Dev Depot: Color Scheme Designer

Stephen Yagielowicz

From complimentary and contrasting color schemes to displays optimized for color-blind users, ColorSchemeDesigner.com handles all your palette picking needs

When it comes to selecting colors, whether it’s for a new website, print advertisement or office makeover, successful designers know that it takes more than just choosing your favorite color — issues of culture and emotion, style, taste and more, all come into play.

Even if you think that you can put together a coordinated color palette on your own, using Color Scheme Designer will inspire your creativity.

Colors are also not as simple as “red,” “green” or “blue” for designers, who must rely on specific hexadecimal codes or proprietary designations such as an Opaltone number — the digital equivalent of paint chips at the local hardware store — when creating their designs and publications.

Calling itself a designer’s tool for creating coordinated color combinations that work well together, the free Color Scheme Designer (www.colorschemedesigner.com) quickly generates either random palettes using customized settings, or produces unique ground-up compositions based upon user selections on the switchable mono and complementary, triad and tetrad, analogic and accented analogic colorwheels.

Point and click ease plus Undo and Redo buttons make working with palette choices painless and perhaps even “fun” enough to spur creative exploration on the part of artists who may uncover eye-pleasing color combinations they might not otherwise thought of.

Once a color scheme is selected, “light” and “dark” example versions of the palette applied to a dummy web page are available for an idea of how the specific scheme looks. Several controls allow users to fine tune their choices, while an automated ongoing list of color choices makes keeping track of things easy.

While the RGB color space is used by default, other color spaces such as Web Color and Opaltone are also supported, enabling advanced users to have exquisite control over printfriendly palettes and other specialized applications. PANTONE and RAL options seem to have been deactivated by request of the parent companies, but remain as grayed-out menu choices, so perhaps a licensing deal will be reached, boosting the tool’s appeal.

Colors aren’t of much use if you’re colorblind, however, so Color Scheme Designer provides settings to accommodate viewers suffering from Deuteranopy, Deuteranomaly, Protanopy, Protanomaly, Tritanopy, Tritanomaly, Atypical Monochromatism and full-on colorblindness, selectable via a drop-down menu. Since 15 percent of the population has some form of colorblindness, such a feature is vital when color selection accuracy counts.

An intuitive real-time interface with user-selectable tooltips makes operation simple, while flexible export options including HTML+CSS, XML, plain text, ACO and GPL (Adobe Photoshop and GIMP palette formats, respectively), easily integrate custom color schemes into nearly every designer’s workflow.

Even if you think that you can put together a coordinated color palette on your own, using Color Scheme Designer will inspire your creativity while helping you to produce better results. Try it for yourself and see.

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