28 Seeding Multicolor Palettes
Here’s a practical, reliable, and versatile way of coming up with palettes that contain multiple hues.
Start with a single color—a hue that seems capable of contributing to your project’s aesthetic and thematic goals. This starter color is your seed hue, and from this hue your palette will grow.
Locate your seed hue’s spoke on the color wheel. To do this—especially if you have chosen a particularly dark, light, or muted version of a color—you will need to employ your art instincts and your knowledge of color to figure out from which spoke of the color wheel your seed hue originated. For example, if your seed hue is a muted pea green, then it probably came from the yellow-green spoke of the color wheel since yellow-green, when muted, becomes what most people consider pea green. (In the end—whether or not your color instincts are well developed at this point—your best guess at the origins of your seed hue will be perfectly sufficient: Scientific accuracy is not a requirement here.)
Next, explore relationships between your seed hue and other colors by employing it as a starter-component of the palettes described in the previous chapter: monochromatic, analogous, triadic, complementary, split complementary, and tetradic. The visuals on the facing page illustrate how you can employ pea green as the seed hue for six different kinds of palettes.
With practice, patience, and experience, your speed and skill at exploring palette possibilities in this way will improve greatly. Also, if you currently use a visual color wheel as you ponder the possibilities of various palettes (and there’s nothing wrong with this practice), likely you will find that eventually you’ll be able to perform most or all of your palette-building brainstorming mentally— with little or no help from visual guides.