Learn Practical Color Theory With This Web App

While the subject of color theory may seem pretty basic, it’s not something you can understand by reading. To truly understand color theory you need to put it to practice.

If you’re frequently building web projects then using color is a must. Practical Color Theory is a handy webapp that can help you learn about the colors fast. This free webapp is aimed towards developers who don’t know a thing about color, design, or UI aesthetics.

practical color theory homepage

The whole thing was actually built and released on GitHub by the incredible designer and coder Natalya Shelburne.

She works as a frontend developer now, but she has over 6 years experience teaching art and design. Natalya is the perfect cocktail of design and dev experience to make this color resource!

As you work through the site you’ll learn why certain colors just do not match, while others do. Also, certain color schemes often look amateurish and they’re easy to avoid once you understand some key rules.

For example, I often design by the rule to never use black and it’s served me well. The same can be true for other strong colors. Avoid using the pure forms of colors whenever possible (i.e. avoid full blue like #0000FF).

The coolest thing about this tool is that each section includes a bit of CSS/Sass code along with a well-written explanation about the colors. You’ll understand why neutrals are so important, how to create accent colors, and how to generate schemes that go well together.

creating neutral colors

I can’t say this guide will make you a color expert. Really it just scratches the surface with some basic tips. But it’s a huge leap up from newbie-tier color selection so if you’re having trouble with colors this site will help.

All the source code you find on the site is free to use and play with on your own.

Bonus tip: try changing the page’s color scheme by clicking the colored dots near the top of the page. You can get quite a few ideas from those!

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