Choosing a color palette for a site can be a challenge. These sites help with the process.

Color Lovers has lots of user-generated palettes. You can download the palettes in formats that are ready to import to your favorite editor. You can also read the Hex codes directly from the palette page if you are working in HTML.

Color Schemer is a great program for creating color schemes. They also have a selection of user-contributed schemes on their web site. You can use the Online version to generate schemes from a starting color.

Adobe Color CC is hosted at the Adobe web site and allows you th check the color values on existing color themes and adjust them.

You’ll still need to pick the colors for backgrounds and links but these sites give you a place to start.


Typefaces are fascinating but easy to misuse. I like the simplicity of Helvetica and Verdana and have used them almost exclusively in my CD projects. Lately I’ve started using Lucida Grande because it it a bit easier to read on a monitor. For print I use Helvetica in headers, price lists, and order forms. I usually use Adobe Garamond or Times New Roman for block text and captions.

Most web sites read better with Sans Serif fonts so I usually use these lines in the CSS.

body {
  font-family: Tahoma, "Lucida Grande", Helvetica, sans-serif;
         color: #333;
        line-height: 1.2em;

For some sites, I’ll do the headers in sans and the body text in serifs. I think it works OK on this site.

  font-family: Georgia, Times, "Times New Roman", serif; 

Georgia and Tahoma are fonts that are present on most computers, so the text layout will be similar across platforms. I prefer Lucid Grande to Tahoma—it’s a bit thinner—so I usually switch positions after I’m done with the layout. Mac users get a slightly cleaner look.

If you want to learn more about which fonts designers like, this post is a good start. He makes a good point that most free fonts are crap. There are some that are well designed and can add a bit of punch to your work if used well. Vitaly Friedman’s list is a good place to start. I’m partial to Delicious and Fontin.