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Our team of writers brings you daily trend coverage, new products, inspiration, information and fun ideas. With an archive of more than 2,272 articles, you're sure to find something you love. Or if you have a great idea, let us know!

Contest: Photo Color Inspiration with LuckyOliver

Contest: Photo Color Inspiration with LuckyOliver


LuckyOliver is a growing stock photo marketplace that helps creative people buy and sell images. LuckyOliver's quality, low cost stock photos are used by designers, small businesses, marketers and DIY enthusiasts.

The Contest is Now Closed.

Wow! So many amazing entries. We're now looking at the more than 1,500 entries to find the winners of the contest. We'll be posting the results very soon. Thank you to all who shared some of your color inspiration.

Contest Details:

LuckyOliver.com is a great place to get wonderful stock photos at a good price... and COLOURlovers is a great place to share color ideas and inspiration. With your help we want to showcase some of the great photos on LuckyOliver and also your color loving talents at making color palettes. All you need to do to enter this contest is create a color palette inspired by a photo on LuckyOliver. We know you love sharing your color inspiration with others and now we're giving you the opportunity to win some awesome prizes for doing exactly what you love to do... So crank up your inspiration motors and start sharing the photo and color love.

This content will end March 17th and the winners will be announced on both COLOURlovers and LuckyOliver.com. Winners will be selected for the best palettes that captured the spirit / mood of the inspiration photo. Enter early and enter often.

How to Enter:

 

Step 1

Browse the great images at LuckyOliver.com and choose one that inspires you.
browse_images.jpg
 

Step 2

Save the watermarked photo preview to your computer
save_image.jpg
 
And Copy the URL to the photo
copy_url.jpg
 

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Navigating by Color in Maps

Navigating by Color in Maps


The basic functionality of a map is based exclusively on the ability of the map to be correctly interpreted by, well, everyone, including people who might be from out of town, who don't speak the native language, and have, in fact, never actually been to a city before. It is also important that the map be clear, concise and properly relate to the geography of the area. And since it is easier to tell if something is red or blue, rather than a U or a V, using many pretty colors will make it much easier to use, and, well, pretty.

So where did all the color come from?

imgby KICK Map

The current color system depicted on official subway maps (for New York City) was proposed by R. Raleigh D'Adamo, a lawyer who entered a contest sponsored by the Transit Authority in 1964. D'Adamo proposed replacing a map that used only three colors (representing the three operating entities of the subway network) with a map that used a different color for each line.

"Fundamental to my idea," Mr. D'Adamo said,"was the extensive use of color coding to indicate the various subway lines, and abandoning the old tradition of using only three colors, one for each of the original three companies."

Hagstrom had made his first map of the New York subway in 1936 with the IND in red, IRT in blue, and the BMT lines in yellow (later changed to green).

At the time, the London Underground used eight colors to represent eight subway lines. Paris employed eight colors for fifteen lines. New York used only three colors for 34 lines.The inescapable conclusion, Mr. D'Adamo argued in his winning entry, was that "maps of New York subways are trying to make too few colors do too much work."
- How the Subway Map Got its Color

Latest MTA Redesign

img
imgby KICK Map Lower Manhatten

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Is Visual Taste Perception Coloring Your Appetite?

Is Visual Taste Perception Coloring Your Appetite?


Is yellow sweet like a banana or sour like a lemon? From casual observations of our own eating we know that the visual 'taste' of food can be just as important as the ingredients in a dish. But how much does your internalized color and food associations - the ones we started developing from the very first time we saw our mothers' arm reach across and place before us a dark green round leafy Brussels sprout - impact what you are tasting now, and how are food producers exploiting this information to influence consumers?

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Some recent research might make you think twice about what you are tasting, and whether or not you might just be seeing a difference.

Food Color Research

juice_colors.jpg

A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research entitled, Taste Perception: More than Meets the Tongue:

The researchers manipulated orange juice by changing color (with food coloring), sweetness (with sugar), or by labeling the cups with brand and quality information. They found that though brand name influenced people's preferences for one cup of juice over another, labeling one cup a premium brand and the other an inexpensive store brand had no effect on perceptions of taste.

In contrast, the tint of the orange juice had a huge effect on the taster's perceptions of taste. As the authors put it: "Color dominated taste."

