Color Schemes: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Remember the days of Lisa Frank? Those rainbow puppy, kitten and unicorn folders, pencils, pens and lunch boxes were the absolute bomb when I was in middle school: every girl wanted it, and every girl who got it displayed it like some sort of rainbow badge of honor. I’d be kidding myself if I said I wasn’t decked out in Lisa Frank merch from head to toe for at least half of middle school, but I digress…

My point? Colors are fantastic. When it comes to a blog or a website the first thing that visitors notice is the content and the color scheme tied together across the webpage, and they catch your eye when done well, no matter their brightness or muteness. But the key phrase to that sentence is ‘when done well‘: the last thing you want is for a potential blog follower/visitor/reader to navigate to your website and immediately suffer a severe case of eye-burn.

So what makes a good color scheme? It’s more than just picking your favorite colors. While Lisa Frank could make every eccentric color under the sun work for her and her products, tossing together an entire color palette rarely works, especially in the web world. Too many colors, and your audience doesn’t know where to look. Worse yet, too many conflicting colors and they’ll do exactly what you don’t want them to do: close the webpage!

Don’t misunderstand: your blog or website is yours first and foremost, so it’s critical that YOU enjoy its appearance as much as your audience will. It’s a reflection of you, so the colors you choose should equally reflect that piece of you. But in the same vein, it can be very tedious and time-consuming trying to find colors that work well together, weeding out the ones that don’t, while also trying to work in the hues that you want to see in the final product.

Color Palette Generators to the rescue! With my years of experience in digital art and web forum design, I’ve had to find some much-needed short cuts to help me with creating fresh, new and palatable (pun totally intended) color schemes for my work, so I did some digging and discovered some awesome websites that not only will generate random color schemes for you, but they are also fully adjustable so that you can include the colors you really want!

Adobe Color Wheel

The Adobe Color Wheel website is very handy and above all intuitive. With easy drag-and-drop features that allow you full control over the intensity, hue, etc of the palette you’re working on, it also has a helpful menu of settings along the top-left that allows you to pick what type of palette you’re looking for. These include monochromatic, complementary, compound, and more! Do you have a banner image that you want to base your color scheme off of, but aren’t sure how? Use the photo feature and upload the banner to the Color Wheel and it will automatically provide you with various color schemes based off the colors in that image!


Although it’s a newer discovery for me, Paletton has proven extremely useful because of the ‘visual palette’ that it populates beside the color wheel portion of the website. These overlayments and varying blocks of the color palette allow you a visual of how those colors will look when used in a web format, as well as providing all Hex and RGB codes on hover. It will also offer you presets based on any one color you input!


Last but not least, Coolors is a personal favorite of mine because of how SIMPLE it is. Are you weary of dragging around icons on a color wheel or adjusting palette after palette? Well then sit back, relax, and get ready to just use your space bar. Yes, it’s THAT easy! Don’t like the palette selected for you? Hit that space bar. Still not fond of it? Hit that space bar. Like some of the colors, but not all? Maybe they need to be rearranged? The palette is completely movable and each color block can be adjusted as you see fit! Coolors is my definite go-to when I’m not in the mood for tedium.


And there you have it! Three awesome color theme generators to help you design your blog or website. Maybe you’re feeling artsy now and want to try a more traditional medium? Pick up one of these Adult Coloring Book Designs and Gel Pen Packs from amazon. Coloring books don’t need to just be for kids! I love using them to relieve stress: the depth of the designs and the motion of the coloring helps to take my mind off my worries and melts me into a creative, happy puddle.



4 thoughts on “Color Schemes: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

  1. Erin says:

    Emily, really great post!! I love Adobe Color Wheel and use it a lot and I agree adding a great color scheme to your blog and branding is something people will not and also remember!!

    • Emily says:

      Thank you! I was so excited the first time I discovered these nifty tools. They took so much pressure off color designing! Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  2. Jessica (aka The Nifty Nerd) says:

    I’ve been thinking about colors a lot lately. I’ve been trying to plan a color palette for my future home (yeah, probably getting ahead of myself here. haha). My husband likes green and I like blue. I’ve been trying to use natural color palettes (no navy and lime green combos) to make the 2 colors work together.

    • Emily says:

      Nothing wrong with planning ahead! I hope the color palette generators can help you out with finding a color compromise for you and your husband. 🙂

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