am i color color obsessed? without a doubt. i have had a lifetime rich with a love of color, and i am fortunate to have had a 20 year career specializing in color design, trend, and forecasting. this love for color and years of experience have culminated in Design Seeds.
with the popularity of the Design Seeds site, i have seen some “interesting” things develop online since May 2009. one in particular is the infamous “color palette generator.”
my thoughts on these generators? run. run in the opposite direction, and for the love of color, do not use them.
why? well, i wanted to clearly illustrate for you “me vs. palette generator.” in the images above, i had taken *the exact same photo* used to create Design Seeds and ran it through the most popular online color generator. you can see the very different results. with the generator, key colors are completed excluded, and some palette results have quite unfortunate colors not even “seen” in the photo. there are also instances where there are certain “emotional” colors the image inspires, and the software completely misses or limits them in the palette.
why does this happen?
well, although COLOR SOFTWARE PROGRAMS are FASCINATING IN relation to MATH SCIENCE, they are limited and don’t actually “see” color. tHAT same wonderful INTANGIBLE QUALITY WE ARE FORTUNATE TO POSSESS that causes us to be moved by music, also applies to WHY COLOR CAN ROCK OUR WORLD. WE ALL KNOW DESIGN AND ART ARE BORN OUT OF TALENT, INSTINCT, AND HEART … WHY WOULD ONE SUPPOSE COLOR DOES NOT REQUIRE THE SAME?
in having established i love color to a degree that may be considered wrong, you can understand what drove me to create Design Seeds. it is an outlet, a way to share my passion, and utilizes years of experience. how do i go about creating the palettes? in a nutshell…
1) Seeds are created to communicate color trends, or sometimes to simply share color harmonies i find beautiful or am moved by.
2) i always choose an inspiration image that conveys the color in an appropriate emotional tone, while being within the ethos of Design Seeds … which comes first the, image or palette? well, that is a bit of a “chicken or the egg” question. i gravitate towards subject matter to photograph because it has color i want to convey … but i often serendipitously discover unexpected combinations as i work with the image.
3) when i create the palettes, i am utilizing years of experience working in color for creating the final harmonies, but i am ultimately driven by my gut instinct.
4) i do not use all the colors present in a photo to create a palette. there is a process of analyzing the feel of the palette, what emotion the color harmony should have, and then determining what colors detract or enhance all these considerations.
5) when i create Design Seeds, i mix each swatch individually … *never* using a color dropper or picker because they are simply inaccurate.
Hopefully summarizing my process adds a bit more insight that working with color is an balance of experience, emotion, talent, and gut instinct.
YOUR EYE FOR COLOR IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN ANY EYE DROPPER OR COLOR PROGRAM. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS, and i encourage you to be discerning about what is quality color work as color palettes have become increasingly popular the past few years. when thinking about color, consider WHAT COLORs YOU SEE, the harmonies, and how they INSPIRE OR MOVE YOU.
since this is a very popular post, i updated it on 10.23.14 with newer palettes and an updated process (such as using my own images) that reflects changes since the original post. i also included more information to answer questions i have frequently received since 1.20.12.