Creating a great color palette can be one of the more challenging parts of the design process. What colors will work well together? How do you know what colors to make primary and secondary in the design outline? How do you create the right feel?
That’s where Adobe’s Kuler comes in. The color picker tool is a must-have for designers of all levels. It allows you to create a great color palette and look at colors combined by other users.
Best of all, you don’t have to know a whole lot about color to get started. (Learn more about the lingo of color.) But the more you know, the more useful this tool will be.
Here’s everything you need to know about Adobe’s Kuler.
What it does
Kuler allows users to create a palette based on a number of schemes – analogous, monochromatic, triad, complementary, compound, shades or custom – with a fun interactive color wheel. Each palette is based on five colors, although you don’t have to use that many, that match visually on the screen.
Make your color selections and Adobe does the rest, providing color values for print and web on screen and in a savable format.
Users can make palettes private or public and get feedback on-site from the Adobe user community.
The tool is valuable for creating a color palette. It works especially well for generating colors to match something you already know, such as the color in a logo, to other elements. It is also a good place to stop and let the creative juices flow as a source of inspiration.
The user interface is simple and works like you would expect from an Adobe product.
Coming later in the spring is the Kuler iPhone app (slated for June) so you can work on the go.
Create a color palette from an image: Inspired by a photo? Upload the image and Kuler will automatically create a palette.
Palette options galore: Choose from a wide number of palette options to create something that includes one color and shades or multiple color choices.
Quick change: Every color – even after added to a palette – is visually editable.
Switch base colors with one click: See a color that is more appealing than your base color? Make it the new base of your palette with just a click and all the other colors change to match.
Color values: Kuler shows color values for every chosen color in HSV, RGB, CMYK, LAB and HEX.
Cloud sync: For Creative Cloud users, Kuler syncs with Adobe software.
Some of the sharing features make it easy to “steal” palettes created by others.
Palette are generated by a computer, not a person, so color combinations and mixes are not always perfect.
Removing and adding colors to the palette is a little awkward.
Kuler is free to use although you do need to log in with your Adobe ID for access to all of the features.
No matter where your business is based, it can have an international audience thanks to your website.
And you want your message to come across plainly and without unintentional consequences, making color an important consideration.
Color plays a huge role in the overall aesthetic of a project, including logos, images, backgrounds and even the identity surrounding a company or item. Color can also send out signals that vary from culture to culture.
So before you start your next project, think about your audience and where they are located? Will your color choices come across as intended? Do you need to create dual color schemes for different markets?
While you will never be able to please everyone, it is important to understand how color associations can be perceived.
Here is a guide to primary and secondary colors and some of their strongest cultural associations.
Red, a popular color for design, can have some of the most-far reaching associations, positive and negative. Almost universally, red is connected positively to love and negatively to anger and danger.
In North American and European cultures, red conveys passion, love, danger and power. It is the color of stop signs in the United States and is even thought to stimulate the appetite.
In the East, red is a celebrated color, often representing joy or happiness. Chinese brides wear red for luck; and it represents purity in India.
In Latin America, red is also a color that strongly connects to passion and fire.
In the Middle East, red is the color of caution. Some also see the hue as a sign of evil.
Blue is one of the most universally-accepted colors in the spectrum. It is accepted by most cultures to have a soothing or calming effect, although it can be negatively associated with “blue feelings” or depression. One of the most popular world uses of blue is for web-based phone service Skype, which is used by customers all over the world.
In North America and Europe, blue is the color of trust and authority, making it the top color used by banks, financial institutions and insurance companies. The color is considered strong and masculine.
In the East, blue is associated with ever-lasting life, strength and immortality. Contrary to the masculine association of blue in the U.S., in Chinese cultures blue is a color of femininity.
In Middle Eastern countries, blue is connected closely to religion and is often linked to heaven or the soul.
Because of its connection to the precious metal gold, yellow is almost universally associated with money and wealth. It is also relates to life and warmth as the color of the sun. Similarities in color associations end there for the most part.
While generally a happy color in Western cultures it can also be a sign of caution. School buses and street signs are yellow in the United States, for example.
In Germany, yellow is the color of envy and if often avoided in advertising materials.
