Color Themes from 12 Major Cities Across the World

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Color is an instrumental part of good design, and color themes can make a good project great. It can affect our mood, influence our behavior and create a vibrant experience for everyone who sees it. Interestingly, color can also evoke a sense of place. One color on its own may not illicit such a response; individually, blue and yellow don’t always incite thoughts of the beach. But together, there’s more of a likelihood – and that’s just two colors.

The Mill Shop decided to see how this link between sense of place and color can be mapped onto urban environments. These images highlight the color themes in 12 of the globe’s most famed cities. The tones in each colored cityscape work in harmony with each other to really encapsulate the feel and look of each city. Use these as inspiration if you’re looking to evoke a sense of place in your next design project.


Amsterdam color themes

One of the most historic color themes, this color palette matches the exuberance, cultural dynamism and liberal feel of Amsterdam: from the trademark Dutch orange to the vibrant yellow inspired by traditional Dutch clogs.


Bergen color themes

The Norwegian city of Bergen sits on the country’s coast. The stark temperatures, wild terrain and colorful culture of the city come together in this palette to give off a seriously cozy Scandinavian feel.

Cape Town

Cape Town color themes

The port city of Cape Town has a color theme that incorporates elements of its surrounding wildlife and natural beauty: think vast grasslands, imposing mountains and blazing sun.


Dubai color themes

One of the softest color themes can be found in Dubai. Combined with its dusty, sandy aesthetic, the city’s warmth is encapsulated by these balmy colors. These muted, dreamy colors create a strong palette with pleasing tones.


Dubrovnik color themes

Clearly seen in this palette, Dubrovnik in Croatia is a city of glorious color. The striking juxtaposition between the deep blue of the Adriatic against the Terracotta roofs of the city is a contrast definitive of Dubrovnik.


Kolkata color themes

More vibrant than the other color themes, this palette highlights the vivid vitality of Kolkata. The contrast between bright pink and sky blue, and the richness of Turmeric and Marigold creates a bright but balanced look, all brought together by the earthier tones of Cardamom and Market.


London color themes

London’s colored cityscape palette takes on the tones of gray in London, giving the city a professional feel. Broken up by a deep, rich red and a subtle blue, London’s humanity colors its landscape just like its weather.


Moscow color themes

With a focus on classic architecture, the palette for Moscow spans from bright and bold colors, heavy in blues and reds, and adds in some stoic and somber tones richer in darkness.

New York

New York color themes

New York’s color theme evokes all four seasons in one; summer, spring, autumn and winter are all represented in these varying hues. Borrowing from the architecture, trademark yellow cabs and landmarks, this comes together to match the electric energy and diversity of the city.


Paris color themes

The Parisian palette gives off feelings of warmth, class and sophistication, with a focus on the hues of its landmarks. These colors are a beckoning “Bienvenue” to bask in the culture and history of the French capital.


Rome color themes

As expected, these colors evoke Rome’s signature and classic style. Warm and bright tones add life and freshness to the city’s history and cultural significance; after all, Rome is the birthplace of Western civilization.


Tokyo color themes

The capital of Japan has a very distinct aesthetic. This palette takes in the bright neon of Tokyo’s advertising and peppers in other lively colors. It’s hard to think of a city where color is more apparent, and this palette encapsulates that vibrance against an inky night sky, for which Tokyo’s known.

Urban Inspiration through Color Themes

Each one of these color themes is distinct and unique. Color always play a huge part in any project, especially a design one.Whether it’s in a color scheme for a brand, a room design, or an illustration, use these color palettes as inspiration. If the place you’re trying to evoke hasn’t been included above, create your own!

Article by Amy Hunt

Using color effectively is a skill and a talent – one that will certainly serve you well. See red, go green, and fade to black with us at HOW Design Live in May!