Fire up your bookmarks: These are 50 of the best color sites for designers. Here, you’ll find sites that offer color palettes and color schemes for designers.
Color Palette Inspiration & Color Scheme Generators
A site that offers a curated collection of color schemes for any purpose. “By creating smart and simple compositions of several tones, we provide beautiful palettes of colors that work together.”
300,000-plus designers and color-minded folks share color palettes on this site constantly, so there’s always fresh inspiration at the ready. Bookmark this as one of the best color sites or download the free Adobe AIR application, COLOURLovers Desktop Color Finder. And while you’re it at it, COLOURLovers Blog reports on color trends and quirky color finds, with related palettes for each post.
Create, save and fine-tune your color palette using Adobe Kuler’s online tool. Nice extra: in addition to creating free-form palettes, you can also nudge them to conform to specific rules – like complementary colors, monochromatic or triads straddling the color wheel. Then share and browse palettes with thousands of other designers.
Design Seeds celebrate colors found in nature and the aesthetic of purposeful living. Search palettes by color value or by theme.
Generate infinite color palettes for your designs and share, export or save it in your profile.
This pay-what-you-wish app lets you create color schemes, apply rules, randomize when you’re plump out of new ideas, export in many different formats, even check for different kinds of color-blindness.
Intuitive tools and resources for inspiration, with the palette creation mechanism packing a lot of functionality into a single screen. Plenty of export options, too.
A more robust color-palette tool for advanced users.
A series of color palettes available for any use.
Colormunki allows you to generate color schemes from Pantone swatches.
A basic color palette site with nice social media integration.
ColorBlender: enter a color, get an auto-created blend online tool for color matching and palette design with export options
Color Wizard: a similar concept to Color Blender, this tool works on the single-color-in, palette-out basis.
Colordb: a little hard on the eyes, but highly functional like the color-robot it is. Enter a single color, get all relevant shades, complementaries, stats, et cetera in a single output screen.
Also worth a mention: Contrast A, SlayerOffice Color Palette, ColorToy 2.0 (the only Flash tool on this list), the ultra-simple Infohound, Visibone (similarly easy, plus available in a dozen languages) and SitePro Central Color Scheme Chooser.
Extract a color palette from a URL or image
Tin Eye Labs – Color Extraction: Upload an image, paste an image URL or use drag and drop to extract the colors from your image. The engine will display a color palette for all the colors identified in your image. Color extraction works for JPEGs, PNGs, and GIFs.
ColorHunter: enter a tag, hex code or image URL to search for color palettes matching your criteria
Double-check the color palette of any image with this color palette generator from DeGraeve.com.
Best color sites to simulate (and correct) your designs for color-deficient vision
One out of 15 people are color-blind to some degree. These tools simulate how your site appears to people with impaired color vision.
Sharpen your color theory skills
Color Theory from Paper Leaf: Here’s your one-page cheatsheet on color theory concepts. (You can download it too!)
Sibagraphics on international color meanings: Colors’ meanings are by no means universal across cultures. In Egypt, apparently, yellow is a color of mourning; to the Chinese, green means your wife is cheating on you; in Japan, pink is popular with both men and women. Sidestep a cross-cultural misunderstanding by screening your palettes for international projects here.
Identify colors instantly with browser plugins
ColorZilla: Pimp your Firefox browser for color tasks with this plugin.
ColourMod: this free widget saves you from having to fire up Creative Suite every time you want to grab a juicy color you see.
Find killer background patterns
Create, browse and download background patterns for your designs. These tools can help:
Play with color more
Tin Eye: This site extracted the colors from 20 million Creative Commons images on Flickr to make the images searchable by color.
Color-Hex: This site includes hex codes for each color listed.
SpyColor: A free service that provides information about any color, including conversions to many color models (RGB, CMYK, HSL, HSV, XYZ, xyY, CIELAB, CIELUV, CIELCH, Hunter Lab and YIQ). Schemes (harmonies), like complementary, split-complementary, triadic, tetradic, five-tone, clash, analogous and monochromatic colors can be found on each color page.
RGB Challenge: In this game, try to guess the right color for the RGB code shown above. Get as many colors correct in a row and beat your friends!
Color (game): Color has you test the accuracy of your perception of color as you learn about key concepts in the theory of color and design.
Color Run: Simple game about colors. Just click on the lighter color.
HEX Invaders: Hark! Aliens are invading! You must protect the planet by matching the hex color code to the corresponding creature.
Color Sheep: A fast-paced arcade game in which players change Woolson’s color to match oncoming wolves by mixing different intensities of red, green, and blue light.
Shutterstock Spectrum: Search Shutterstock’s image database by color.
Playdots:The goal is simple; climb the leaderboards by connecting same-colored dots vertically and horizontally.
Online Color Challenge: How well do you see color? FACT: 1 out of 255 women and 1 out of 12 men have some form of color vision deficiency. Take the online color challenge, based on the Farnsworth Munsell 100 Hue Test.
Blendoku: A puzzle game that will challenge your ability to distinguish and arrange colors.
Name that Color: Want to know the name of a specific hue? Find it here.
HP IdeaLab’s Online Color Thesaurus: Hewlett-Packard’s color scientists get rigorous about colors’ names with this collaborative project.
WolframAlpha: This “computational knowledge engine” includes a color category, marrying color names with hex, RGB, CMYK and other values, temperatures and even light wavelengths. Color-nerds, rejoice. Phronistry’s Obscure Color Terms: Finally you can find out what “smargadine” or “luteolous” looks like. How puniceous!
The perennial bestselling Color Index by Jim Krause is even better! Color Index, Revised Edition provides more than 1,100 color combinations and formulas that are proven to help. Check it out at My Design Shop and get a free download of eight sample color swatches!