In the East, yellow is a color associated with royalty. It is also connected to courage and items of a sacred nature.
In some Middle Eastern countries, people connect yellow to mourning and loss. Other Middle Eastern associations though include happiness and prosperity, much like the color meanings in the west.
As the color of nature, green is often used to represent the natural world. The most earthen tones are the most neutral, with brighter greens carrying more distinct meanings.
Much of the western world associates green with envy or jealousy. Conversely is also represents luck and is commonly used with red for Christmas holiday applications. Green is a trendy color and phrase when it comes to environmental causes or concerns and it can also be associated with forward-thinking.
In Asian cultures, green represents life and nature as well. But the meaning extends to encompass youth and fertility. Be especially wary of negative associations – infidelity, for example. To wear a green hat in China, means to have cheated on a spouse.
Green is the national color of Mexico and is a source of pride in that nation.
The hue is also strongly associated with Islam and feelings of strength and wealth.
Orange can be a difficult color to use because it has so many varied meanings. People often feel strongly about the color, very much liking or disliking it.
The associations are rather loose in Western cultures. Orange is the color of fall and of harvests because of the changing of the color of leaves on plants. Similarly it is associated with the fall holiday, Halloween. But at the same time, brighter oranges can be sunnier and more upbeat colors. The hue is associated with the sunny state of Florida and its world-known orange crops. It can be a color of balance as well.
Orange in Japan is the color of courage and love.
Orange and reddish-orange tones are popular in Latin American cultures. The hues are earthy and are associated closely with the color of the land in much of South America.
In the Middle East, orange is often associated with loss.
Purple is both regal and modern. Dark purples are often considered strong and have some ties to ancient royalty while lighter tones are more natural and soft.
On an almost worldwide scale, the color is connected to wealth.
The color is connected to wealth and regality in the West. In the United States, purple — especially when mixed with white for more pale tones — is commonly associated feminine attributes.
Looking for the perfect font for your next project? With all the web font options out there, how would you ever choose?
Typecast, which came out of beta for a full launch earlier this year, is one cool tool when it comes to web typography, allowing users access to 23,000 web fonts. You can use it to create a complete website or app or just pair typefaces beautifully.
Here’s everything you need to know about Typecast.
What it does
Typecast gives users access to five suppliers of web fonts – Adobe’s typekit, fonts.com, Fontdeck, Google Fonts and Webtype — in a single, streamlined account. In all, designers can access and choose from 23,000 (and counting) fonts that work in a variety of applications.
Typecast also brings it all together in a beautifully designed editor that allows you to style type in your browser, checking for readability and rendering as you work. The visual editor allows designers to create type pairs and see how different type styles work together in a flash.
Finally, Typecast puts it all together in a way that makes coding easy. While you play with the WYSIWYG editor on screen, the app creates semantic code that falls in line with every visual change. Making comps has never been easier because you can see and compare everything right on the screen.
Font availability: Having this many fonts in one location is a time-saver.
Visual interface: The site is built with visual thinkers in mind, from instant visual representation of each typeface to the super-intuitive interface.
Get feedback: Typecast allows users to share and demo projects with others for feedback, testing and browser- and device-specific checking.
Automatic code creation: Design on screen and the app puts all the nuts and bolts together in the background, making this a super cool tool for designers who are not fast coders.
Built-in style guide: Once you are finished, Typecast creates a set of specs — including typefaces, styles, size and color — for your project. Designers, this will make you a star if someone else is doing the development work.
The app only works in Chrome and Safari.
While playing with every typeface imaginable can be fun, remember you still need font licenses to publish projects. Don’t forget to factor that into your budget.
Vogue, UK edition
Typecast has four pricing levels available for different types of applications, from the individual designer to agencies. All pricing plans include a fonts.com subscription that includes unlimited access to a large number of typefaces such as Helvetica, Univers and Futura. Plus, Typecast offers discounts for customers who pay for annual plans in advance.
Personal license (one user): $29 per month
Team license (three users): $59 per month
Studio license (six users): $99 per month
Agency license (15 users): $199 per month
Color is often one of the first things we notice when looking at an object. It can affect how we perceive and communicate.
