A few years ago when I was daydreaming of becoming a brand stylist, I envisioned happily looking at Pantone samples and matching them effortlessly together to craft incredible palettes for my clients. I mean you're just picking colors, how hard can it be, right?
It wasn’t long until I realized that crafting a brand color palette is actually super time consuming work. I mean there are an infinite amount of colors...how are you supposed to choose just five or six that represent your entire brand’s essence? On top of that, what if you’re a perfectionist and you don’t just want a great palette you want the perfect palette. The best palette. The palette that matches your businesses’ style so immaculately it was as if the color gods crafted these shades just for you.
Trust me, I get the desire for palette perfection, so I’m sharing my three absolute favorite online tools for crafting color palettes that will have your competition green with envy.
Probably my favorite of the bunch, Coolors offers a free, robust generator for creating palettes. The random color generator lets you explore a variety of shades with the click of your space bar. The camera icon at the top of the navigation bar even lets you upload photographs directly from your computer. From there, the Coolors algorithm will automatically select colors that are used in the image.
Find a perfectly colored picture on Pinterest? Save it to your desktop and upload it to Coolors to find the exact shades used.
You can also download your palettes as a PDF guide with RGB, CMYK, and HEX color codes automatically included.
Design Seeds is yet another incredible tool for browsing and crafting head-turning color combinations. Unlike some of the other generators, Design Seeds specializes in pre-selected palettes. The site lets you browse thousands of color palettes either by theme or by color. The best part of the Design Seeds interface is the photographs that accompany the palettes, making it easy for users to see the overall vibe a palette gives off before choosing it.
Sometimes staring at big blocks of color isn’t the best way to decide if a particular color combination will work for your brand. It’s often better to see these colors in action. How are other creatives combining these colors to create cohesive brand identities or color-rich artworks? Instead of staring at rectangles of color side-by-side, Dribble let’s you see the work that artists are creating with the selected color palette. Cool, right?
Coolors, Design Seeds, and Dribble are my favorites and have helped me immensely with client and personal projects alike. Check them out, they're totally free and super user-friendly.