Designers, are you tired of the same old color combinations in your projects? Would you like some help?
I've recently come across two neat, elegant utilities — one for Mac users, one for Windows users — that help you out here. Each has a free, fully-enabled demo you can download, so there's no harm in giving them a shot.
Color Consultant Pro 1.1 (Mac OS 9 and OS X)
Using an interactive color wheel for its main interface, Color Consultant Pro automatically targets the analogous, complementary, split complementary, tetradic, and triadic colors from your chosen starting color. (Don't worry, you don't have to know the color theory behind these terms to use the product. Just play with the purty colors.)
You can retrieve and/or input color specs as CMYK, RGB, Lab, Hex (for web sites) and more, and export the palettes you create on the fly as a PDF file, HTML file, or a PICT graphic.
It's really fun playing with this thing, and it's helped me out in coming up with a variety of good-looking color schemes for web sites especially. The demo comes with a clearly-written, well-illustrated little PDF manual.
Color Consultant Pro
Free demo, $35.99 after it expires
Color Wheel Pro 2.0 (Wiindows 98 through XP)
Color Wheel Pro offers the same functionality — "creates harmonious color schemes based on color theory" — as its Mac cousin described above, but with a slightly different interface. (They're so close in look and feel, though, that I first thought they were from the same developer. They're not.)
But Color Wheel Pro has a very cool feature that Color Consultant does not: You can preview the color scheme on real-world examples like web sites, logos and packaging. These preview files come with the product as Flash files, and their web site has instructions on how to make your own Flash previews too.
Color Wheel Pro
Free demo, $39.99 after it expires