There’s a lot that goes into choosing an effective brand colour palette and since colour is one of the first things our brains perceive from a brand, and a signature colour can increase brand recognition by 80%, it’s important to get it right. So once you’ve got the basics down, where do you go to create the palette, generate ideas or find inspiration?
Here are 8 powerful tools that I use and enjoy that I hope will help you to perfect your brand colour palette.
Adobe Color CC (formally known as Adobe Kuler) is a web app that allows you to generate, tweak, export and save colour palettes, and even choose which colour scheme such as analogous, monochromatic, complementary and others that you’d like to use to do this. The best thing about Adobe Color CC is that you can save these colour palettes to your Adobe CC account, they sync in the cloud and you can use them immediately on all of your devices in any of your Adobe software. You can create and explore your colour palettes in the Adobe Capture app too, which has a fun feature that captures colours from your surroundings so you can get colour inspiration wherever you go! You can also browse and save colour palettes that have been created by others and shared through the platform.
Coolors.co is another web app that allows you to generate, tweak, export and save colour palettes. All you have to do is start the generator and press space to randomly generate new colours. From here you can lock colours, tweak them and move them around to create your chosen palette. I love that the generator shows colours that you might not have thought of initially, and being able to toggle alternative shades is one of my most-used features! Coolors has a paid Adobe plug-in to easily use your palettes in Adobe software, and there’s a paid iOS app too if that’s your jam!
As stated on their website, ‘Color Hunt is a free and open platform for color inspiration with thousands of trendy hand-picked color palettes.’ With Color Hunt, you can browse a huge range of colour palettes for inspiration, sort them by new, trendy, popular or random, and copy the hex codes to use the colours yourself. The Color Hunt Chrome extension fills your new tab screen with a different colour palette for inspiration.
Khroma is a website where you choose a selection of 50 colours that you like which will train a colour generator algorithm personalized to you. Once you’ve selected your 50 options with Khroma’s guidance, you start training the algorithm to generate colours that you’ll like! A short while later, Khroma offers an infinite scroll of colour combinations for you to explore. Search to refine the results, control the amount of bias the algorithm has towards your chosen colours, retrain your generator if you’d like to alter your initial selections. When you find a combo you like, you can favourite it, swap the colours around and view the info for all of the technical details you might need to know (hex codes, RGB values, bias % etc)
A lot of small businesses and entrepreneurs are already using Canva to create simple, custom graphics, but you might not know about this cool little feature. Canva’s colour palette generator allows you to upload a photo that it will then generate a colour palette from. This could be super handy if you have some photos in your brand moodboard, or have found some images as inspiration for your own brand colours. Once you’ve generated your palette, you can copy the hex codes to use in your designs.
ColorSpace is perfect for someone who has found one colour but is looking to expand that to create a whole colour palette. Enter the hex code of your chosen colour, click generate, and ColorSpace pumps out 25 different palette options for you to choose from. From here you can copy the hex codes to you design software and share the URL with anyone else who might need to view or access your palettes. ColorSpace can also help with generating gradients, allowing you to enter two colours, select the direction of the gradient, and generate a gradient with CSS code that you can copy and pop into your own code.
Speaking of gradients, Coolhue has a small but beautiful collection of gradient inspiration available to view, download and copy to your CSS. You can download the whole selection of gradients as a Sketch or Photoshop file, download individual gradients as PNGs, copy the CSS code, or just browse the selection for inspiration.
Now Pinterest doesn’t generate colour palettes or gradients, but it is an excellent resource for finding colour inspiration. I use Pinterest to find the majority of the content for brand moodboards, and I also have a board specifically for colour inspiration that I can pop over to whenever I need a dose of colour or a splash of inspiration. Even just browsing the content that pops up when you open Pinterest will have loads of inspiration, but if you feel like getting more specific, you can search for whatever terms you like and see what colours are around in there too!
Choosing your colour palette is an important step in the branding process, but also one of the most fun parts, so have a play around with some of these and just see what you come up with! And if you have any other tools that you recommend for inspiring or generating your brand colour palette, feel free to share them in the comments below!
October 28, 2018