Design Short: Color and Random Stuff

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope your day is going well and you have a fabulous weekend planned. Today I wanted to share a few resources for determining color palettes for your designs, along with some other design goodies that will hopefully inspire you to tackle your next library design project.

After choosing fonts, I think I’ve gotten the most questions about color when I talk about graphic design for librarians. Everyone wants to know how to choose the correct colors for their work, which is great! We should all think about colors and how they affect the messages we are communicating. Plus, playing with colors is just fun, kind of like playing with finger paints. Of course, we always need to think about accessibility when we are choosing colors–since the whole point is to communicate, it doesn’t serve us well to have information conveyed only through color or with such low contrast (think yellow text on a white background) that some people can’t read it. After we’ve considered accessibility though, there is an endless spectrum of colors to consider. So how do you choose?

As graphic designers know, if you want to have a coherent color palette you need to sample colors from whatever image you are using in your design. This is easy in programs like Photoshop. If you don’t (or can’t) use Photoshop, you can always upload your image to Color Palette FX and get an automatically generated color palette. Using colors that are drawn from an image you are already using in your flyer or poster or whatever you are designing will make everything look coherent. The people who are looking at your design probably won’t consciously think about this, but they’ll know it looks good to them. If you more help in choosing colors without learning a lot of color theory, check out Smashing Magazine’s article, “A Simple Web Developer’s Guide to Color.” It should get you started and hopefully alleviate any fears you may have about choosing colors.

And while you are looking for colors to use, check out a couple of free icon sets for potential color palettes: Summer Icon Set (super relaxing) and Space Icon Set (intergalactic!).

Also, just for fun, check out these people who are building castle in France with medieval technology. It’s definitely impressive.

I hope you have a lovely Friday and weekend, full of good reads, good design, and good fun. I’ll be back next week with more news and notes. Allons-y!