But it is often difficult to describe. How do you define blue other than to call it blue? There are quite a few words that help define color and how different colors work together and how they are used in the design process.
Understanding the lingo is important when clients and designers are working together so that there is a mutual understanding, making projects come together more effectively and efficiently.
Here is a glossary containing the most common words and phrase used to define and describe color.
Colors that are “colorless” such as white, black or gray are achromatic; these are also called “hueless.” These colors are considered neutrals and can be combined with any other color.
Mixing two or more colors creates additive color. Primary colors red, blue and yellow are the starting point for additive color mixing because they are used to create every color in the visible spectrum. This is a method of digital color mixing in which colors are added to bring the hue closer to white.
Colors that are located in adjacent locations on the color wheel are called analogous colors. They can be put together to create almost monochromatic color schemes.
Brightness relates to the intensity of light coming from an image or color. The more light it looks like a color emits, the more brightness it has. A brightness scale is often used in the image editing process to enhance parts of images.
A color’s purity is described as chroma or chromaticity. The purest hues (with the highest chroma) are those which do not have the addition of white or black in them. Colors with high chroma are especially vivid and often have a high brightness. The terms chroma and saturation are often interchanged, although they have different meanings.
CMYK is a color system used in printing, referring to the colors of ink used in the printing process – cyan, magenta, yellow and black. CMYK color is also called process color.
Color match occurs when two hues appear to be identical even if they are not composed identically. This term is often used in commercial applications when an exact color is unknown and needs to be replicated.
Color Wheel (or Circle)
The color wheel is one of the oldest methods of categorizing color that is still used today. The wheel arranges colors visually according to relationship by chroma. You can use the wheel, or circle, to pair colors and create color palettes.
Colors located at opposite locations on the color wheel are complementary. Primary colors can never complement each other. Red and green or blue and orange, for example, are pairs of complementary colors. Complementary colors often have high contrast with each other when paired.
Cool, or Passive, Colors
Cool colors are those that often carry some visual weight and are thought to be darker than active or warm colors. They tend to recede from images as well. Colors in the active range on the color wheel are blue-violet to blue to green to yellow-green.
All of the possible colors in a color system are referred to as a gamut. No single system can reproduce every color in the spectrum, you would need multiple gamuts to achieve this. Gamuts can include overlapping colors.
An achromatic color scale that includes only grays and no other hues. Images without color are often referred to as “black and white” or “gray scale.”
The identifier of color as it relates to the color name, such as red, blue, yellow, green or purple. Black, white and gray do not contain a hue.
CMYK is a color system used to define colors on web pages. Colors are named using a system of three pairs of numbers, the first two digits represent red, the second pair green and third pair blue. Hex values can contain both letters and numbers, in the format #000000 (black) or #ffffff (white) or #00ff00 (green).
Any color that seems flat or contains no luster, gloss or reflective properties is called matte.
The three basic colors that make up every color are called primary colors. They are red, blue and yellow.
RGB is a color system used in digital media. On screens red, green and blue light are used to create every color you see. Mixing all three at a top intensity creates white, mixing all three with no intensity creates black. All other colors are created with values in between.
Technically, saturation refers to how a color appears in certain lighting conditions. But more it is used interchangeably with chroma, to refer to how pure a color is. Gray, for example, has zero saturation and adding it to a color lessens the saturation of that hue.
Secondary colors are created by mixing two primary colors. They are orange (red and yellow), green (yellow and blue) and purple or violet (blue and red).
Any addition of black to a color to make it darker is called a shade.
The physical mixing of colors to bring each hue closer to black is called subtractive color mixing. This theory is used most commonly by artists when mixing paints.
Mixing a primary and secondary color results in tertiary colors. There are six such hues – yellow-green, yellow-orange, red-orange, red-violet, blue-violet and blue-green.
Any addition of white to a color to make it lighter is called a tint.
Any addition of gray to a color to make it less intense is called a tone.
Warm, or Active, Colors
Warm colors are those that do not have a lot of visual weight and appear to encourage activity or movement. The colors are often lighter and used with increased brightness. Colors in the active range on the color wheel are red-violet to red to yellow to yellow-green.
Red is one of the most extreme colors in the rainbow.
