Using colour schemes is common amongst designers (industrial and artistic). So why not using these in magic? Still too often, we see magic props decorated with a variety of colours. It seems as if the magician had thought: “The more colours, the better!” But then, this more than often creates a visual disaster, making it sometimes hard to follow the routines.
Using a well thought-out colour scheme prevents that. Using a colour scheme on all the props makes the act look more professional, and helps to guide the attention of the onlookers (by using contrasting colours for important props, etc.).
The way I did it most of the time was to start with all the props in flat black. Yes, no colours. Then I decided on a colour scheme which depended on the effect and atmosphere the act had to have. After I decided on the main three or four colours, I started to apply them to the props – one by one!
This has a massive impact on your understanding of the act, the effect, and the guidance of the spectator’s attention. It can be applied to stand-up acts and to close-up acts.
An easy way to start is to Google “colour schemes for designers and artists” on the Internet. It will bring endless resources with pre-built colour schemes (a very good one is https://colorhunt.co). Often, the colour schemes incorporate contrasting (and fitting) colours, which is useful for designing props that have to stand out from the rest. Or the border colour of a table base, or to make something look thinner than it is.
Jim Steinmeyer is famous for his colour palettes, and he uses them wisely. It is worth to look up his books, print the drawings of the props (most of them are black and white drawings, and the colour directions are in the text), and then colour the print out with markers. Only then will you see the beauty of Mr Steinmeyer’s creations and the reasons he decided on this or this colour.