Four tools to create a color palette

This is the most read blog post this week. Thought I would share it with those who may be interested in reading about graphic design tips.

Coffeehouse Junkie

Color palette based on book cover design Color palette based on book cover design for the novel Blue Dollar

Wear the blue neck tie to suggest boldness and confidence. Wear the red tie for passion. Or so the conventional wisdom offers those business persons who are presenting themselves for a job interview. Color is important when designing books, posters, web sites, etc. Building an effective color palette takes years of experience in knowing the right color combinations that present contrast or harmony or various other arrangements.

Thanks to some online resources, creating a color palette takes only a few minutes. Here are four online tools to use in creating a customized color palette.

  1. CSSDrive.com: http://www.cssdrive.com/imagepalette/index.php
  2. DeGraeve.com: http://www.degraeve.com/color-palette/
  3. colorhunter.com: http://www.colorhunter.com/
  4. PaletteFX.com: http://www.palettefx.com/index.php

There is also a way to create a color matrix using Adobe Illustrator, but that’s a bit more involved and takes longer to explain. Here’s an example of what a color matrix looks like (see below).

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Ice Circles

20160223-184201.jpgAn ice circle, or ice disc, forms in slow moving water in cold climates.

Imagine my surprise when I spotted several ice circles slowly spinning in the waters north of the art museum on an afternoon walk. Beautiful. Like gears grinding away rough edges into glistening discs in the afternoon sun. The delicate slushy, glassy sound reminds me of wind chimes. But there is no wind today. Flags like wilted flowers hang on the poles around the war memorial building. A hawk is perched on a lamp post.

The noisy hurly burly of East Town’s traffic and many construction projects is a dim echo to the mesmerizing music of ice circles.

I could sit here beside those circling ice discs the rest of the day. Or at least until the sun sets.

But only a few minutes remain of my break. And there is work to be done — projects to complete. Matters of consequence.

With hesitation, I leave the spinning ice circles to perform their tranquil charms to the neighboring ducks, gulls and the lone hawk.

Frosted window at sunrise

DSCN5167[sqr-basic]
When night winds leaves subzero signatures on the Saturday morning window, it is time for coffee and jazz and few lines of poetry… [1]

Try to count the colors
In a frosted window at sunrise
try to imagine the hues and shades
Of a Wisconsin winter morning…

NOTES
[1] With apologies to Three Crosses, inspired by song “Michelangelo”

Everyone is Polish on Pączki Day

So, it is Fat Tuesday.[1] Meaning it is almost Lent.[2] In Milwaukee. Meaning it is Pączki Day.[3] And the office fun committee made sure those special Polish pastries[4] are available for staff in the lunch room.

Not from Milwaukee? Not Polish? A member of the fun committee smiled and said, “Everyone is Polish on Pączki Day.”

NOTES
[1] Fat Tuesday, also named Mardi Gras
[2] On Lent, fasting and feasting
[3] For a primer, OnMilwaukee provides a word on pączki and seven Milwaukee locations to enjoy the treat.
[4] Here is the correct pronunciation of pączki:

Putting the finishing touches on a new book design

Constellarium_Cover_Final
Since the publisher posted the following on Facebook last night, I guess it is alright to unveil a new book I designed:

Jordan Rice’s debut poetry collection, CONSTELLARIUM, a finalist for the 2015 Orison Poetry Prize, is now available for pre-order at a discounted price! Order now and be among the first to receive the book when it’s released in April.

“Constellarium is a bold announcement of a new poetic voice to be reckoned with. These poems make us stare down shame and celebrate transition, celebrate the body inside. Jordan Rice does not flinch from what society would have us try to look away from, instead she carefully constructs a book in which we are forced to reckon, layer by layer, with her being. Let us be thankful that such a voice exists, that it is brilliant and shattering, and here to take us all on her journey.” –Fatimah Asghar

The process of cover design is exciting. Especially when the title of the project is constellarium.

There are so many stories behind the cover design that would be fun to share. Like, for example, how the kidlingers enjoyed the image of cetus — how cetus does not look like any image of a whale they have ever seen in a picture book. And how the eldest kidlinger is writing a report about rhinos.

And how a species of rhino has been reported extinct. And we wonder if these old drawings are accurate. And that maybe the cetus represented in the book cover art is correct. But maybe that species of ceti (is that the correct nominative plural of cetus, Latin students?) is now extinct.

Maybe these behind-the-scenes stories are more interesting to me than you.

See if you can find cetus in the cover art by pre-ordering Jordan Rice’s Constellarium!

Amazing readings, beautiful community

“Amazing readings, beautiful community,” tweeted one of the poetry marathon attendees Saturday night. Indeed it was a good night to visit Woodland Pattern Book Center to hear poets share their work. To be exact, 150 area poets shared their work.

I participated in the 9 o’clock hour. Featured poets included: Matt Cook, Tom Erickson, Peter Burzynski, Franklin K.R. Cline, Carmen Murguia, Peter Whalen, Bob Koss, Jane Lukic, Michael Wendt. One of the highlights of that hour was to hear a Czesław Miłosz poem read in Polish.

Each poet is afforded five minutes to read. The poems I selected earlier in the day loosely fit the motif of something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. They were all short poems. One of the poems was a spare two lines. So, I read it slowly. In truth, I try to read all poetry at a slow pace. It is a technique I picked up from some of my favorite poets in Western North Carolina.

After the 9 o’clock hour readings concluded, one of the event coordinators commented that she likes this part of the marathon. She said that the poets are warmed up at this point and the poetry really engages the audience. While milling around after the reading, a board member of Woodland Pattern asked me if I was a visiting professor. I smiled. It is a question I get asked a lot after a public reading.