And it is a common color when it comes to design because of consistent meanings. Red is most commonly used as an accent color (especially common when creating website buttons, sale notifications or signs or colored text) but can also be used as the primary hue in a color palette.
Let’s take a look at the meanings of red and showcase some powerful designs based on the color.
The color is known for its ability to stir emotions – both negatively and positively – and therefore is associated with passion.
Different hues of red can have different and wide-ranging associations. The most saturated hues are connected to love, anger, violence and heat.
Common positive associations include love, courage, strength, independence, action, energy and passion.
Common negative associations include evil, danger, blood, aggressiveness, war, anger and death.
Variances in hue, though can alter one’s perception of the color.
The addition of white, makes the color a much more feminine-linked pink. These cooler red tones are thought to be more attractive to women from pinks to magenta.
Warmer reds, which have a more orange hue, are considered more pleasing to men. Think of more earthy tones, such a brick red.
Red is a universally popular color for restaurant design projects. Various studies have shown that the bright color can help stimulate the appetite.
While the use of red is fairly universal in meaning in application, the color does have a few distinct cultural considerations. Think about these things closely when designing a website or material that is intended for global distribution.
Chinese brides wear red as a symbol of good luck. In most Asian cultures, the color s associated positively with prosperity, wealth and happiness.
Red is the color of purity and new life in India. The Japanese have similar associations with the color, associating it with women giving birth.
In Russia, red is the symbol of communism and war.
Red takes on a more somber meaning in South Africa, where it represents mourning and loss.
Red Design Gallery: Primary Color
Red Design Gallery: Accent Color
When working with designers and other creative professionals – from the people who build websites to those who put together business cards – it is important to understand and be able to speak the language of type.
Typography has a set of jargon that is all its own and understanding what the terms mean can go a long way to helping you establish a good relationship with designers and better communicate what you want to see during the creative process.
Here is a glossary containing the most common words and phrases used to define and describe type.
The space where text falls within the page (print of digital) margin. Text can be aligned to the left, right, center or fully justified from edge to edge in a column. Left-justified text is often called ragged right and right-justified text is often called ragged left because text aligns neatly on one side of the column and not on the other.
The part of a lowercase letter that rests above the x-height of a letter is called an ascender. Think of the extending strokes on letters such as b, d, f and k.
The imaginary line that the bottoms of most letters of a typeface rest on and basis for type alignment between columns is the baseline.
Body Text (Body Copy)
Body text, or body copy, is the text that makes up most of a document. Body text can be structured as small groups of paragraphs, long flowing text or short bits of copy. Body text needs to be set in a very readable typeface and typically is between 10 and 16 points in size depending on usage and medium.
Any typeface that is altered to have thicker strokes, making it heavier and darker than standard lettering is bold or boldface.
The distance from the baseline to the tops of uppercase letters is the cap height. In some instances it is the same height as ascenders, but this is not always the case.
Any letter, number, glyph, mark or symbol included in a typeface is a character.
Condensed type is narrower than the regular size of a typeface. Most condensed typefaces are noted with “condensed” or “cond” in the name. These typefaces are often used as space savers but should be avoided for body copy because they can often be difficult to read in large blocks of text.
The part of a lowercase letter that rests below the baseline is called a descender. Think of the extending strokes on letters such as g, j, p and y.
The stylized letter at the start of a paragraph is called a drop cap – some also refer to it as an initial cap or big cap. The letter usually drops down into several lines of the copy.
Typefaces that are used for headlines, big text or decorative purposes are called display typefaces. These styles are designed for use at large sizes, often 40 points or more.
The long dash used between thoughts in a sentence is called an em-dash. The name comes from the amount of space the dash occupies; it is equal to that of a lowercase “m” in the same typeface.
The dash used to denote words such as to or through. The name comes from the amount of space the dash occupies; it is equal to that of a lowercase “n” in the same typeface. An en-dash is half the width of an em-dash.
A decorative letter, often in the shape of a leaf or flower, is called a fleuron. They are most commonly used as the start of a block of text.
A set of all the characters in a typeface. While font and typeface are used interchangeably, a font is the actual thing created with a typeface – such as a certain set of letters of a certain size in a computer file or the metal pieces used to set type on paper.
