June 24, 2014 / Allison Smith

Since colors have such strong emotional connections, color plays a very important role in design. This is why sometimes it can be so difficult or event a little intimidating to select the perfect color palette for your work. Here are three handy tools that can really help take the guesswork out of selecting a color palette.


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First off is Pictaculous, which selects the perfect color palette for you. All you have to do is upload an image that you are using in your design and PIctaculous will pull different colors from the picture to give you an awesome color palette. It shows the top five colors with their hex codes, and also shows swatch palettes that Adobe Kuler suggests, as well as palettes from ColourLovers. For more convenience, it even gives you a link to download the Adobe swatch file. It only gives you the swatch file for Photoshop, but you can easily make a swatch set in Photoshop and transfer to Illustrator or another program if you choose. Still though, it doesn’t get much easier than that!


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Next is Design Seeds. There’s no custom palette to select from here, but it’s a good place to turn for inspiration. It offers a photo, a description of the palette associated with that photo as well as six colors for that palette. On the right hand side where it says “see similar colors” you can see other palettes using a specific color. So for instance if you like the deep purple of this palette, but don’t want the greens and blues to go along with it, you can click on the purple and it will show you other palettes that use that color or a similar one.


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Last, but not least is 0to255. This tool allows you to either select a random color from choices when you first visit the site, or you can search for a specific color. Once you select a color, it will show you a range of tints and shades of that color and their hex codes. This is especially handy if you are designing a website for example and need a slightly darker or slightly lighter version of that color for a link, or a hover state maybe. Whatever the reason, it’s nice to be able to see the range and their codes all at a glance to easily compare.