We’re working on some new site designs for our district web site. It’s part of a bigger project intended to make the site easier to use, provide more useful and up-to-date information, and improve the visual design of the site. With a school web site, color decisions are generally pretty easy to make. Our school’s colors are crimson and gold. Two years ago, we spent quite a bit of time coming up with the “right” codes to approximate these colors on the web site.
To coordinate with these colors on the current site, we used various grays, beiges, and black and white. As someone who generally views colors in terms of the Crayola 8-pack, I’m not the one who should be designing color palettes. Still, we managed to come up with something that works fairly well.
My network consultant, who is helping to design the new site, suggested using Behr’s ColorSmart system. It’s an online tool to help people come up with combinations of paint colors that go well together. You specify a main color, and then up to two accent colors, and it generates eight color palettes that coordinate. You can then select a type of project (though “web site” isn’t one of them), and assign colors to the various parts of the project. It’ll let you print out a picture of, say, a kitchen with your color choices painted in the locations you specify. On the site, you can also order paint samples of the colors you’ve selected, but using the paint on an LCD monitor is not recommended.
To make this more useful, I grabbed a neat little program called Color Cop. This free utility gives you an eyedropper tool in Windows that you can use to grab the color codes from any color on the screen. It also converts between decimal and hex color values. So I can just use Color Cop to figure out which color codes to use to match Behr’s recommendations for the web site.
As someone who can never see the numbers on those crazy tests, this is a huge help.