It's well known that certain color combinations harmonise while other are considered unattractive and clash. Although it is well established that there is more to this than subjective choice the underlying rules are extremely complex and seldom formulated explicitly. Looking at thousands of natural scenes taken worldwide with highly complex spectroscopic apparatus scientists from Cambridge University determined that natural scenes have a highly complex (and mathematically precise) harmony and balance which requires complex multidimensional transformations from our normal methods of color representation to predict. It's an art that skilled designers learn to reproduce over many years - and the basis of a lot of great art and fashion.
In web design it's relevant because the clients great the fear is that someone with the taste and dress sense of Dilbert will end up by choosing the aesthetics and harmony of how your company presents its self to the world.
It turns out however that there is a very simple practical way of choosing color sets that obey exactly the right rules. All you have to do is to take a naturally harmonious scene and use your color dropper to pick out any colors in that scene for use as the basic colors on you web page and fonts. These will already have exactly the right color relationships. To give a web site a closely integrated look pick the colours from the actual images used on the home page. To get a radical, arty look pick colors from a great art masterpiece in the same way.
It's simple, its effective and it has - we are told - ten million years of human evolution behind it - for that how long we have had our modern color vision and that's the heritage you are fighting against if you don't get it right.
National Web Design. Internet application design since 1991, Web Design since 1994, eCommerce developers and payment system experts since 1997
By: Will Gibson