All of the text used to support the body copy is called furniture. Most of this type is set in a different size than the body text and includes things such as headlines, subheads, captions and navigational tools.
In computer language, every character is represented by a glyph. But in terms of typography, glyphs refer to foreign characters outside the normal set of letters, numbers and punctuation.
Any typeface that is altered to have slanted strokes, making appear more script-like than standard lettering is italic.
The horizontal space between a pair of letters (kerning pair) and change of that space is kerning. Pairs are kerned to add or remove space so that letters look evenly spaced despite their shapes. AV is a common kerning pair. Properly kerned type will not have large or unusual gaps between letters, with even spacing throughout.
Leading (pronounced ledding) refers to the space from baseline to baseline between lines of text. It can also be called linespacing. Standard leading specifications are typically based on the point size used to type but can be changed based on use.
When two or more letters touch or are tied together to form a single letter, it is called a ligature. Ligatures can be created intentionally or unintentionally.
A combination of letters or characters that are combined to create a single object, such as a logo or symbol are called logotype. They often use variants of standard typefaces or custom lettering.
Point (Point Size)
The measurement used for typography is called a point. There are roughly 72 points per inch and 12 points per pica. In reference to type size, point size is the distance from the top of the highest ascender to the bottom of the lowest descender. (Type is measured somewhat differently in Europe, where type is measured in millimeters by cap-height.)
A type style without serifs, or small strokes that extend from the main strokes each letter, is considered a sans serif. Fonts of this style, such as the common Helvetica, are popular for web body text.
Any typeface that is based on or made to look like handwriting is a script.
A type style with serifs, or small strokes that extend from the main strokes each letter, is considered a serif. Fonts of this style, such as the common Times New Roman, are popular for print publishing.
The main diagonal part of a letterform is the stroke. Stroke can also refer to each line created in a letter; each stroke theoretically represents each line a pen would draw on paper to create the letter.
Any decorate stroke that falls below the baseline is a tail. Tails can be found on both upper- and lowercase letters.
Tracking is the spacing between characters in a text block. Unlike kerning, it refers to the entirety of paragraphs.
All of the letters, numbers, symbols, punctuation and glyphs that make up one type design. Typefaces typically have names and multiple typefaces with the same name and slight alterations to the overall design are a type family. All of the typefaces in a type family are intended to be used together and are often sold in packages that contain multiple typefaces.
The thickness and “darkness” of a typeface refers to its weight. Typefaces are also named by the depth and design of these strokes using terms such as thin, light, bold and black.
The x-height is the height of a lowercase x in a type family. Most lowercase letters in a typeface (minus ascenders and descenders) are equal to the x-height. There is not a set x-height size and it can vary by typeface. Fonts with larger x-heights appear larger than those with smaller x-heights.
To be perfectly frank, there are not so many reasons to do so. The logo is a thing your company is recognized by and associated with, but not the reason of the high or low sales. And if you don’t get recognized enough you don’t get enough profit, or whatever you’re after. You might say: “I could just promote my existing logo” and right you would be. But how much profit will it give? If your existing logo already does not drag attention. Of course there is a giant like Coca-Cola who sticks to one logo throughout the years, but hey, would you stop buying it if they modified their logo a bit? Sometimes you need to make radical adjustments in order to succeed, and we would like to give you some ideas when you might think about you logo change.
How to choose a great font for a logo design
It is well known fact for every graphic designer, that picking out the right typeface for you logo is a crucial part of the design process. We can often come across the dilemma which font to choose among the millions available. Choosing the right font for your logo can be very exhausting and time consuming. There are no ideal rules that will help you choose the typeface. But there are tips that can help you decide what is best for your current project. And now we would like to present you some points that should be taken into account when selecting a font for a logo.
Design contest presents its digest of the latest novelties that can facilitate your work and leisure. Take a look at the new arrivals in the web sphere. Stick around and you will find out about new apps, Photoshop resources, picture editing tools and more.
Do you really need to be told what a QR code is and what it can do for your business? You see them everywhere from the supermarket to fast food places, in department stores and on most packaging. Not in your cave? Well, let’s bring you up to speed a little. Take a moment to read this article and when you are done saying WOW! come back and we’ll WOW! you some more.