The Color Around Us

Courtesy of Herman Miller, Experience of Color is a fascinating exploration of how we perceive color, feel color, how cultures influence our ideas about color, how color communicates, and how we can utilize color. Bibliography and stats included.

What colors are around you in your office, your home? What colors feel good to you, and what colors do you gravitate toward the most? How does your own taste in color influence the websites you visit or leave?

Quite often websites I create for clients utilize existing company logos and colors, some of which I’ve loved and some of which I’ve detested. When I happen to like the colors I genuinely enjoy working out complementary colors, creating the design, and then developing the site. That’s far more enjoyable to me than working with colors that I wouldn’t otherwise choose. It’s only natural to have our own preferences; however, we also need to look beyond our personal taste to think professionally about what works well for the client and choose complementary colors and pleasing color schemes. Hopefully that can be accomplished in such a way that no one would ever guess that you may not be in love with those colors yourself.

How can you choose color schemes that work? How do you know if the colors you choose are appropriate for a client’s business? In addition to the above Herman Miller article, check out the Color section at In addition to color charts and links to more elsewhere, there are links to helpful articles about color, color blindness, color psychology, and more.

Consider going on a color mission around the Web now and then, taking note of color schemes that you like or don’t like and why. Think about whether or not you feel the colors work for the type of site and content. See what you think works and doesn’t work and why you feel that way. Strike up a discussion thread in a design discussion list and ask others what they think about various color schemes, too.

But don’t just look at other websites for color ideas. Take a walk, for example, and observe the colors all around you. One beautiful spring day a few years ago I was walking along a lush garden pathway with my mom. My mom, an amazingly talented artist, stopped in her tracks to admire the breathtakingly beautiful colors in the bark of a huge and majestic eucalyptus tree. As she gently ran her hand over the bark as if it was an old friend, she commented to me that the greatest artists are often inspired by the colors all around them in nature itself like the magnificent colors in that tree bark. I’ve never looked at tree bark in quite the same way since her memorable comment to me that beautiful spring day.

11:15 am, pst16 January, 2003 Comments, Trackbacks ·';}?>

Categories: Design

*/ ?>