Creating Color Pallets

One element of design that can sometimes be difficult to overcome is creating a color pallet. Many times when we start a new project there are so many ideas in our heads that it can be hard to focus on one direction. Other times we do not even know where to start. I know for me, sometimes what I get hung up on is choosing a color pallet. I love colors... and I love neutrals. I like to use colors that inspire me, but I dont want to get carried away, otherwise nothing will make a statement and the inspiration will be lost and all that will be left is a rainbow of overstimulation.

So then how can we get started? How can we go from blank canvas to masterpiece? From too many ideas to one carefully edited and fully formed idea? One trick that has always helped me is using photography to guide my color selection. When I feel stumped I look for pictures (or go out into the world and take some of my own) that catch my eye...

I love the softness and the elegance of this display.

This is a photo I took of the Chicago skyline from Navy Pier last Spring.

So then once you find some pictures that inspire you. Take some time to figure out exactly what it is about the picture and the colors that you love. For example, in this skyline photo I love the crystal blue of the water in contract with the grayness of the buildings. I also like the way each building has its own color but each color still fits with the others.

Then once you have decided what it is about the picture that specifically appeals to you, try to pull your color pallet from there. Here is what I mean:

I opened these photos in Photoshop and literally pulled these colors straight from different elements of each picture.

TIP: The reason that taking your color pallet from photography works well most of the time is that you are typically pulling your colors from nature, or things that actually exist in the real world. That ensures that your colors will work well together.

Here are some more examples of pallets that I found on Pinterest:

I hope this little trick will help you next time you are struggling to get started on a project. Colors are always so inspiring, but sometimes if we get carried away things can turn into a mess. I like this method of editing because it can help us hone our creativity in a little and  create something beautiful.