As a freelance designer, I work with colors every day. From designing a logo to creating a one-pager, I’m always experimenting with palettes and colors combinations in order to produce the best work for my clients.
They say there are no right and wrongs when creating art, and that’s mostly true; but there are also best practices that we can use as guidelines to produce good design.
Colors are no different. You have a lot of freedom to mix and match colors, but there is such things as horrible color combinations (read 5 Color Choices You Absolutely Must Avoid When Designing for the Web). Matching colors tastefully is an art. It’s not always the easiest, but it can be the difference between an ok design and a great design.
Even I need some help sometimes, and thanks to the internet, there are some pretty amazing tools out there to help you choose colors for your next design.
So, I’ve compiled this list of color palette tools, which I use virtually every day:
Colorhunt.co is awesome. Here you and other designers can submit your own custom color palettes with 4 colors. Anyone who likes a palette, hits the “Like” button, which helps with categorizing them. You can browse through the most popular palettes to find one that will fit your design.
Coolors.co is also great because you can take any existing colors you want to work with, and find matching combinations. How it works is you paste the Hex Color Code(s) you want to work with in the existing color bars, then you need to click the “lock” icon on the colors you entered in order to lock them in. Once you’ve done that, simply hit the space bar and watch the magic happen! Each time you hit the space bar, you get a new combination of colors that compliment the two or three colors you started with.
As you browse through these options, say you started with locking in 3 colors initially and you come to a combination where you like just 2 of the 3 new colors it gave you. You can simply lock in those 2 new colors you liked, and keep looking for the 6th one. And once you’re finished, you can even save and name the palette you’ve created.
What I like about this tool is that it gives you six colors. Sometime when I find a palette I like from ColorHunt, I’ll throw those 4 colors into Coolors in order to get 2 more colors for my palette.
3. Adobe Color Wheel
This Color Wheel is a free resource from Adobe. Before I discovered Coolors, I used this site a lot, and it still comes in handy on certain projects. This tool takes more of a mathematical approach to color matching, where you can enter one Hex Code as the primary color and get Analogous, Monochromatic, Triad, and other combinations fed back to you.
Say what?! Yep, that’s right.
Believe it or not you can find a lot of great design inspiration on Pinterest, and that doesn’t exclude color palettes. Simply do a search for “Earthy Color Palettes” or something like that, and see what comes up.
Unlike the other websites I mentioned, this option may not provide you with Hex Color Codes; but what I personally do is take a small screenshot (Shift+Control+Command+4 on Mac) of the palette and paste the image into Photoshop or Illustrator. From there, you can use the eye dropper tool to start using those colors.
Like I said, I use these all the time, and I hope you find the helpful too.
Are there any other color palette tools you use for selecting colors? Let us know in the comments below.