Creating an amazing colour palette is one of the hardest jobs of any web or graphic designer. It’s what one of the skills that sets apart the good from the great.
There are tons of amazing apps and websites that aim to help create beautiful colour combinations – Adobe’s Kuler is one of the best, but most focus on the extreme ends of the colour spectrum – making the resulting palette either too simplistic or too shockingly extreme.
Up to this point my favourite way to build a killer colour palette was to use Design Seeds. It’s less a colour palette generator and more of a way to find colours that look great together. Taking photos of real-life objects the site builds a palette of colours that just naturally fit into a beautiful and balanced palette. It’s even organized into themes like Autumn, Rustic and Edible Hues to help narrow your search. When I’m just looking for inspiration for a new logo or design project, this is usually my first stop.
I have never found a really good solution for building my own custom palette though. Kuler takes a lot of patience and skill to get something perfect. You can always scan through pages and pages of other people’s colour palettes but this isn’t the most inspiring way to start a new project.
Coolor, a new website whose only aim is to create amazing colour palettes, takes a slightly different approach. Instead of giving the user full control over every single aspect of the process, it draws on a large database of human-created colour palettes to help it create totally new colour combinations that work well together.
All you need to do is hit your space bar and a new colour palette splashes across your screen. You can even export the resulting colour palette in a variety of different formats to use it in your designs.
Plus, you can still control the fine details if you really want to – it includes HSB, RGB, CMYK and even Pantone colour options so you can make super fine adjustments. The ability to set one of the five colour swatches to a Pantone colour, lock it, and then hit the space bar to generate new colour palettes based on that one Pantone colour is nothing short of brilliant.
Seriously, give Coolor a try on your next project. It’s my hands-down favourite way to build a colour palette and I’m guessing it will be yours too.