Great Design

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Colour Curves - How To Pick Good Colours

Dec 24, 2007


I love working with color, you can express so much emotion and feeling with the colours you chose. But picking good colours is hard. As a result I've come up with a formula that seems to work, and helps a lot in picking the colours you can use for you graphic design applications. I call it colour curves. Due to the imaginary curves you can follow to help pick good colours. I'll give you an example of how to use it.

First lets take an example of the main colours you can use when picking a colour for your artwork. You have red (shown twice), pink, blue, light blue, green and yellow. These are shown in the arrows below.

If you pick the most "extreme" colours, that is putting the pointer in the very top right corner. You get the very bright colours as shown below. These colours are OK, but you don't really see these colours in everyday life. They are two bright an vibrant. They do have there uses. But we need more subtle and slightly postal colours.

My method for picking good colours is to use colour curves. I've added them on the image below. These are imaginary curves that you can use for picking colours. For example if you pick the top curve you get slightly darker but less extreme colours. If you chose the bottom curve you get very dark colours but they are softer and not as harsh. The middle line is a bit of both.

As a result you get colours that are a lot softer. I've gone for the top line, although for a better comparison I could have picked colours that are lighter. But if you compare this chart with the originals they are softer. These types of colours would look a lot better than the ones used above.

This is just a simple idea that I wanted to share. Please leave a comment with your thoughts.

P.S I'm sorry for the lack of posts. being the Christmas Holiday i've been very bust relaxing and working. There should be a couple more after Christmas and Boxing day.


bebo81 said...

Great tutorial which allows us to choose better colours.