Choosing the colors for your new website can get a little crazy.  It’s really not difficult — but with the plethora of tools and resources available,  it can get more complicated than it needs to be. If you’re not careful you can come up with some frightening or obnoxious color combinations. Let’s see what we can learn from Little Boy Blue, and Little Robin Redbreast.

BTW – After 25 years of working in Information Technology (IT) – I still enjoy building the airplane while it’s flying.

Little Boy Blue

Little boy blue, come blow your horn. The sheep’s in the meadow, the cow’s in the corn… you’ve studied hex codes since the day you were born …

Little Boy Blue - children's book - color paletteI tried the color palette generator by DeGraeve, but was frequently unhappy with the results (see above and below).  The tool allows you to upload an image and it automatically generates a color palette from the colors found in the image. Sometimes it provides an interesting color palette, but other times it misses the mark. Where’s the blue?  It’s like the little boy is under a haystack, fast asleep —  or maybe his head’s stuck in a cloud.  

Little Boy Blue - paintingYou’ll need to find a few tools that you’re comfortable with.  My favorite  free online  color selection tools are:

  1. Color Scheme Designer
  2. Kuler (Adobe’s Color Wheel)
  3. PhotoCopa  (from  ColourLovers).

I love simplicity — as you might recall from  Blah, Blah, Black Sheep – Mother Goose’s Modern Guide to Blogging. Why waste time on higher education (like kindergarten or college) – when you already learned the fundamentals in nursery school? (An ‘inside joke’ between me and Mr.  Fulghum.)

Creating More Color Palettes

So I started using PhotoCopa from Colour Lovers — which also generates a color palette from any image that you upload — but provides more options and control. (See below.)

Little Boy Blue - COPA - color palette

 You can set five colors in the palette and adjust each one as needed. When you click on the color, it reveals the HTML hex-code, etc.

Little Boy Blue color palette with hex color

If you are not happy with one of the color selections, you can cancel it (x), and pick another color. You can also enlarge a section of the photo, focus in on specific colors, and select specific colors you want included in the palette. (See below.)

Little Boy Blue - color palette - hex color

The example above is actually getting close to the color palette I think we need for this website  (, but I’m still not happy, so let’s try another image.   The photograph below shows some of the people on our design team. Daniel is on the left. Talitha is typing on the Mac, and I’m little boy blue.

5MT IXP 123 Team - Picnic Brainstorm session

Here’s the color palette we created from the photograph, using the PhotoCopa tool :

IXP 5MT Team photo - color palette

Let’s look at one more example — this time with some warmer colors …

Little Robin Redbreast

Little Robin Redbreast, came to visit me;  This is what he whistled, thank-you for my tea …  Here’s the little robin (photo/image below) that we’ll use to create our color palette.

American Robin - Little Robin Redbreast

American Robin – photo by Dakota Lynch (19-Jan-2013) – WikiMedia Creative Commons

The resulting color palette contains a variety of  interesting warm colors:

Robin Red Breast - color palette

That’s all we have time for today.  Good night.  

Bonus: Colorful Links and Resources