Learn about some easy-to-use tools on the web to help create sophisticated color palettes. Also learn about which color combinations to avoid and why.
- Before we talk about tools that will help you create a workable color palette, let's cover a few basic don'ts when it comes to color combinations. There are a few basic color combinations that should be avoided at all costs due to accessibility and other medical reasons. First off never mix bright red and bright blue. This combination can be nasty for photosensitive individuals. Even in perfectly healthy individuals, this combination can cause eye strain quickly.
Likewise you want to avoid red and green, which is the most common form of color blindness. It's at this point I'd like to remind you that these dangerous colors appear in the Standard Colors area of Power Point. So once again I strongly recommend you avoid using the colors in this bar. This bar is bad. And speaking of red. Red text is almost never a good idea. When projected something happens to that color in a live setting.
For webinar or recorded presentations, depending on the context in the background, you might be able to get away with a red arrow or circle but red text? That's never a good idea. In fact when it comes to text, you always want high contrast with the background. There's a wonderful web-based tool out there to help check for contrast: WebAIM.org's Contrast Checker. You can enter in the foreground color and background color to see if your text meets basic accessibility requirements.
But overall you want your text to be readable and legible. In fact text should be as simple as possible. No weird gradients. No bevels. No trendy hairline fonts and of course, no red text. All of these choices when projected just fail miserably even on super large screens. Don't believe me? Just ask Microsoft. In many circumstances this slide here would be legible in a small board room or presented to an individual on a webinar.
This slide would be fine except in this environment. That's why environment is such an important design pillar. So what do we do? Well aside from those don'ts, if you are in a position where you have to create your own color palettes and don't want to spend time researching color theory, there are a few websites and tools that can help you create color palettes. This is color.adobe.com which is a great tool for creating color palettes following some of the more complex color rules.
Here using this website you can switch between using analogous, monochromatic, triad, complementary, compound, shades, or even enter in your own custom colors. Or if you scroll down towards the very bottom, you can choose the option Create From Image and select an image which will pull in colors from that image. You can move these little tools around and really get specific from where in that image you are pulling those colors from.
Another website is colour.lovers.com. Here you can create your own account and save palettes, patterns, and colors or just browse through the palettes and patterns that others have created recently. I go here a lot to browse their latest trends. Here they grab the colors from popular websites, magazines, and company logos from around the web. There's a lot of great stuff here, so be sure to check this site out.
Or even without those online tools, Power Point has its own tools that can help. We can build our own presentation colors from this example flyer easily using just the color picker in Power Point. Or take a look at your own environment and pull colors from around you or in nature using the tools I've mentioned to help make them all go together. In the next movie I'll be showing you the next step which is taking these colors and turning them into a usable color palette or theme in Power Point so stay tuned.
- Designing as non-designers
- Key design components
- The need for hierarchy
- Hierarchy in bulleted slides
- When bullets are cognitively necessary
- Using space effectively
- Creating similarity and contrast strategically