5. Working with fills and strokes
      5m 0s
  4. 13m 15s
    1. Exploring the Layers panel
      5m 21s
    2. Renaming and grouping layers
      7m 54s
  5. 24m 5s
    1. Drawing simple shapes
      4m 16s
    2. Working with Pathfinder
      5m 4s
    3. Using the Shape Builder tool
      4m 33s
    4. Creating symbols
      6m 24s
    5. Editing and replacing symbols
      3m 48s
  6. 20m 22s
    1. Planning your project
      2m 56s
    2. Using guides and rulers
      5m 56s
    3. Developing a layout with shapes
      6m 21s
    4. Using a grid system
      5m 9s
  7. 25m 53s
    1. Exploring the rules of typography
      4m 1s
    2. Using text as text vs. using text as an image
      3m 37s
    3. Understanding web-safe fonts
      1m 46s
    4. Creating and using paragraph styles
      5m 16s
    5. Creating and using character styles
      3m 2s
    6. Simulating the CSS box model
      8m 11s
  8. 21m 17s
    1. Understanding object appearance
      4m 43s
    2. Applying and editing live effects
      3m 34s
    3. Creating and using drop shadows
      3m 13s
    4. Creating more flexible rounded rectangles
      3m 17s
    5. Saving appearance as graphic styles
      6m 30s
  9. 35m 57s
    1. Starting with a wireframe
      5m 23s
    2. Adding master elements
      6m 45s
    3. Creating navigation buttons
      13m 34s
    4. Working with photographs
      5m 50s
    5. Simulating pages with artboards
      4m 25s
  10. 54m 45s
    1. Creating video placeholders
      10m 33s
    2. Creating buttons
      13m 1s
    3. Creating form fields
      8m 15s
    4. Creating radio boxes and checkboxes
      5m 11s
    5. Creating progress bars
      10m 12s
    6. Creating tabbed interfaces
      7m 33s
  11. 35m 28s
    1. Understanding slicing
      3m 26s
    2. Slicing up a mockup
      3m 6s
    3. Understanding web file formats
      5m 33s
    4. Exploring the Save for Web dialog
      3m 50s
    5. Optimizing photographs
      4m 29s
    6. Optimizing transparent graphics
      4m 43s
    7. Saving Retina display graphics
      3m 46s
    8. Exporting SVG graphics
      6m 35s
  12. 9m 29s
    1. Understanding image sprites
      3m 4s
    2. Creating a sprite grid
      4m 36s
    3. Optimizing sprites for the web
      1m 49s
  13. 15m 29s
    1. Placing Illustrator Smart Objects
      3m 22s
    2. Sharing color swatches between apps
      2m 9s
    3. Exporting Illustrator artwork as a PSD
      3m 49s
    4. Importing artwork into Fireworks
      2m 41s
    5. Exporting HTML from Illustrator
      3m 28s
  14. 1m 19s
    1. Taking the next step
      1m 1s
    2. Goodbye
      18s

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