A designer’s ‘style’ is made up of a number of different factors, though colour plays a large role. Everyone has their own method of coming up with a good colour scheme, which will inevitably affect the results.
A ‘technical’ method of colour-selection involves choosing one or two dominant colours from the colour wheel, to be used with a small set of complementary colours. Basic colour theory concepts like split complementary and triadic colour schemes offer a wide range of variation, particularly when you start throwing in shades, tints, and saturation adjustments.
Pro: An easy way to start with good, workable colour. Con: being too technical can lead to dull and uninspired colour choice.
Matching involves starting with an image or an object (usually a photograph) and picking colours from within to generate a colour scheme. Boxes and Arrows ran a great article a while ago about selecting colours from nature.
Pro: Naturalistic, familiar-feeling colour schemes that appeal. Con: it’s easy to select the wrong colours from a photo.
Probably my most frequently-used method. I begin with a blank canvas and fill it with whatever colours seem appropriate. Naturally my mind computes the corresponding compliementary and similar colours on the fly, but now and then I’ll ignore solid colour theory just to see where it gets me. Hence this site’s colour scheme, among others.
Pro: Fresh and surprising colour schemes. Con: dangerous without a solid knowledge of colour theory. Dangerous even with.
These are a few of my own methods, and what influences my design sensibility. Others will differ, of course. Tell me about your own methods, comments are open.