Given two cups of the same Tropicana orange juice, with one cup darkened with food coloring, the members of the researcher's sample group perceived differences in taste that did not exist. However, when given two cups of orange juice that were the same color, with one cup sweetened with sugar, the same people failed to perceive taste differences.

"It seems unlikely that our consumers deliberately eschewed taste for color as a basis for discrimination," write the authors. "Moreover, our consumers succumbed to the influence of color but were less influenced by the powerful lure of brand and price information."

- ScienceDaily: More Than Meets The Tongue: Color Of A Drink Can Fool The Taste Buds Into Thinking It Is Sweeter

Meaning, people thought the orange juice tasted different when there was no actual taste difference just because it was a slightly different color, but when the color remained the same, and the actual taste was changed, people didn't taste a difference.

More Food Color Research

steak_fries.jpg

During one experiment in the early 1970s people were served an oddly tinted meal of steak and french fries that appeared normal beneath colored lights. Everyone thought the meal tasted fine until the lighting was changed. Once it became apparent that the steak was actually blue and the fries were green, some people became ill.

Studies have found that the color of a food can greatly affect how its taste is perceived. Brightly colored foods frequently seem to taste better than bland-looking foods, even when the flavor compounds are identical. Foods that somehow look off-color often seem to have off tastes. For thousands of years human beings have relied on visual cues to help determine what is edible. The color of fruit suggests whether it is ripe, the color of meat whether it is rancid. Flavor researchers sometimes use colored lights to modify the influence of visual cues during taste tests.
-Excerpt taken from Erice Schlosser's book Fast Food Nation

colored_steak_fries.jpg

Examples of Food That Probably Shouldn't Be the Color It Is

crystal_pepsi.jpg
Crystal Pepsi
I think my first experience with Crystal Pepsi went something like this: "Alright Pepsi has a new lemon lime soda! Oh, wait! Why does it taste like cola!? Weird."

orange_cheese.jpg
Dairy
The last time I saw a cow produce bright yellow milk was when I wondered off from Woodstock into a neighboring farm. There I met a sociable hen named Margery who introduced me to that magical and mysterious milk cow.

cereal_colors.jpg
Cereal
And any other highly processed food targeted towards the most rational of consumers, children. But the bright colors do make it more exciting.
 
 
- Check out these previous food color posts:
Color Guide to Staying Healthy and Eating Right
Wonders of the Food Coloring World

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Bolts From the Blue: The Electric Colors of Lightning

Bolts From the Blue: The Electric Colors of Lightning


Though a lightning bolt radiates pure white light, various atmospheric conditions can tint the brilliant flash into a rainbow of electrical colors. Red, yellow, green, blue, pink, purple, violet, cyan, and orange are all possible lightning colors, depending upon the presence of water vapor, dust, pollution, rain, or hail.

Just as lightning is said never to strike twice in the same place, no two lightning bolts are ever exactly the same color. In fact, different branches of the same bolt can exhibit different colors, due to temperature variations. The hotter the bolt, the bluer or whiter it will appear, and the cooler it is, the more orange or red. Because lightning heats the air as it travels, the presence of different gasses will also lend color as they ignite.

Lightning Colors
By jahdakine.

Weather expert Dan Robinson explains that different film stocks, exposure times, and camera types can also bring colour to lightning. "The same lightning channel can appear blue, purple, red or orange depending on the type of film, length of exposure, and other factors. Slide film is more likely to produce a more purple/blue image, while print film tends to give lightning a more yellow/orange tint."

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The Art of Color: Rothko Meets Web2.0

The Art of Color: Rothko Meets Web2.0


I've always liked the artwork of Mark Rothko. They are simple enough to enjoy with only a passing glance, but powerful enough to absorb large amounts of time considering the emotions and meanings behind the colors and how they interact with each other.

I share a similar appreciation for the hundreds of color palettes that are uploaded to COLOURlovers on a daily basis. They can be quickly appreciated as you scroll by them, but some of will jump out and grab you on personal level. And the ones that grab you could be the ones that another person scrolls on past... These little palettes become mini-artworks that can express emotion and ideas.

