The Color Wheel, Reimagined

Posted on Aug 16, 2017


Trying to pick colors for a page layout, or looking for inspiration to freshen your brand hues? Since the 1800s, designers have used color wheels to identify which colors work well together to set a tone or draw attention.

Adobe Color CC takes the color wheel online, offering three ways to find fresh color combinations.

Duy Mai uses Adobe Color CC to help Ruralite members find strong color combinations.

Browse for Bright Ideas

Start at Color.Adobe.com/Explore. You will see sample color mixes from designers around the world. On the top left drop-down menu, select “Most popular” to find current color trends.

Need to evoke a specific feeling? Search palette names in the top right search box. The feature is hit or miss, since color names are highly subjective. But you might find a fun, unexpected mix.

Looking for the colors for a brand (Seahawks or 49ers fans, anyone?) or a palette to match an occasion? You can search for brand names or generic events, too.

 

Pull Colors from a Picture 

Upload an image to find five colors that convey a colorful, muted or deep meaning.

After adding a picture, use the left drop-down navigation pane to set a mood (colorful, bright, muted, deep or dark). Each option picks five different colors from the picture to help evoke a feeling. You can also use the custom option to handpick five colors from the picture.

 

Custom Blends

Ready to create your own color combinations? Use the manual color wheel at Color.Adobe.com.

Enter a color you want to work with. If your logo uses NRECA’s green ball icon, enter the green RGB color (Pantone 348, RGB 0/132/61).

Now use the drop-down color rule menu to view analogous, monochromatic, triad, complementary or compound colors. Want to stay close to home? Opt for shades of the selected color. You can also pick five colors you think pair well with each other, using the custom option.

 

Save Your Colors

Find an inspiring color palette? You do not need an Adobe membership to use Adobe Color CC, but you must be a member to save the colors you discover. If you are an Adobe Creative Cloud member, save your palettes to other Adobe software (i.e. PhotoShop, InDesign, Illustrator). Otherwise, take a screen shot and jot down the formulas (RGB or CMYK) for your favorites.

Need help finding a Pantone color (used by printers) that matches a screenshot? Adobe Illustrator’s Recolor Artwork tool (Edit> Edit Colors> Recolor Artwork) can help. If you do not have the software, your editor can work with you to find a Pantone color that works for your brand. Screen and printing colors will always be different, so keep that in mind.

 

Mobile Color Mixes

Need more tools to find fresh color blends? Try the Adobe Capture CC app (iTunes, Google Play). The app makes it easy to pull colors out of your surroundings. You can also turn pictures into vector shapes or brushes, then make the files available in Adobe PhotoShop and Illustrator.

The app is free to download, but you must sign in with your Adobe Creative Cloud password to use the features.

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