Simple Method For Producing Matching Colors

When designing websites/pages, I've always needed a way to find colors that work well together. I came up with this simple method that lightens and darkens your base color to produce a nice color to use for borders or text. In this example, we will darken a base color to produce a matching border color (using Photoshop). To do this, we use either a light or dark background and then change our main image's/color "Fill".

1. Open Photoshop and create a new image (File -> New) 400px x 400px with a white background.
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2. Create a new layer (Layer -> New -> Layer). Use the Paint Bucket to paint the layer black.
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3. Click on the "Layer Visibility" icon, for the black layer, so that it is hidden.
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4. Set your foreground color to #BFAC60. Use the "Rounded Rectangle Tool" to create the shape on your background.
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5. Next we'll bring our black layer back into view. It should appear directly behind our rounded rectangle.
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6. Select your rectangle layer and change the "Fill" to 60%.
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7. Now we can add that border around our rectangle. Click on the "Add a layer style" icon to add a "Stroke". Click on "Color:" in the "Layer Style" window.
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8. When the "Color Picker" comes into view, move the eyedropper over to our newly created color (our rectangle).
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9. Hide our black layer again (as we did in step #3) and change our rectangle "Fill" back to 100%.
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10. Select "Background" to reveal our new image with matching border!
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We can use this same method, but without using the black layer, to lighten our base color. You could then use this new color for text or highlighting effects.

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