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Using Color Palettes

I’ve been creating and posting color palettes for a few years now, and decided to (finally!) make a reference post for using them.

If you look around on Pinterest, there’s thousands - probably millions! - of color palettes to find. Everyone does theirs differently, even I change my style or format depending on the palette. There are palettes of just colors, palettes of paint brand swatches, palettes with photos, palettes for mood boards… there are a lot!

For my palette process, I use sources like Unsplash to find a photo that inspires me, then in my design software I pull out specific colors using an eyedropper tool. I then get the HEX code to also share. I usually do 4 or 5 colors, sometimes in a complementary palette and sometimes as a gradient palette of a particular color.

This photo would make a beautiful palette!

(NOTE: I have also posted a lot of Canva templates before as well, so if you are a Canva user, here’s a little tip I learned: there is no eyedropper tool on the desktop version, but there IS on app versions like the iPad)

Words to know:

HEX: hexadecimal color (for on-screen use, a shortened color code)

CMYK: cyan, magenta, yellow, key (for printing use)

RGB: red, green, blue (for on-screen use)

Many paint companies are able to paint match using HEX values, and if you’re doing any type of virtual design, using the HEX code will give you that exact color. This website is a great tool for diving deeper into these colors and codes.

If you have a photo you want to make yourself a palette from, there are many online tools you can use that will do this automatically for you, no software needed. One I’ve seen before is Image Color Picker, but a quick search will bring you lots of other choices also.

Hopefully this post was helpful for working with palettes, and you're now empowered to begin using your inspirations! Happy creating!

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