There are many fine tools to help you create a color theme for your offline or online projects.
Adobe’s Kuler was a late arrival but is a very slick web application for creating and sharing color themes. You can view other users creations, or drag and drop yourself your own theme. You’re able to save, publish and tag your themes, even export your themes as swatches for use in Creative Suite 2 applications (such as Illustrator or Photoshop).
ColorSchemer Studio is available for Windows users who can use the Color Wheel, Color Harmonies, or even Photo Schemer (which allows you to build unique color themes based on any picture, image or photograph) for creating color themes. ColorSchemer is currently priced at $49, well worth the price.
COLOURlovers is a personal favorite of mine, a great design community to create and compare color palettes, and read color related articles and interviews.
Whilst these tools are useful at exploring color trends and creating themes, they don’t help with deciding what is an appropriate color base for your project. What color should you use if you’re trying to design something ‘mellow’, or perhaps ‘romantic’.
I created Cymbolism to answer just this question.
According to Wikipedia:
Many color theorists throughout history have attempted to assign colors to particular human emotions. They believed that seeing particular colors caused particular emotions. Others even created tests they claimed would divulge the personality of the participant.
Cymbolism attempts to quantify the association between colors and words, making it simple for designers to choose the best colors for the desired emotional effect.
Website visitors cast their votes on word-to-color associations by selecting a specific color when they are provided with a word and its description. These votes are saved, and over time, users opinions are quantified, providing designers with statistics on word-to-color associations. These statistics can then be used in choosing colors for your color themes.
These are not hard and fast rules, if everyone used to the same color for their projects things would look pretty boring. You often want to break the current trend, but how do you know you’re going against a trend if you know what the trend is!
The website was only recently launched and I’m still in the process of adding appropriate words that visitors can vote on, please feel free to suggest any you don’t find in our database. As more users vote on words the more useful the information will be, so please spread the word and get voting!