Diagram tips: Picking a color palette

By Carole Snitzer on Sep 13, 2012 in Tips and Tricks, diagram

You worked hard on that diagram. You organized your thoughts, outlined every task and decision, positioned all the elements, typed in your text. It took a little time, but it was so worth it, because now everyone actually understands that complicated process you’ve been trying to explain for months.

There’s just one catch. It doesn’t look… quite right. Yes, your ideas are all there. It’s easy to read and easy to follow. It says everything it needs to say.

So what am I missing?
Chances are you just need to pick a color palette.

Picking the right colors is the simplest way to make your diagram really pop. If you already have brand colors or a favorite color palette, you’re all set. If you need a little help, here’s a whole site of gorgeous palettes for every occasion.

And, once you’ve applied a color palette, your humdrum diagram can look this good:

lunch theft flowchart Color Palette

Once I have a color palette, how do I use it?
Every color you can use is identified by a unique hex value. It looks something like this: 3B8686. Find that value for your favorite color and copy it.

Now head over to Gliffy:

  1. Select the object you want to change.
  2. In the style menu, pick the shape color or line color (or switch to the text tab and pick the text color).
  3. Paste in the hex value of the color you like.
  4. Save the diagram.

apply color with the Gliffy color picker

There you go! Now you know everything you need to know to make an amazing-looking diagram.

Uh… everything?
OK, you got me. Not everything. But as long as you've put the thought into a clear, info-packed diagram, the right colors will give you a lot more oomph.

Keep an eye on this blog and you’re sure to pick up more tips!