Color tools for the design impaired

Filed under: — 10:23 am

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a designer, just a programmer and writer. So I need a bit of help with things like choosing color schemes for a site. Fortunately, there are a number of tools that make that easier. Darren’s post today about one of them reminded me that I’ve been collecting links to color tools for years, and it’s about time I rounded them up into one place.

My two favorites are at the top, but I’ve found all of these useful at one time or another:

  • wellstyled: Color Scheme Generator 2: My favorite color brainstorming tool. Click on a color and it chooses six matching colors. You can choose different schemes for choosing colors (i.e. monochrome or contrasting) and can even choose the distance from your color for contrasting schemes. Another nice feature: view how your colors would look to those with various forms of colorblindness.
  • Eric Meyer – Color Blender: This one’s simple, but I use it more than anything else. Enter two colors (hex or RGB) and it displays any number of in-between colors. Excellent for finding an additional color or two for a site that already has a color scheme, or for modifying an existing scheme when you just want it a bit lighter or darker (blend with #FFFFFF or #000000).
  • ColorMatch Remixed: Nice and simple: use the RGB sliders to choose a color, and it picks nine complementary colors (some shades of your color, some shades of a contrasting color, and greys)
  • Color Harmonies: Non-JavaScript. Enter three RGB values and an array of colors is generated. These are mostly contrasting colors rather than shades of your color.
  • SlayerOffice – Color Palette Creator 1.6: Enter a color (hex) and it produces nine variant colors. These are strictly shades of your color, mixed first with white and then with black.
  • VisiBone Webmaster’s Color Lab: Click on a color in the palette and it displays a selection of contrasting colors (often very contrasting!)
  • Web Color Theory: This one doesn’t choose colors for you. Instead, it lets you drag colors from the palette onto a sample page layout to see how they will look.
  • Color Schemer: Click on a color (or enter one) and it displays a grid of 16 complementary and contrasting colors.
  • If these aren’t enough, ScriptyGoddess has an entire color tools category with many more links.

And if you want to learn how to choose colors rather than have a tool do it for you, here are some general articles I found helpful:

16 responses to “Color tools for the design impaired”

  1. […] r tools for the design impaired Categories – Web Design LinkyLoo — Mark Color tools for the design impaired: Great set of color pickers fo […]

  2. […] g links to color tools for years, and it’s about time I rounded them up into one place. >> Color tools for the design impaired […]

  3. […] Generatori di colore per il web [ January 13th, 2005 ]

                    <a href="">Un elenco dei più popolari &#8220;Generatori di colore&#8221;</a>. [...]
  4. […] A good collection on online tools (and a few articles) on choosing colors for webwork.

    Color tools for the design impaired

    (0 views) Comments […]

  5. […] Colour Tools Filed under: Tools — Shadow @ 8:34 am

            If you need some <a href="">colour ideas</a> this is an excellent place to start. Very handy for ge [...]
  6. Darren says:

    Wooohoooo – This is great. Thanks Mate.

  7. ProBlogger says:

    Choosing Complimentary Colors for your Blog – ColorMatch Tool Have you ever struggled to select a color scheme for a blog? It’s pretty obviously looking at the disaster that I’ve designed here that I do! So this ColorMatch tool is going to be very handy! It is designed…

  8. David says:

    Thank you so much! I’m colorblind and have always had to go hassle other people into helping me figure out good colors. Now I can be more independent. These are awesome tools!

  9. says:

    links for 2005-01-14 How the Deaf (and other Sign language users) are Deprived of their Linguistic Human Rights [via dan parvaz] (categories: deaf) First ever earthquake movie…

  10. says:

    links for 2005-01-15 Jennifer Garner’s Awesome Great Workout Mix!! for M (categories: music jennifergarner blogs) Experimental Posting Interface Thing Generator since is flaking out lately (categories: handy tagging software bookmarkl…

  11. tectorum says:

    Color Tool List Color tools for the design impaired Color tools for the design impaired….

  12. jewen says:

    Great Job. If I were to write a personal profile it would look much like the first paragraph or this page. This has helped tremendously. Thanks again for the info!

  13. Color tools for the design impaired

  14. Campaign Site Notes Just a few things to note for some campaign site ideas: First off, some nifty tools for color selection. Happens to be a weak spot, so I’m all in favor of tools that do the work for me. Network-Centric Advocacy…

  15. Hi! Thanks for a great list! I thought that maybe some tools from my list could be useful, too ->


    With warm greetings from Germany, Saarbruecken, Vitaly Friedman

(c) 2001-2007 Michael Moncur. All rights reserved, but feel free to quote me.
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