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Selecting a color scheme

Posted October 17th, 2008. Filed under Sandbox

I feel that color scheme selection should happen fairly early in the development process.  Many other design decisions are partially informed by color scheme selection - selection of other graphical elements, typeface and style, and use of whitespace are all decisions influenced by color scheme.

What’s your favorite color?

This is usually a great place to start.  Blogs are a very personal medium, and as such, your color scheme should reflect your personal preferences.  My favorite color is green (as anyone who has seen my desk will confirm).  Despite this, I somehow manage to always steer clear of greenish colors when designing.  Blue somehow seems a more natural and pleasant color for web design.  It’s also worth mentioning that in combination with its natural complimentary color, red, green design tends to feel overly-festive.  For this theme design, I’m actually going to go out on a limb, though, and use a green color scheme.

Greens galore

Greens galore

Next, of course, is which green to choose.  Choosing will require another design decision - what color accents and backgrounds do I intend to use?  I am quite fond of the dark gray / graphite color that has more-or-less replaced black in modern web design.  I will be using a graphite color here and there.  Concerning backgrounds, I am a definite advocate for light-colored backgrounds free of distracting patterns and fades.  White is generally a safe choice, but I find black text on a barely noticeable gray background to be quite readable and easy on the eyes.  Contrast, too, is important.  I find the popularity of gray text on a white background (and other such low-contrast combinations) in modern web design a disheartening trend.

Compare this short fragment of a sentence…

… with its continuation just below.

The darker text is absolutely easier on the my eyes (to be fair, this is a bit of an extreme example, but you get the point I’m sure).

So - we’ve got black text on a slightly gray background with graphite accents.  If this sounds pretty boring and monotonous, it’s because it is pretty boring and monotonous.  We’re missing the all important splash of color.  If you’ve ever watched HGTV, you know that the splash of color is absolutely essential to pulling a room together.  In this case, the room is a sandbox, the base color is green, and the color splash will be a shade of my sisters favorite color - purple (I did say I was going out on a limb here, didn’t I?).

color scheme

color scheme

Here’s our result.  #487048 (green), #5C4871 (purple), #2F302F (graphite), #EDEDED (gray).  Four colors, keeping in mind my goal of simplicity, is enough. Slight variations on these foundation colors will give me an ample pallette with which to work.

Edit: I won’t pretend I’m not nervous about that purple…

Note: This is the third in a planned series of posts detailing the step by step development of sandbox.kwjr.com.  For all such posts, follow this link.

3 Responses so far

  1. Eric says:

    I’m so in love with you.

  2. kwjr says:

    A quick and simple test comment

  3. kwjr says:

    followup email working?

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