I often get asked how someone without a visual arts background can choose a color palette for SCCM reports. I’ll admit that I’m not great at mixing colors together either, but I’ve learned a few tricks along the way. If you’ve followed my posts or attended any of my MMS, IT/Dev Connections or User Group sessions, you’ll know I always say, over and over again, how important color choice is when it comes to SCCM reports or dashboards.
In case you’re curious about how I organized the content, I can tell you that this blog post is divided into two sections. The first section will show you how to duplicate an existing color palette. Once duplicated you can use the same color palette within your own SCCM reports. The second section will demonstrate how you can create your own color palette when using a logo or an image as inspiration.
If you can master this art then it will ultimately help you create better reports/dashboards!
How to Duplicate a Color Palette
If you’re lucky, you might come across a color palette that you like. If that’s the case then this tip will help you figure out the hex color codes.
In this example, I will mimic the Hot Dog color scheme that’s found within Windows for Workgroups (WFW) in one of Enhansoft Reporting’s reports. If I remember correctly, the WFW color palette was designed as a high-contrast theme to help those who are visually impaired.
First I need to determine the hex color codes for red and yellow, so I’m going to use a tool that will extract the colors from an image.
Using one of the PNG images from the Hot Dog color scheme, I will upload the file to the Cool PHP Tools website. Once the Browse button is selected and the image file (JPG, PNG, etc.) is uploaded, all I do is click on the Run button. By the way, there are a number of sites that can help you with this, but I prefer Cool PHP Tools because it will tell me what the top 10 colors are within an image.
Above are the results from the uploaded file. From this list, I can quickly tell that #ffff00 is the primary yellow color and that #f00000 is the primary red color. I can also see the color codes for white, black and grey. The next step is to use these colors in my report.
In the above screenshot, you can see that yellow is the background, red is the color of the headers, grey is the accent color, and the text is in black and white. I think the color scheme looks very similar to the Hot Dog color palette!
How to Choose a Color Palette
Let’s say you want to choose a color palette that’s designed around your company’s logo.
Luckily, there are a number of websites that can help you out. Pictaculous happens to be one of my favorites!
Using the BROWSE button, select your logo. When you click on the GET MY PALETTE button, you instantly get a color palette! Below is the color palette for the Enhansoft logo.
I find it easier to reference the main colors if I put them into a chart:
Next, decide how you’ll use the colors within a report. This is what I decided:
Below is the finished product, but I think the sub-header, “Collection: Oxford Regional Office,” is too light, so I’ll try again.
I’ll use another suggested color, #D94D5D.
I don’t like it, so I go back to the palette web page. Notice that just below the palette there are other suggested color schemes based on my logo. I like the third one under the COLOURLovers suggestion. By clicking here, the hex color codes for this palette are revealed.
l will try the sub-header in blue, green and orange because those colors all seem to stand out to me.
First blue (#0066CC).
Then green (#336633).
Now orange (#FF9900).
Notice that all three colors look good with the color red, but I think the blue is the best one, especially if it is bolded. The final report looks like this:
That’s a lot of trial and error, but it’s worth it! With the help of a few websites, you can create a color palette for your dashboards, reports, websites, applications, etc., without too much work.
Here are some other websites that you should check out:
Empowered by color – Color Meanings in Business
If you have any questions about how to choose a color palette for SCCM reports, please feel free to contact me @GarthMJ.