Choosing colors for a design

Choosing colors is tricky, it really sets the tone for your designs. Every time I start a new design I approach the decision with a lot of excitement but a little apprehension as well. I feel like color adds this whole other level of implicit reads for a viewer. Does it feel masculine? Corporate? Will it scream or will it whisper when it’s in your hands? I suppose it comes from my personal awareness of how much color filters my appreciation of a design.

Here’s a couple of guidelines I try and keep in mind when I set a palette and I’ll illustrate it when this sample color palette. 


I try to stay at 5 colors or less. Any more and I feel like I’m looking at a fruit salad. I always try and choose a few colors that really distinguish my palette from the everday stuff people run into.


Balance the palette by keeping a neutral in play as well as choosing between warm and cool colors.

I then go about arranging them, testing them out in pairs. I try to assess which colors come to the foreground and which combinations seem easy on the eyes. I also note which ones should never be paired together.

I designate a couple of pairs as my “main color” palette and I think of the others as accent colors to pepper through a design.  I love color and I can’t ever get enough of it. It never fails to amaze me how a little dash here and there can completely change the dynamic of a layout. 

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