Daily Posts. Colorful Ideas & Inspirations.
Our team of writers brings you daily trend coverage, new products, inspiration, information and fun ideas. With an archive of more than 1,862 articles, you're sure to find something you love. Or if you have a great idea, let us know!
If you’re a big film, tv, or theatre buff, you’ve probably witnessed a fair amount of subtext. This principle can be applied to more than just those mediums though! Today, we explore how you use the lens of subtext to look at your website and improve your digital presence by uniting your color scheme with your actual text.
First though, what is subtext? Think about it as the underlying theme or message in a conversation. In film, it can be seen with lighting choices, costumes, a character’s body language and really anything that isn’t apart of the actual dialog. I’ll use the movie Jurassic Park as an example.
Business or fan pages on Facebook are becoming increasingly used by small businesses. They allow for exposure to prospective customers as well as continued communication to current clientele, so their popularity is pretty justified!
If you're looking to create a fan page for your small business, your best bet is to present a polished experience for your fans (and potential fans) by designing a landing page for your profile. It’s a chance for you to tell users what you’re about, what you’re doing on Facebook, and ultimately why they should “like” you. We had the pleasure of creating just such a page for our client, Sterling Finance Company.
There’s no doubt that it’s valuable, but creating that page also presents you with a number of variables to decide on. This post explores several solutions via our favorite topic at COLOURlovers: Color!
What we love more than anything is helping people share their ideas & inspirations. A couple years ago we added the ability for members to color in 100 preset pattern templates and we saw your creativity flourish, but we also saw an even greater opportunity... To give you all the power to design your own pattern templates!
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And without being able to save your work, import your own custom shapes, work only in grayscale... and with only our simple web version of Seamless, in the past 12 months our awesome members created more than 80,000 original seamless patterns.
So it's with great excitement for the amazing creations that will be shared that we release the more powerful desktop version of Seamless Studio!
Special COLOURlovers Member Price
And as a special thank you to all our supportive members here at COLOURlovers, we're giving you a $20 discount on the regular price of $49, just for being a member. Thanks for Sharing the Love!
A Showcase of Amazing Seamless Patterns
It truly is magical what you all are able to create using simple shapes and only 5 colors... Check out the Showcase to see some examples of the wonderful patterns being created with Seamless Studio. Or check it out for yourself, Download a FREE 15 Day Trial of Seamless Studio...
Beautiful, Easy to Use & Affordable
Existing pattern design tools & software were expensive, hard to use & not much fun to play with. So as part of our mission to make design super easy and accessible to everyone, we made a beautiful, user friendly & affordable vector pattern design app. These are just some of the features we packed into Seamless Studio:
Import Custom Shapes
Open SVGs from other editors to use in your patterns.
Export to Other Formats
Save your pattern as a SVG, PNG, or JPG image.
Layers / Groups
Organize and rearrange shapes simply.
Save / Open
Create projects and come back to them later.
Upload your patterns straight to COLOURlovers.com.
Create wavy, sawtooth, straight, dashed, and dotted lines.
Export SVGs that scale beautifully to any resolution.
Start Sharing Your Patterns with the World!
Not only can you publish your patterns right to COLOURlovers.com from the app, you can also export your patterns as high res files to use in your own creative projects. Upload them to Spoonflower to get custom fabric! Print them out and sell them as part of a craft pack on Etsy! Turn a pattern into beautiful wall art with Imagekind! ...Woohoo!
Like so many houses on so many home makeover shows, some business’ websites simply need a makeover. Getting a website redesign doesn’t mean that the business itself doesn’t deliver amazing work, they could even be the best in their industry, it just means they aren’t articulating it digitally...yet!
While there are many aspects to a successful makeover, the most important is color choice. Think back to those TV shows. Arguably the largest change in the house with a purple exterior and bright teal accents was the switch to mature, subdued pebble-tones accenting a calm, cool columbia blue. Or the living room done in carnation pink with lemon-yellow daisies transformed to buttercream trim on pale moss walls.
Whether dealing with a house or a website, color is the most visually transformative aspect of any makeover. While content, layout, and user experience are inextricably tied to great digital design (I can’t even begin to explain how important each of those are...), the use of color will be our focus today in examining digital metamorphoses.
From Craptacular to Banktacular!