As basic as color is, it is a very powerful form of expression.

rothko_painting.jpg

"Rothko's work is characterized by rigorous attention to formal elements such as color, shape, balance, depth, composition, and scale; yet, he refused to consider his paintings solely in these terms. He explained: It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well painted. This is the essence of academicism. There is no such thing as good painting about nothing."
  Mark Rothko - National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

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Vinyl Toys: Invasion of the Color Snatchers

Vinyl Toys: Invasion of the Color Snatchers


People that have been in love with toys have likely been in love with them for a long time. That is the heart of many of today's premier vinyl designers, which may be the reason for the bold statements they make in both design and color. For those of you unfamiliar with this popular trend, you may be startled to find what an intense source of color and beauty the designer vinyl toy universe can offer.

Vinyl Toys
img by delarge

Designer vinyl started to pop up around 1990. It was coming from radically different sources: Some designers were classically trained in art and design, while others were self taught. My own personal discovery of designer vinyl started with Toy2r's Qee bears, around 1997. The 2" bear shaped toy with Mickey Mouse ears quickly became a ubiquitous symbol of designer vinyl, not to mention a great inspiration for artists everywhere. By taking something as simple as a toy and projecting art onto it, a new creation was born -- a highly accessible art form to people of all ages and backgrounds.

vinyl and plush toys
img by Andy Woo

The look quickly caught on and spread to other forms of toy art. "Designer plush" was true to the same artistic ideals as designer vinyl, but made use of the medium to make its own unique statement. One of the most popular plush designers is Friends with You, a Miami based company that is heavily inspired by Miami's strong design aesthetic. These toys have also become highly collectible and much sought after, making it cool to have a shelf of "stuffed animals" in the house again.

group_shot_vinyl_toys.jpg
img by revlimit

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Free Advanced DHTML Color Picker

Free Advanced DHTML Color Picker


When we were developing COPASO, we found that we needed to have a more advanced color picker to work inside the application... and since COPASO is built with DHTML it was easy enough to pull out the picker to use on the other creation pages of our site. Once we'd modularized the color picker code it made sense to offer it to others to use on their own sites and projects. So here is the code to get our Color Picker working on your site for free. (We'll even host the files)

License: Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
If you have a need that doesn't fit the license above, contact us.

COLOURlovers Color Picker Demo

 

Here is the Code You Need & Examples...


Put this Code into Your HTML <head> Section:
<link rel="stylesheet" href="http://colourlovers.com.s3.amazonaws.com/COLOURloversColorPicker/COLOURloversColorPicker.css" type="text/css" media="all" />
<script type="text/JavaScript" src="http://colourlovers.com.s3.amazonaws.com/COLOURloversColorPicker/js/COLOURloversColorPicker.js"></script>
Put this Code into Your HTML <body> Section:
<div id="CLCP" class="CLCP"></div>
<script type="text/JavaScript">
_whichField = "hexValue_0";
CLCPHandler = function(_hex) {
// This function gets called by the picker when the sliders are being dragged. The variable _hex contains the current hex value from the picker
// This code serves as an example only, here we use it to do three things:
// Here we simply drop the variable _hex into the input field, so we can see what the hex value coming from the picker is:
document.getElementById(_whichField).value = _hex;
// Here is where we color the BG of a div to preview the color:
document.getElementById("CLCPUpdateDiv").style.background = ("#" + _hex);
// Giving you control over this function really puts the reigns in your hands. Rewrite this function as you see fit to really take control of this color picker.
}
// Settings:
_CLCPdisplay = "none"; // Values: "none", "block". Default "none"
_CLCPisDraggable = true; // Values: true, false. Default true
_CLCPposition = "absolute"; // Values: "absolute", "relative". Default "absolute"
_CLCPinitHex = "0039B3"; // Values: Any valid hex value. Default "ffffff"
CLCPinitPicker();
</script>

 

Picker Attached to a Single Text Field:

Show picker and load the color to the left

Single Text Field Example Code

<input name="YourInputName" id="hexValue_0" style="width: 100px;" maxlength="6" value="0000FF" />
<a href="JavaScript:_whichField='hexValue_0';CLCPshowPicker({_hex: document.getElementById('hexValue_0').value});">Show picker and load the color to the left</a>

 

Picker Attached to Multiple Text Fields:

Show picker at x=300, y=1400 and don't update it's color

Show picker at x=12, y=1400 and load the color to the left

Show picker and load the color to the left

Show picker at mouse click and don't update it's color

Show picker at mouse click and don't update it's color [Example with an image]


Multiple Text Field Example Code:


