How to Quickly Choose a Color Palette

January 3, 2013 Michael Keshen

When designing blogs, whitepapers, infographics or really any form of content, it is important to make sure that the colors you are using compliment one another. Though it might not be very obvious at first, the wrong combination of colors can be very off-putting and steer people away from your content. There are many resources for educating yourself about color palettes, complimentary colors and color theory, but most of us don’t have time to learn all of that. Fortunately, with just a few minutes worth of effort, there are many online tools that can help you select colors that will really make your content pop!

Color Wheel

If you’re feeling stuck and looking for a place to start, check out the Color Wheel from Colors on the Web. By ‘spinning’ the wheel, the program picks a random palette of 3 colors that are complementary to one another. The site even displays a mock-up of what a document might look like if the specified colors are chosen. You can play around with the arrangement of colors (e.g. switching the background color with the text color) for further inspiration.

Color Scheme Designer

Color Scheme Designer also starts off with a wheel, but takes things further with more advanced features. Users can pick a main color to work with by dragging an icon around the color wheel. It can also be specified whether colors relate to each other based on mono, complement, triad, tetrad, analogic or accented analogic. A preview can then be rendered of what a sample website would look like featuring the chosen color palette.

CSS Drive

CSS Drive’s Cover Palette Generator allows you to upload a picture (or link to an image’s URL) and shows what colors are featured in the image. This is great if you need to design a document that prominently features a certain picture or if you like the colors in a particular image. One of the most important rules of design is consistency, and integrating the colors of your images into your design is a great way for all aspects of your content to flow together.


If you’re feeling comfortable with all of the above tools then it is definitely time for you to check out Kuler from Adobe. All of the features might be a bit overwhelming at first, which is why I have placed it last in this list of tools. In addition to providing a much more sleek and detailed set of features, Kuler also features pre-made palettes that users can rank.

Know of any other tips that will help our readers out? Let us know in the comments below!

About the Author

Michael Keshen

Michael is a Content Marketer at Tucows.

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