When we were approached by Central Florida Postal Credit Union to give their brand and their site a facelift, we had our work cut out for us. After initial strategy meetings, we were able to suss out what they wanted their digital brand to say about them: CFPCU is reliable and caring. That meant that a visit to their site needed to be enjoyable, educational, and easy to navigate.
Unfortunately, their old site did not relay that clearly.
While the colors present aren’t the most clash-worthy I’ve ever seen (they’re simply a muted variation of primary colors), those colors say soft, calm harmony as opposed to trusted, attentive, and dependable.
There are some colors, when paired together, that just look good. They make sense, they match. There are also those colors which, put side by side, make your eyes burn. Ok, maybe not actually burn, but you know what I mean.
The question is: why? Why do certain color combinations look serene or exciting and others garish or completely boring? I want to explore the why of color combinations, some of the science and some of the psychology and how you, as a business person, can put those colors to work for you.
Covering Some Color Basics - Intro to Color Theory 101
Before we dive into the “why” of certain color schemes and how to use them to speak to your potential clients, let’s cover some color basics to make sure we’re all on the same page. COLOURlover pros and veterans, feel free to jump to the next section.
For the purpose of this post, I’ll be using the Red/Yellow/Blue color model as the primary colors on our subtractive color wheel (this subtractive wheel is what painters and artists use). For a look at the use of the Cyan/Magenta/Yellow color model used by printers, feel free to take a look at our recents posts discussing RGB versus CMYK conversions.
The Red/Yellow/Blue color model is what most of us grew up learning. Arranged in correspondence with the wavelengths of light, the original color wheel was invented by Isaac Newton. We wrote a complete history of the various color wheels recently, if you are curious and want to know more.
The color wheel that most are familiar with usually looks like this:
Secondary colors on this wheel are made by combining 2 primary colors. Likewise, tertiary colors are formed by mixing a primary and a secondary hue.
Source: Eva Williams
If you're currently working on a color scheme for a website or business identity and are looking for colors to use you can keep up with the color trends by looking here on COLOURlovers and keeping up with websites featured on sites like designcreme, there are many others such sites.
Most Love Colors May 2011
Recent Web Color Trends
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Can you believe it? COLOURlovers is up for a Best Community nomination AGAIN! This makes 5-years running, a record for Webby Nominations (pending confirmation from the Webby people). The Webby Awards are billed as the Oscars of the internet, and being nominated this many years in a row just keeps emphasizing how much love we get from our community. You are all truly great lovers!
We Need Your Vote + Love!
The Webby website can be a little overwhelming so don't turn tail and run the first moment you check out where to vote! Plus, you are allowed ONLY ONE VOTE per category (i.e. can only pick one community to win).
Step 1: Register to Vote
Yep, to vote you must be a registered voter. It's pretty quick and painless: www.webby.aol.com
Step 2: Find COLOURlovers Under the COMMUNITY Category
From the main menu hover over WEBSITES and find the COMMUNITY category. Remember to be logged in as a REGISTERED USER.
Step 3: The Ballot
When you get to the COMMUNITY page, you'll notice a bunch of categories above and below it. Of course ignore those and get straight to your vote! HERE IS A DIRECT LINK TO THE BALLOT
Bonus Step: Tell Them Why We Rock!
Chances are we won't win a popularity contest with Twitter, which has more than 200 Million users... But we can show them how passionate and supportive our smaller community is by leaving a comment of what you love about COLOURlovers. Once you've cast your vote, you can click the COLOURlovers name to view our entry page... and at the bottom is the comment area for you to share the love.
Help Spread the COLOURlove
We will be tweeting and facebooking this DAILY, so Re-Tweets, Shares and more will be much appreciated - You can TWEET or SHARE this article on your Twitter/Facebook too!
Tell your friends and family, leave fliers on cars at your local grocers, facebook it, Twitter it, rent a billboard to shout it to the world! You can also add a nifty little badge to your blog and/or website and anywhere else that accepts an HTML badge.
COPY either badge code below and PASTE to your blog/site:
An Awesomely Supportive Community - That's You!
We love our color community and appreciate all the support you give us day in and day out. COLOURlovers is ever growing in numbers and functionality. We wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for each and every lover on COLOURlovers. What once was a whim, a weekend idea from our uber-cool founder Darius (aka COLOURlover), is now a thriving, loving community. You just don't see this much passion in other communities. So thank you times a million and stay awesome!
