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Chapter 1. Finding Inspiration > Creativity Tools — Color Charts and More

Creativity Tools — Color Charts and More

Sometimes, it's hard to visualize what colors will look like when you design a site from scratch. Fortunately, you can easily experiment with different colors in Fireworks or Dreamweaver when you lay out the elements of your design, such as the banner, navigation menu, text, and so on. But when you're under the gun to create a site quickly, it helps to have a bit of inspiration or a tool to help you in your quest. The following list shows some books you can use to inspire your creativity, aid you in choosing colors, and show you some inspiring design ideas:

  • Creativity for Graphic Designers: A Real‐World Guide to Idea Generation, by Mark Oldach (North Light Books): This book isn't filled with eye candy. Instead, it guides you through processes you can use to come up with ideas. The author also explains the process of creating a good design.

  • Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, by Julia Cameron (Tarcher): This book is 14 years old, yet it still contains a wealth of information on being creative. The author leads you through a comprehensive, 12‐week course on recovering your creativity from things such as limiting beliefs, self‐sabotage, jealousy, and other things that deter your creativity.

  • How To Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day, by Michael Gelb (Dell): This insightful book lists seven principles found in Leonardo da Vinci's thinking and creative process and shows how to tap into these principles and use them in your own work.

  • Color Index: Over 1100 Color Combinations, CMYK and RGB Formulas, For Print and Web Media, by Jim Krause (How Design Books): Keep this handy reference on a bookshelf near your computer. The book is divided into several sections that show color combinations for print and Web. Each color combination shows a graphic using the colors and swatches that list the components needed to create the color using the CMYK and RGB color models. The swatches in the Web design section are designated in hexadecimal format and the RGB color model.

  • Color: A Course in Mastering the Art of Mixing Colors, by Betty Edwards (Tarcher): This book delves into color theory. While much of the information is geared towards the artist, you can use the information to create harmonious colors for your Web designs. The author gives you an understanding of primary, secondary, and tertiary colors and shows you how to use the color wheel to understand color values and intensity.

If you're really color challenged, consider purchasing an application such as Color Schemer (www.colorschemer.com). Color Schemer features a color wheel and a section known as Photo Schemer, which enables you to create a color palette using colors from a photo. As of this writing, Color Schemer Studio retails for $49.99.


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