As discussed in the first article in this Color Scheme series, a color wheel is an invaluable tool to help you select color schemes for your scrapbook layouts. There are also many online tools available for you to use.
I would urge you though, to still keep a good old fashioned color wheel handy when you launch into the world of electronic color pickers. Understanding the fundamental principles of color schemes will be an advantage that will pay dividends for you rather than just relying on the digital tools. Although some of them do let you use your color principles and have more control over your choices, many do not.
Make your own Color Wheel
- Just type “color wheel” into Google Images and choose a color wheel graphic of your choice.
- Print it out and cut to shape.
- Then make a smaller circular template to sit on the top (like the one on my Bazzill color wheel.
- Mark and cut out 3 sections equidistant apart (hint: line them up with the Red, Yellow and Blue sections.
- And then chose one section to label Key Color and cut another section directly opposite. Mark this section Complementary.
- Mark the other two cut out sections Triadic.
- Fix this template to your color wheel with a brad or other fixing that will allow it to rotate freely.
I like to have my Color Wheel beside me when I’m using the online color picking tools as I find it keeps me grounded in the fundamentals.
Online Color Picking Tools
There is a wealth of free online color picking tools for you to choose from to help you compose your own color schemes. Let’s look at a few.
Colors on the Web have a great easy to use ColorWizard which lets you choose your main color and then select which of the different color schemes you want to try. It will offer the color options for each scheme and also show you the different hue,saturation and shade variations you might like.
You use it online and it’s very easy to use. There doesn’t appear to be a way to save your color schemes however, once you click away from the site they’re gone.
Color Schemer Studio is a more complex tool but it also offers more blending choices. It has a free version which you can download and run off your computer. I’m not sure whether you can save your color schemes with this tool. Perhaps a regular user of it can let us know in the comments. Color Schemer Studio is targeting the professional designer market and the free tool is just a taster. It has an upgrade option to the professional suite which you can purchase.
Instant Color Schemes is a Yahoo quick pick color selection tool. It’s very easy to use but very limited. You just click on the color scheme names at the bottom of the page and an array of color schemes will appear. I must admit that that this tool’s idea of appropriate names for color schemes doesn’t match with mine. I clicked on Summer and was very disappointed with the color schemes offered. However it is quick and easy to use and of course, free.
Color Blender is a cousin of Color Schemer. It is an online tool that allows you to select a base color using the standard color selection slider bars. It then calculates a color scheme blend of six colors for you. It has the advantage of being able to name and save your color blend for future reference but in my opinion it doesn’t have sufficient flexibility to attract me. You don’t appear to be able to choose what kind of color scheme you want and you just get served up a single option by the tool.
Color Combinations by Samantha is based on the colors in the Stampin’ Up range and it’s super easy to use. Just decide how many colors you want in your color scheme, how many color schemes you want to choose from and whether you want any one color to be included in all of the color schemes. Then hit Submit and you’re done.
There is no color theory to the color schemes, they are just color schemes that have been used by the person behind the tool and they don’t necessarily follow the color “rules”. So if you’re wanting to create a Complementary Color Scheme, for example, this is not the tool for you.
Palette Generator has an interesting approach to color picking. you upload one of your photos into the tool and click on the Create button. The tool will then offer you samples of 15 of the colors in your photo for you to select to build your color scheme. This obviously has its limitations because you don’t get to see complementary or contrasting colors. But used in conjunction with your color wheel or one of the other color scheme tools I think it could be quite useful.
This list is by no means complete. There is a plethora of color selection tools on the Internet for you to choose from. And I don’t by any means pretend to be fully knowledgeable about all of the ones I’ve listed here. Many of you may have used some of these extensively and will know far more about them than I. If so, please share your knowledge with others in the comments section. And if you have a favorite online color scheme tool that I haven’t covered here, feel free to give it a bit of a review in the comments section too.
The purpose of this article was to introduce you to some of the free tools that are available to you to help you in choosing color schemes for your scrapbook layouts. And I’d like to give a big thank you to Hummie, whose Delicious bookmarks on ‘color’ I plundered to identify some of the websites I’ve reviewed here.