Thanks to the COLOURlovers who contributed to the Clients From Hell book giveaway and Pattern From Hell Challenge! We got some pretty cool patterns as well as some funny low-key patterns. Give yourselves a pat on the back!
I'm wishing I had four books to give away because there was a tiebreaker...and number four was still a great contributor. Alas, I only have three...so let's see who gets them!
The most LOVED pattern was contributed by mooberri. Using some well placed basic shapes and a minimal color palette it turned out quite nice I think! Congrats!
Mooberri's personal Client From Hell experience:
"Well my friend is the CD at one if the best design firms in Canada and i know how to use Photoshop so i know a lot about design." - This was said as the client pulled out hideous fliers he had designed.
Best Runner up!
I wanted to give a shout and pat on the back to sec9586 for her funny contribution of "It needs to POP!" She came in just behind the tie (above).
She posted that her favorite ClientFromHell.net quote was:
CLIENT: “Don’t worry, my daughter is very artsy, so I’m used to dealing with you people and your train of thought.” - story of my life lol - says sec9586
The pattern description is very funny too so don't miss that.
"If I hear one more client tell me that my design needs to POP, I'm going to POP their little head right off."
Overall, thanks to everyone again for contributing in both patterns, comments and votes. It was a fun contest and we had some laughs about some pretty crazy clients we've all had!
If you've been waiting ALL DAY today for the results to who won copies of the Smashing Book #2 Giveaway, they're in!
And the winners are...
I am a student as well as a freelance web and print designer. I love looking through design books for inspiration on any topics I may be working on at any given time. The vast amount of information that can be contained in a book has always endeared them to me (not just the pretty pictures:). - comment from CaffeinatedLifeForm
I'm a college student that's starting in the wonderful and magical world of freelance web design mostly because I've been doing it for fun over the last few years (and might as well do it for profit then).Also I'm just starting and haven't been able to scrape together the cash for either of the Smashing Books which saddens me. Does it help if I throw in a picture of a cute kitten? - comment from Dextro
***Winners will be sent love notes. You will have seven (7) days to claim your winnings or I will draw another from the batch of contestants***
I am a web developer, that needs a little more insight into web design to merge them blurry lines into one. I also do some freelance work which leans heavy on web design, and i need to streamline my workflow a little.. so the wire framing section in particular sounds great. - comment from andyardener
What a successful contest! I truly wish that we had a book for each and every person who made an effort to write down what they do and why you want the book. You all deserve a free copy!!
Stay tuned (via RSS) for future giveaways and contests which should be happening more regularly on the blog. Speaking of which, head on over to our latest contest:
Don't go anywhere!!! There's a super fantastic book giveaway after our feature presentation!
Just holding this book makes me go, "ahhh..."
Everyone is raving about the quality of book #2 compared to book #1 (or published media in general). I don't blame them. I almost didn't mention it, because everyone else has, but that was ALSO my initial thought upon receiving my copy of the book. Straight from the box, I instinctively noticed these things in this order:
First, I noticed that I can plop it in my purse, no problem (and I don't carry an overly-large purse!). It's not too heavy or too many square/cubic inches. That's important, because I dread getting a great book, but eyeballing how thick it is sometimes hurts as I rarely have time for reading real books. My arms aren't going to fall off trying to hold it up while I'm laying in bed reading it.
Second, most definitely the quality. Smashing Magazine did not skimp on getting this little ditty published. Quality, stitch-bound, hard cover and hefty pages that produce sharp graphics. It's a nice tight number that you'll probably keep on your desk or prop on a shelf just because it's so pretty.
Third, artwork and graphics, amazing! They seriously couldn't go wrong with using Yiying Lu (yes, forever known as the creator of the famous Fail Whale from Twitter.com). But seriously, who can resist that kind of work, I know my three year old can't! What three year old do you know peruses a web and graphic design book with focus and interest? I will admit mine has a great attention span, but still... I'm caught flipping through the pages simply studying the chapter artwork. I have to laugh at myself.
Fourth and last, the cutest little ribbon bookmark comes attached. What a nice little touch! I bet this is the most talked about ribbon bookmark in the history of books. I suppose I will not be lazily dog-earing my new book.
So hands down on the book construction and makeup. Smashing you get a full applause in that area (I think everyone else would agree, no?)!
My thoughts from reading & perusing...
