If you’ve ever designed an image or website, or even painted a picture, you’ve spent time choosing colours. Whether you pick them on the go or decide on them before you start, you end up with a colour scheme. The best way to design is to choose a scheme before you start, and draw from it as you go – especially if you’re designing a group of images in a series, or various content for a web design.
Though creating a colour scheme from scratch seems like a daunting task, it’s a lot easier if you choose from an image that inspires you. Often photographs have beautiful colour schemes that speak to use – whether we realize it or not. If you find an inspiring image, you just need to draw five or six colours from it, and voila! You have a scheme. Here are a few places that I find are great sources of colour inspiration.
How to Extract the Colours
Once you’ve found an image that inspires you – how do you get the colours out? If you have a program like Adobe Illustrator you can open the image in the program and use the eyedropper tool to extract the colours. But if you don’t have Adobe (and maybe even if you do) there’s a quicker and easier way. Just visit HTML Colour Codes, upload your image, and then click on any part of the image to find out the hexadecimal colour code. And don’t feel like you need to use the exact colours in the image (because sometimes they don’t come out exactly as they appear). Pull colours, and then adjust each one slightly until you’re happy with them. Remember – you need to be happy with the colours all together AND with each colour individually.
Once you’ve got a few colours and a scheme that you’re happy with, save it. I like to keep mine as a JPEG so I can pull it up and see the colour codes when I need to, and I also keep it saved as a template in all my illustrator files. If I’m working on a design project for a few days I’ll even make my colour scheme my wallpaper so I don’t have to keep opening the image to find the hex codes.