<input name="YourInputName" id="multipleHexValue_0" style="width: 100px;" maxlength="6" value="FFFFFF" />
<a href="JavaScript:_whichField='multipleHexValue_0';CLCPshowPicker({_x: 300,_y: 200});">Show picker at x=300, y=200 and don't update it's color</a>
<input name="YourInputName" id="multipleHexValue_1" style="width: 100px;" maxlength="6" value="18AB49" />
<a href="JavaScript:_whichField='multipleHexValue_1';CLCPshowPicker({_hex: document.getElementById('multipleHexValue_1').value,_x: 12,_y: 400});">Show picker at x=12, y=400 and load the color to the left</a>
<input name="YourInputName" id="multipleHexValue_2" style="width: 100px;" maxlength="6" value="FF0000" />
<a href="JavaScript:_whichField='multipleHexValue_2';CLCPshowPicker({_hex: document.getElementById('multipleHexValue_2').value});">Show picker and load the color to the left</a>
<input name="YourInputName" id="multipleHexValue_3" style="width: 100px;" maxlength="6" value="FFFFFF" />
<a href="JavaScript:_whichField='multipleHexValue_3';CLCPshowPicker();">Show picker at mouse click and don't update it's color</a>
<input name="YourInputName" id="multipleHexValue_4" style="width: 100px;" maxlength="6" value="000000" />
<img src="http://colourlovers.com.s3.amazonaws.com/images/v3/color_wheel.png" style="vertical-align: -20%; cursor: pointer;" onclick="_whichField = 'multipleHexValue_4'; CLCPshowPicker();" alt="Show picker at mouse click and don't update it's color" title="Show picker at mouse click and don't update it's color" /> [Example with an image]

 

Here is a break down of the object passed to CLCPshowPicker()


{
_hex: "FF4400", // When a valid hex value is passed, it will set the picker to this hex. Otherwise the picker will not change it's current color [if any].
_x: 12, // If a x coordinate is passed, the picker will move to the x value. Otherwise, the x coordinate from the mouse click will be used.
_y: 400 // If a y coordinate is passed, the picker will move to the y value. Otherwise, the y coordinate from the mouse click will be used.
// All of these variables are optional
}

 

Feb. 24, 2008 - Update
Fixed a bug in IE where users couldn't click-drag-highlight other objects within the page.

May 1, 2008 - Update
Fixed a conflict this script had with jQuery. Thanks to Ozh at planetOzh.com for the report!

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Happy Blue Year: 2008 Color Trends

Happy Blue Year: 2008 Color Trends


According to color supplier Pantone®, the color of 2008 is Blue Iris. The blue is a radiant, calming hue, dark, but not dark enough to be in the realm of navy, and is a sharp contrast to the 2007 choice, Chili Pepper Red.

"From a color forecasting perspective, we have chosen PANTONE 18-3943 Blue Iris as the color of the year, as it best represents color direction in 2008 for fashion, cosmetics and home products," explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. "As a reflection of the times, Blue Iris brings together the dependable aspect of blue, underscored by a strong, soul-searching purple cast."

18-3943 Blue Iris P-tone of the Years

Pantone has chosen some form of blue for Color of the Year in 2000, 2003, and 2005. Now, Blue Iris is it in 2008.

Is Blue The New Green?

Other professionals disagree with Pantone’s choice. Margaret Walsh, director of the Color Association, says her color of 2008 is bamboo. She believes the strong green, hinted with yellow, represents the changing social desire to be more environmentally clean.

“My color for 2008 is bamboo.” A yellowed green, chosen from the association’s interior palette, she said, it “represents the stable green that is most on people’s minds.” She said it’s similar to a hue called Vineyard, adding: “I feel it just has a power. You know, these are very insecure times.”
Pantone's Color of the Year Is...

bamboo
img by nelanah

Some Bamboo Color Inspiration
Bamboo Cocktail Fresh Bamboo

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COPASO : Color Palette Software

COPASO : Color Palette Software


We've been working on an advanced / pro color palette tool for quite some time and finally have it ready enough to share with you. We're still fine tuning and adding more updates... but we feel like this is the best color palette tool you'll find... if you don't think so, let us know what you'd like us to add or improve and we'll keep striving to give you the best experience anywhere.