- #1 The Principles of Great Graphic Deisign
- #2 Visible vs. Invisible Design
- #3 Designing Mobile User Experiences
- #4 Sketching, Wireframing and Prototyping
- #5 Red Flags (Warning Signs) in Web Development
- #6 The Future of Web Typeography
- #7 Applying Game Design Principles to User Experience Design
- #8 When they Click: Psychology of Web Design and User Behavior
- #9 Design Patterns in e-Commerce Websites (Study)
- #10 How to Make a Book (Like this One)
I realize that you can make something look pretty dang great, but fill it with garbage. Not in this case. I might be a bit bias because I am a HUGE fan of Smashing Magazine and the fantastic information they continue to provide to the design and web communities.... I will note, however, that the previous Smashing Book #1 seemed somewhat of a letdown to a "few" folks, which has become more prevailiant with Book #2 being such a positive hit and maybe with more of a comeback in the comparisons being made.
My primary area is Design. Both in print and web. And I will openly admit, I'm not ever going to be in the one of the top designers of the world because of this and that - so a book like this is absolutely PERFECT for me. I think anyone who wants a nice review, more insight
What I enjoyed in the first chapter was the correlation between the two, how different and yet similar they are.
"It stands to reason, then, that the process of design involves making deliberate and appropriate graphical choices in order to best communicate the intended message. This applies as much to designing for the Web as it does to designing for print." - excerpt, page 15
What I most enjoyed about this chapter was it's focus on using design effectively and timelessly. When I was reading through the pages of Timeless Thinking - which included talk about simplicity, adding too much gaudy junk (aka ornaments), minimalism, contrast, space and tension... it really brought me back to the basics in art school and working with drawing techniques. Sometimes I feel that I start a project over-designing and after I get that part about needing to impress the client out of my system and go minimal, it never fails to be the winning pick - this chapter was a kick in the pants refresher.
Then I read on to variations of Type and its effectiveness as well as the role it plays. Overall, a golden chapter to set your path a little straighter or teach you a few things.
"While a good graphic designer works to create an attractive design for the client, a great graphic designer pushes further, striving to understand the crux of the project's objective. The great designer builds on the various concepts ..." - excerpt, page 44
My other favorite, is chapter 7: Applying Game Design Principles to User Experience Design. What I most enjoyed was the play off of understanding the correlation between the two to make an easier way to think about UX Design. My favorite part starting with the section, The Name of the Game which goes through each of the five key attributes of the "game" of online interaction. It became a fun way to think about UX Design.
In conclusion, I like that the end of each chapter will sum up with a number of useful resources, about the author, some history from that section and even a nice extra Reading List for more in-depth study on a subject if interested - actually, I would have liked more reading resources at the ends of more chapters. I thought that was very helpful and resourceful to place in one area, instead of having to dig back through my dog-eared and highlighted pages and notes to locate a good resource I just know I marked.
I do find that this book is something I will be keeping on my desk for some time to reference and re-reference when my mind is fogged or fighting to go a direction my gut knows I shouldn't.
Are you tired of hearing me blab blab blab about the book? Are you just dying to get your hands on your own copy? Well here's your chance, we have 3 copies in our giveaway!
Contest Rules are simple. This will be a random drawing of three lucky commenters who provide the following information in their comment:
Please provide what your specialty is be it Design Warlord, Freelance Web Designer or Couch Potato... but seriously, I would like to know what you do for money or fun in the relationship to wanting the book in your grubby little paws.
The contest will run from March 10th, 2011 through March 18th, 2011 - Winners will be announced the following week, Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011. Winners will also be emailed via Love Notes on COLOURlovers.com so make sure you turn your notifications ON for both in-site and email so that I can collect your address and get your prize out ASAP. Contest is for COLOURlovers.com users only, so if you aren't a member, get signed up and get commenting!
update: Did I forget to mention you can of course buy the book here (at SmashingMagazine.com) as well as preview a sample from the book and get other details. Pop on over and check it out!
But wait there's MORE! Apparently there was just too much good stuff to go to print, so Smashing Magazine is GIVING you a FREE eBOOK called The Lost Files (free eBook).
*********SUBMISSION TO THE CONTEST IS CLOSED*********
Results will be posted Tuesday, March 22nd (unless they magically appear on Monday the 21st. ;) Have a great weekend everyone!