Choosing Your Colors Carefully

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Dreamweaver color palettIn designing websites, we want to make sure to remember the basics. I wrote about fonts last week. Today, let’s consider color. While I’ve mentioned color before when talking about accessibility and color-blindness, this is all about color.
Some colors look really bad together. So, when you’re planning a website, where do you start? How do you find the right color combination? Perhaps you like blue. What shade? Do you like blue and white? Blue and black? Light blue, dark blue? How can I as the designer find the right blue for you?

Are you completely confused yet? Have you ever really thought about “blue” before? Don’t worry. There are resources available for us to create an inviting color scheme for a web page.

The basic color pallet we work with in Dreamweaver is a place to start. The colors on the far left are the old 4-bit colors, and unless you are designing a retro-site going for that real, 1970s feel, you probably want to stay away from them. They are the orange shag carpeting of the web design world. Modern web sites seem more appealing and successful with a softer look.

Familiarize yourself with the Hexidecimal system for naming colors. Web designers most commonly speak in hex when talking colors.

Start with your favorite color, and then try the Hexidecimal Colour Calculation at Splintered. This is a nice tool for finding colors that blend well together. Simply enter the hexidecimal numbers for the basic color you’ve found, and hit the button. The page gives you some interesting color (or colour) combinations for you to consider.

Web Design Resources has some color combinations set for you to consider, with the hexadecimal values below each design. The designs, all based on the same logo, offer much food for thought. Personally, I’m not a fan of the color scheme the designers chose for their own masthead on this site. However, we’ll forgive them that for now.

There are other resources available as well. Web safe colors are a guarantee. Not all browsers reflect hexadecimal colors the same. You want some assurance that the colors you choose will be the colors your client sees. Experiment. Try the DHTML Color Pallet.

And then build the page of your dreams.