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My 6 favorite tools for creating amazing color palettes

If you're like me, you might find yourself dedicating just as much time to selecting colors as you do to designing the rest of the logo! Choosing the perfect color for a project can sometimes feel like an art form in itself.


But fear not—I've discovered a variety of tools over the years that have made the process of finding the right colors, tints, shades, and hues much quicker and easier.


While there are dozens, if not hundreds, of great color tools out there, in this post I'll share with you some of my favorite color tools that have become essential in my creative toolkit.


Remember that, at the end of the day, more important than any tool is understanding what makes a good palette work and how color psychology impacts the effectiveness of any design - so that you can choose the right colors for your project's goals.


Now let's dive in!



Color Psychology


wayfarer studio color palette archives

Color Archive by Wayfarer Design Studio

I use this tool EVERY time I create a new brand.


I start with the brand's characteristics, see which colors it recommends, favorite the ones that feel right, and then see how they look together, refining it from there. It's always extremely close to the final colors I end up using.


This saves me a ton of time second-guessing myself and ink-dropping random images from Pinterest, as well as giving me solid psychological reasons behind each color that I can clearly define to my client.


You can purchase it for $30 here. (imho it's worth every penny)



Adobe visual guide to understanding color

Adobe's Guide to Understanding Color

Back to the basics, this quick and fun guide gives you an overview on color psychology from the color wheel to warm and cool colors to color terminology and more.


Read on here.


Josef Albers Interaction of Color book

Interaction of Color by Josef Albers

This is THE foundational book on color theory. It explains how colors work together, how the influence perceptions, and the difference between key color terminology such as value, saturation, and hue.


I use the knowledge from this book to explain to clients why palettes that they suggest sometimes don't work together the way they think it will in their head (for example if the values are too similar so they vibrate against each other and don't provide enough contrast to be legible).


You can purchase it here on Amazon.



color meanings

Color Meanings

Dive deep into color meanings, symbolism, use in nature and more in this comprehensive website. If you love learning about color, then this is a fun rabbit hole for you to jump down and spend your evenings perusing.


Check it out here.



the color palette studio blog

The Color Palette Studio Blog

If it's time to advance your education on color, then this is the place to go.


Check it out here.



 

Color Palette Generators


Adobe Color is a classic tool for creating palettes using color wheel conventions such as analogous and split-complementary. But I don't usually love the results - my real favorite for color generation is Coolors:


Coolors color palette generator

Coolors

This is my favorite tool to use when I'm just looking for something fun and don't have anything specific in mind. Like for a fundraiser or dinner branding. I just start hitting spacebar and then locking in colors when they feel right and seeing what happens. Happy accidents and creative ideas come out this way.


Try it out here.



muzli color palette generator

Muzli

Muzli is similar to Adobe Color but with a nicer user interface. It has the added plus of giving you an AI-generated preview of how each palette will look in a web design, which is handy for predicting its usability and contrast.


Try it out here.



Color contrast checker tool

Contrast Checker

Use this to double check that your colors of choice live up to accessibility guidelines by having enough contrast in value and shade.


Test it out here.



 

Color Naming


Coolors above provides names for each color. But my favorite tool to use for naming colors is:


color namer tool

Color Namer by Robert Cooper

You can paste in your hex code and then play around in the tool around your chosen color to find a name that you like and that fits the brand you're creating's style.


Pick your color here.



Dopely Colors namer tool

DopelyColors

This is another great option if you want to pull the color from a photo. They have a ton of different color tools you might like, but their color namer by image is the most useful to me. Just upload a photo and use the dropper to select the color in question and it will tell you its name.


Try it out here.

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