Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I Feel Pretty

There are new togs for this blog. If you're viewing this post via RSS, I hope you'll take a moment to click over to the site and check out the new template and look. I feel like this place is finally "dressed." Now, let's look at some tools for helping with colour design.

Last week, I posted some suggestions for making your Excel charts bright and shiny. However, there are all kinds of data to analyze and endless infographics you can develop. If you need help choosing colour schemes or matching shades, here are a few tools you might find handy. These will allow you to work around the yukky "themes" Excel provides (you can even save new themes you create) or create images---even if you are "tone deaf" when it comes to the visual world.

One of the simplest tools to use is the Color Scheme Designer.
The site allows you to easily look at a variety of colour schemes and then tells you the exact RGB combination to use.

Or, head over to Kuler. On this site, people develop a variety of colour schemes and upload them. There, you can search through the themes, adjust them to suit your own needs (if so desired) and grab the values to use in your own designs.

Is there a colour you like---perhaps one you've seen in a photo or other image? Grab it with Color Cop. It's free to download and install on your computer and is available in many different languages. Use the eyedropper to sample a colour from an existing image. The tool will tell you the RGB value, as well as the hexidecimal key. It will also show you a complimentary colour scheme.

So, go ahead, make your charts, graphs, and other designs feel pretty. Your audience will be glad you did.

Bonus Round
Don't know how to input the colour values into Excel? You have two options. One is to use the colour menu for fill or font associated with any menu. For example,

Then, choose "More Colors." Make sure you use the "Custom" tab in the window that pops up. Now, you're ready to rock and roll.

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