My Favorite Sources for Color Inspiration

Posted February 27, 2006 by Evan Tishuk

Well Styled Color Scheme Generator II: This is a popular favorite amongst online color schemers. I put it at the top because it has a small sample layout area instead of just swatches. On top of that, there are a ton of little widgets that let you quickly adjust how those colors are used within the layout.

Colour Lovers: Yeah, they spelt "color" the British way (at least it's not the Flickr way), but I don't hold that against them. You can find some great color swatches here. They give colors a "score" but I think that's rather bogus because just about any color can work within the context of the right design. Anyway, go here if you're looking for color inspiration and sample palettes (beware it's often kinda slow).

Krazydad's Colr Pickr: Yup, they couldn't resist the tempation of removing those pesky vowels. This tool will load an assortment of Flickr photos based on a color you choose. The main problem is that many of the photos selected are monotone and sometimes don't offer up clever contrasts or palette ideas.

If you find the perfect photo from the Colr Pickr above, you can trot over to this color palette generator that works in reverse---grabs a photo and turns it into a grid of potential colors. Pretty neat.
As the site's tagline explains, it's "a site for playing with colors." It's cool for many reasons but the best part is that you can tag colors with names, like "milk mustache," and then other people can use those tags to search for colors by keyword. But don't add assinine tags because "Tag litter makes baby Jesus cry." You may also subscribe to their RSS feed and get new colors as they're added (whatever a "new" color is).

Stylephreak's Color Match Redux: Good for finding matching tones. I'm not a huge fan of the sliders (I'd rather have a palette or ink dropper) but I've used it a couple times. Does anyone else think it's a little conspicuous that black and white are always included in the selections?

Color Schemer Online v2
Probably the simplest tool to help combine and compare color combinations. If you're adept with the tools Photoshop gives you, I'd imagine this would have limited use, but if you're a n00b using notepad and gimp, this might just do the trick.

Steel Dolphin Creative Color Scheme Tool: This one was dugg---a lot. It has a set of helpful sliders and buttons to help you adjust your colors. I find it a little difficult to weild, but it comes in handy if you're struggling to find a good color match. I only mention this one because so many other people seem to like it. My personal preference lies elsewhere .

Color Palette Galleries

Sometimes it's helpful to receive a healthy dose of random inputs.

* why do people submit a palette of colors that are just different shades of the same color or points along a barely contrasting gradient? For instance, how does this get a score of 9 / 10?

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