Color has always been an important element in marketing. Not only have studies proved that the colors associated with a brand or product have a tangible effect on the behavior of consumers, color all quickly become associated with brands to the point where consumers can barely think of the product without thinking of the color, too.
Imagine an IKEA that isn’t blue and yellow.
Or a UPS van that isn’t brown.
Or a bottle of Coca-Cola that isn’t black with a red label.
The colors a company chooses to represent their brand are therefore incredibly important in developing that brand’s image. For online marketers who have not much more than a few seconds to convince a visitor to click through to their site and convert them into a customer, color choice is essential.
But how can you choose the right color scheme for your site? And how can you avoid making an error that will cost you sales, traffic, and perhaps your profitability?
In this post we’ll outline five sites and tools that you can use to create the perfect color palette for your website.
ColourLovers is more than just a site – it’s a community.
Community members can submit their personal color palettes to the site and others can ‘love’, ‘favorite’, comment on, and share those palettes. For a community member or a web designer, browsing ColourLovers presents thousands of options for products, content, and entire websites. Every palette includes the Hex and RGB codes for the colors included making it easy to add to your favorite design or creativity suite. All of the color palettes come labelled with their reuse and copyright details, so if something is commercially protected or, alternatively, free for commercial use, you’ll see it listed right up front.
Here are a couple of our favorite palettes from ColourLovers:
Design Seeds is a great site for picturing how your colors can work together on a screen. Not only are the color palettes provided but the inspiration for the palettes are provided, too. In a sense, by providing the inspiration for the palette and explaining how the palette came to be, Design Seeds allows even the amateur website designer to take a glimpse inside the mind of an artist. Jessica, the woman behind Deign Seeds, explains her prices thus:
“Design Seeds celebrate colors found in nature and the aesthetic of purposeful living. I am particularly obsessed with flowers, crops, produce, and the countryside which surround me here in Wisconsin. Being a supporter of buying local, I find much of my inspiration at farmers’ markets and farm stands. Beginning in art school and throughout my design career, I have created palettes while collecting inspiration in journals.”
Here are a couple of our favorite Design Seeds palettes:
Color Peek is a little bit different to Design Seeds and ColourLovers.
Color Peek is not the site you go to in order to fin inspiration for your own color choices. Instead, it is an extension that you install on your Chrome browser so that when you see a site online that you like, a color scheme that makes you whisper ‘wow’, or an image that captures your perfect color…well, perfectly, you can grab all the details and get to work. Using it is easy. Simply click over to the site, click to install the extension, and then start browsing the web. When you find something that you like you can either select it (text, and image, part of a site) and click the extension icon, or just click the icon and get all the colors on the page.
Here’s an example from the Kiva.org homepage.
And here’s the color palette that Color Peek generates in just a little more than a second:
Pictaculous is another tool for generating color palettes. Instead of selecting a website as with Color Peek, you simply upload an image and Pictaculous generates a palette for you.
Pictaculous is a great tool when you have a starting point but not much more. Maybe you have an image of your product, a front page of an ebook you’ve written, or a logo – whatever image you have, you’ll be able to generate a color palette broad enough to construct an entire site.
Using Pictaculous is ridiculously easy. Simply navigate to the site, upload your image, and – voila! – in just a few seconds your image has been transformed into a color palette. What’s more, Pictaculous offers links to Kuler and ColorLovers palettes that are similar to the native palette; this gives you even more options from the single image you upload.
Try an example: here’s the Pictaculous result for the same Kiva homepage screenshot above:
Note the Pictaculous palette at the top and center, then ten additional palettes to give you some food or thought from Kumer and ColourLovers below. If you have a starting point, Pictaculous might be the only tool you need.
We started this post with ColourLovers and Design Seeds, two sites that offered pre-made palettes for you to download. If you had a little more inspiration or an image to use as a starting point, then Color Peek and Pictaculous would be the place to start. If you are the sort of person who wants to start from scratch and create from nothing, then Color Blender is the place to go.
Click through to the Color Blender website and you’ll see the series of sliders below:
At the outset the color swatches are all black, but play with the sliders and choose a base color you’re happy with and the magic starts to happen. Here, for example, I entered the RGB details of one of the colors in that Kiva homepage:
Once generated, the palette can be downloaded in various formats, including EPS for Adobe Illustrator.
If you’re comfortable working with colors or if you are willing to play with the sliders to find the perfect shade, this is the tool for you.
Choosing the right colors for your product, logo, and web presence is important, but there are plenty of tools to help you along the way. Whether you’re starting from nowhere and looking for an entire palette, starting from a logo and looking to complement the corporate branding you’ve already established, or willing to start from scratch and create something truly unique, the five tools above will help you to meet your goals and market your brand more effectively online.
Do you have a favorite color palette tool? Let us know on Twitter!