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There's a question on this site already about choosing good color palettes when designing for color-blind users. My question is different — it's about working with colors for an audience with normal color vision.

My boss is color blind. He often wants to generate full color charts and other graphics. When he does this, the result is often comical.

I suggested that rather than selecting the colors himself, he should have some known-reasonable palettes to work from. He said, great, make me some.

I'm a sysadmin, not a designer. So, here I am. :)

How can I find good color palettes for my color-blind boss to use in charts and other color-based presentations?

In general, these should be attention-getting and able to color-code for different sometimes-opposing concepts — monochromatic color schemes are less useful. But any set of colors pulled effectively at random from the set should work well together.

Where should I look? Thanks!

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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

You should definitely check out Adobe Kuler.

It's a place where people can make and upload color schemes and palettes that match in various moods, but the best thing is it comes with a standalone application that has various tools for picking matching colors.

It might help your boss, he can choose one color then the program will pick out other colors for him based on the one he has :)

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Do you want a site (or sites) that would create a palette with complimentary colors that you can hand to him?

This site:

http://www.degraeve.com/color-palette/

is one of many out there; one of the nifty things about this one is that it gives you the hex values for each color so a color-blind user can still differentiate between the various colors, even if they're close (redundancy, redundancy)

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Yeah, a site might be good, although I'm hoping for something featuring intelligently chosen matches (whether by algorithm or by expert). That one (which I had actually come across already) just extracts a "color summary" from an image. –  mattdm Feb 16 '11 at 18:43
    
colorschemedesigner.com allows you to select a starting color scheme based on a single color, but it tends to create very close matches (which may cause more problems for this situation). kuler.adobe.com has series of palettes put together by submitters - you may be able to find something that will work well for you there but it will probably take some time to go through and find something by hand. This sounds more like what you are looking for. –  lawndartcatcher Feb 16 '11 at 21:14

My brother is colorblind -- he sees a glass of cranberry juice and a healthy rhododendron as the same sort of anemic pale-yellow, which is something I find incredibly heartbreaking when I realize how different his experience might be. He can distinguish red and green to some extent, but in the real world he relies on contextual cue: e.g., he knows the light is green because it is the bottom of the three in a traffic light.

I believe that makes him a dichromat. This approximation of what it is like may help you:

colorblindedness vs typical vision

... Which I found on this related page.

I would suggest that instead of using off-the-shelf Made For ColorBlind™ palletes, so to speak -- have a look at what the qualitative experience of a colorblind user might be, and you'll probably be able to concoct something from that (instead of cramming someone elses' color relationships into your design).

Good luck.

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