Toolbox Blog: resources, tips, tricks & info for creative professionals

Posts Tagged ‘color’

June 16th, 2009

Web Design Inspiration – Go Green!

The color green represents balance and well-being, it’s among the colors that are easiest on our eyes, and it’s up next in our color inspiration series. Take a look at these sites that use the color really well…


Emotions by Mike: freelance portfolio


Come 2 Play Games


PRChannel Twitter Page

Drop Bags

The Organic Supermarket

MacTarnahan's Amber Ale



Lipton Global


The Design Hippy - Portfolio of Joseph Gallagher





ewi Worldwide




Borneo Tropical Rainforest Foundation

Life Tree Creative

Go Glamping

February 10th, 2009

5 Common Mistakes Made When Designing a Website

There are some pretty bad websites out there.  In fact, there are sites dedicated solely to pointing them out (  Most of the ‘bad websites’ out there (excluding the truly horrific) are labeled so because they made a handful of very common mistakes during the design process.  These are some of those mistakes we see the most often.

Having design elements that look like ads – There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a reasonable amount of advertisements on your website.  However, you must realize that because of the sheer volume of advertisements on pages, most users have developed selective attention.  They’ll ignore everything that looks like a banner, pop-up or any other type of typical ad – so its not a good idea to have important design elements or information displayed in any of these formats.

Jamming 10 pounds of stuff into a 5 pound bag – Whether you go overboard on content or flashy design elements, cramming too much onto a site is a common mistake.  The result could be a busy layout, a wall of text, side scrolling, very little white space, etc.  Each of these things makes a website difficult to read and making your visitors work for information is never a good idea.

Having confusing and unclear navigation – Clear navigation is one of the most important factors for a site’s usability.  Users should have no questions about how they are supposed to move around the different areas of your site.  It’s a good idea to make your links change colors once a user clicks on them, knowing which pages they’ve already visited helps prevent users from unintentionally landing on pages they’ve seen before.  Also, your users shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to find the content they are looking for – make sure that every single page is within 3 or 4 clicks of your homepage.

Looking amateur-ish – Sure this is a bit vague, but there are certain features/missteps that web designers make that scream beginner.  For example, avoid saying “Welcome to ____” on your homepage.  There are other ways to make your visitors feel welcome.  Similarly, test to make sure your page looks good in all browsers instead of taking the shortcut “Best viewed in ____”.

Using overly wild or bright color schemes – Everyone loves creativity, and this doesn’t mean that you should shy away from using color in your design.  However, when colors are too bright or you use too many colors on the same page it can look unprofessional.  Also make sure that your background color and text color compliment each other, keeping your text easy to read and scan.

So next time your designing a site, take a minute to step back and review.  If you avoid these common errors you are probably safe from having your site end up on one of the many “Worst Website” lists.

January 27th, 2009

Web Design in Yellow

Yellow can be a tricky color to design with, but when used correctly it can lead to a creative and fresh website.  Check out these sites that use the color extremely well…

Scrapbook Your Memories


Muchos Grande

Twist Systems


Roome Consulting


Bruno Magalhaes


Rorol Studios

Web Outsourcing Services Group

Bard Illustration

Extra Small Studio

Team Manager

Yellowstone National Park




Album Creative

Yellow Bird Design

Java Communications





Mohit’s Blog


So, if you’re feeling adventurous – go ahead and make your site yellow!  Here’s a yellow color chart to get you started.

January 14th, 2009

Web Design in Black & White

Black & White doesn’t have to be boring.  Monochromatic color schemes can be used with just about any color, but some of the most striking are in black & white.  By cutting out color a website relies more heavily on other design elements – such as layout or typography, etc..

So here’s your daily dose of inspiration…30 extremely well-done Black & White websites…



arsnova Design


Authentic Boredom

Back To Help




Designing The News


Expression Tints

Hell-Cat Records

Imagine Boris

Jon Tan


Mark Wieman


Mirificam Press


Rikcat Industries







The Old Fashioned


West Surfing

If you need more convincing check out this post by Youri on Designfeedr: Lose the color! 9 reasons to ditch color

December 18th, 2008

The 10 Most Valuable Web Color Resources

Color Inspiration – Browse thousands of websites sorted by color.

Colour Lovers – Ratings on thousands of user submitted color palettes. They even have a feature to find stock photos that match a certain color.

Color Selection

Color Palette Selector – Color palette and blending selection tool.

Color Blender – Another excellent tool for color matching and blending.

Color Harmony Selector – Find color complements for your RGB colors.

ColourMod Dashboard Widget – Free Apple dashboard widget for color selection.

Color Resources

Color Code Matching Chart – If the color matching tools listed above aren’t your thing, try this chart instead. View and compare hundreds of colors at once. (Pantone, CMYK and RGB hex).

Official RGB Color Names – Listing of all of the named RGB colors.

Color Grabbers

Palette Grabber Firefox Extension – One-click to download a website’s colors to an Adobe, Flash or Paintshop palette.

PagePainter – Grab colors directly out of your web browser.

August 22nd, 2008

Dashboard Updates For the Week of 8/18

All in all another exciting week for our Web Design Dashboard!

We’ve added Cymbolism, a really unique and creative color tool that asks users what color they think of when presented with different words.  The site’s goal is to make it simpler for designers to choose the best colors to use for a desired emotional effect.  Definitely worth a look!

We’ve also got a new web developer toolbar for Firefox and CMS from Scratch, a free solution that allows designers to give their customers a web site they can edit themselves.

Last but not least is Blog Perfume, a WordPress related site with themes, plugins, and great blogging resources.

As always, keep the suggestions coming and we’ll try to post as many as we can!

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