Try COPASO : Color Palette Software Now

Click Here for a Larger Video Demo (Narrated and presented by Andrew Sorcini)

COPASO is an advanced color palette tool that helps you create the perfect color schemes and themes. With a scratch pad to save colors you're working with, a photo tool to extract colors and an advanced color picker and color theory wheel to give you tons of color inspiration. Using COPASO you can save your palettes to a private folder or download them to keep on your local computer. When you're ready, click publish and share your color palette with thousands of other color enthusiasts. If you're finding COPASO a bit too rich you're your color creating tastes, you can always use our basic color palette tool.
 
 

Custom Color Widths... Base, Secondary and Accent

 

With COPASO you can give each color a specific amount of space in your color palettes. This will help you show what colors you intend to be the base colors, secondary and accent colors. Click and drag the <|> icons above the color squares to change their widths.

 

 

Save Colors to Your Scratch Pad

 

You can save a color you're working with by clicking and dragging it down to the scratch area. To set a main color above with one of the colors in your scratch, simply double-click the color in your scratch.

 

 

Get Color Inspiration from Pictures

 

Advanced Color Picker and Color Wheel

The new advanced color picker in COPASO allows for even more precise color selection. You have hue, saturation and brightness sliders as well as input areas for Hex, RGB, HSV and CMYK color values.

Also built into the advanced color picker are gradient step filters that will allow you to see any color with steps towards white or with steps towards black. To work with any of the colors in this filter, simply click and drag the filter color strip to the right of the color wheel onto your scratch area.

Below the picker is our color wheel and color formula filters. By selecting one of the formula filters (Blend, Complementary, Triadic Tetradic or Split Complementary) the color wheel will allow you to spin the selected color around by clicking anywhere on the wheel. Once you've found some great colors in the preview bar on the right, all you need to do is drag the bar to your scratch area to begin using those colors.

Double-clicking any of the color squares in the preview bar will update the main color picker to that color and give you a new perspective on your selected color filters.

 

As mentioned above, we're very proud of COPASO and hope you'll find it very useful for all your professional and hobby color projects. COPASO couldn't have been built without the expert programming of Chris Williams and the design work of Stephen Hallgren. Last but not least the hundreds of thousands of COLOURlovers who have helped us build and grow our color community and who've provided us with great advice, suggestions and inspiration over the years.

Happy COLOURloving!

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Color Inspiration: Sushi

Color Inspiration: Sushi


Food seems a popular source of color inspiration here at COLOURlovers and one of my favorites types of food is sushi.

So while searching for other COLOURlovers who might also be sushi lovers, I was pleasantly surprised to be in good company after stumbling across subsomatic’s all-you-can-eat-sushi post. And, after a quick keyword: sushi search, I discovered 130+ palettes inspired by sushi!

Raw Fish?

OK, for some, the words raw and fish hardly sound appetizing but fresh raw fish is served in many ways and in many different countries and cultures. Carpaccio, ceviche, poke, tartare, gravlax are just a few.

But, sushi is not raw fish. In Japan, sliced fresh raw fish served alone is called sashimi. Also, sushi can be sushi with fish — cooked or uncooked — or without fish. What makes sushi different from sashimi is the sushi rice (rice with vinegar or shari). Since sushi is created in a variety of ways depending on the combination of ingredients, sliced fresh raw fish prepared with sushi rice is just one variation of this culinary art form.

Red Snapper sashimi
img by ulterior epicure

Fast Food Origins

While often perceived as designer food especially when dolled up and served in upscale establishments, sushi as it is known today, originates from the streets of Tokyo. It all started with one man with a simple stall:

Yohei Hanaya, was the first person to shape vinegared rice with his hands and then crown it with a slice of raw fish - prompted, it's said, by impatient customers, who couldn't be bothered to wait for the traditional pressing in a box.

(Source: The Observer Food Monthly)

Apparently his creativity became all the rage simply because of convenience. It was the finger food 1820’s Tokyo. And, even then because of the lack of refrigeration, debate continues about how much of Mr. Hanaya’s sushi fish was actually served raw.

Global Variation on a Theme

Nigiri sushi hasn’t changed much in the last couple of centuries and still remains one of the more popular types of sushi perhaps only second to maki sushi.

For those not familiar with the difference, here’s a quick rundown (with photos) of some of the more common types of sushi:

Nigiri sushi: Prepared with a small mound of sushi rice formed by the hands into an oval shape with a topping such as sliced fish. A small amount of wasabi is placed between the sushi rice and topping. Sometimes it is wrapped with thin band of nori, a type of seaweed.
Plate of Nigri Sushi
img by kenyai

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