Colours - every designer or artist knows how important they are. For many professions, it is required to understand colours, the theory and the harmony between them. But on the other hand, each of these professions is looking at this differently. There is a measurable unit in physics which depends on the spectral composition of the incident and reflected light but in psychology, it is about the impact on our minds and its creating associations, symbolism or stimulation such as warm and cold colours effects. For artists, it’s a game, feeling and joy.
There is also no proper and aligned terminology for colour theory thanks to the many factors which are impacting colour perception.
Although it is better to follow your feelings rather than rules when choosing colours, not everyone has an innate feeling for combining them. And maybe you are just starting out either with designing or painting, the composition of colours is from all aesthetic categories the most complex and with bad choices many things can go wrong. Nobody wants a disappointed client or lowered self-esteem and no motivation to create more artwork.
Therefore in today’s world of internet, we have many websites and tools which can help us, give us an idea or inspiration or simply speed up our work. There are tons of colour palettes with catchy photos, very often from nature or our daily life. In the end, where can we find the most beautiful colour schemes and harmony than in nature?
Let’s not be scared of colours - life would be so boring and monotonous. Just remember that too many colours are creating chaos and their combination has a great impact on us, they are grabbing our attention, giving us a message and evoking emotions - either positive or negative. But if chaos is the way you are aiming at with your art, then go for it. In the end, there are “no rules” in art.
Colour palettes are the fastest way to get a matching combination for our designs or any other artwork, handpicked based on many factors for our eyes satisfaction, “finished product” likeness and overall message which is very important in designers world to reach the businesses goal.
Design seeds exists for a couple of years already. It is a digital amusement park for colour lovers, internationally recognised. You can search by colour or by collections such as nature, seasons, wander, culinary colours etc. There is a hex colour code in every Design seeds post so it is easy for you to use it in your program.
“Color apps and generators create inharmonious palettes. This is because applications and algorithms cannot see or feel colour, nor can they create what the human eye, talent, and heart can. Contrary to popular misconception, I do not “pick” colours from an inspiration photo. Palettes are inspired by the harmonies I both see and feel, as well as the colour story I am looking to convey. So just say “no” to pickers and palette generators, and “yes!” to your instincts, experience, and love of colour :)
Color-hex is another website full of palettes and colours itself. They provide much information about colours including colour models (RGB, HSL, HSV and CMYK) together with shades, tints and CSS codes. You can search by colour, HEX code, name, etc. Check latest palettes, popular colours and much more. They even have a small blog about basic information on theory.
Color Hunt is an open collection of colour palettes. Its simply designed website but good enough to satisfy your needs. People use Color Hunt to get colour inspiration and find the perfect palette for their projects. Anyone can save their favourite palettes, manage their collection, and have quick access to copy the colour codes. Who is creating the palettes? All people around the world. Color Hunt is open but is also curated. It means that all the palettes are hand-picked by Color Hunt’s curators. Each submission of a colour palette is being reviewed to make sure it fits the collection’s goals.
Colour schemes generators with extended tools
Colour palettes generators online are usually more complex websites with extra tools and diversity to choose your desired colours such as gradient palettes, colour pickers, collage creation and apps for different devices or extensions for a browser.
Coolors has many tools to help you find what you are looking for. You can either start with simple generating a palette and choosing the generating method, locking the colours you like and using the spacebar to switch between different colours or explore trending palettes. Exporting palettes into different filetypes such as .jpg, .svg, .pdf, CSS, etc. is a very handy tool, same for contrast checker which will give you a rating between two colours (based on text and background colour) for easy readability and better web experience (for graphic designers and web designers). Not forgetting to mention they offer an app for iOS, Adobe add-on or Chrome extension.
Adobe Color is well known in the industry and to the surprise, it's free to use. Creation of colour palette is very easy using a colour wheel and applying desired colour harmony rule, choosing from four different colour modes such as RGB, CMYK, HSB and LAB. Another tool what Adobe Color offers are extracting palette from a photo or a gradient and new function is Accessibility Tools to detect colour conflicts that create confusion to people with colour blindness. You can browse new trends in different categories or explore palettes created by others. The handiest tool is Adobe’s library, where you can save your colours and have access to them from all your devices inside other Adobe products.
Canva is another top player in designing&blogging industries. Fully functional platform to design anything from marketing, social media, posters to educational and personal templates and graphics. Apart from all of that they have dedicated category to colours composing of Colour palette generator where you can upload your picture and immediately use it to design your graphics or document. In Colour palette ideas you can find stunning ultimate inspiration of colour combinations. Their Colour wheel is an interactive tool where you can learn about colour theory an interesting way of “playing”. What I like is their Colour meanings tool where you can learn about specific colours such as history, how to use it, what does the colour represent etc.
These were my handpicks for you, which I know and use whenever I need. Just don’t be confused, colour palettes are not just for designers. They might be very useful for artists as well. If you know the feeling that sometimes some combinations on your painting are off, you know where to go to find a good contrast for your artwork.
And if you know any other useful tools or platforms, share them with us below in the comments.