50 Unforgettable Color Palettes to Help You Design Your Own

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Choosing a color palette for your design project is an important decision that affects every aspect of your design’s performance, from visual impact to user experience.

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In this post, you’ll find abundant color palette inspiration and, more importantly, learn how to choose the right palette for your unique project.

Table of Contents

Choosing The Right Color Palette for Your Design Project

While selecting a color palette without much consideration might be tempting, you must understand that your color choices must be intentional and informed.

Colors are much more than aesthetics. Choosing colors that achieve the desired impact and communicate the intended meaning requires careful and thoughtful selection.

The question then becomes — how do you find a color palette that aligns with your design needs and preferences? A great starting point is to establish a framework for understanding and organizing these palettes through categorization.

Color Palette Categories

Understanding color palette categorization allows you to identify palettes that align with your design requirements and broadens your creative horizons beyond your habitual preferences.

While there aren’t any hard or fast rules about categorizing the near-infinite number of possible color combinations, we can approach this in two ways — creating color palettes based on the color wheel or based on inspiration. Each has unique advantages.

Note: Most palettes will belong to more than one category across both categorization methods.

Categorizing Color Palettes Based on the Color Wheel

This method categorizes color palettes based on how the colors within the palette interact with the color wheel. For context, the color wheel is a circular illustration where the position of one or more colors relative to others depicts their relationships.

Color palette inspiration infographic explaining basic color theory

Image Source

Here are some color palette categories based on this method.

1. Analogous Color Palettes

An analogous color palette, or related color scheme, is based on colors directly beside each other on the color wheel.

For example, in a basic color wheel that consists of primary and secondary colors, an analogous palette might consist of green, yellow, and orange.

Analogous color palette inspiration

These palettes are great for achieving color harmony and smooth transitions between the colors in your design.

2. Complementary Color Palettes

A complementary color palette, or contrasting color scheme, is based on colors opposite each other on the color wheel.

For example, in a basic color wheel that consists of primary and secondary colors, the complementary pairs would be green/red, yellow/purple, and blue/orange.

Complementary color palette inspiration

These palettes are great for achieving contrast in your designs while maintaining balance. As an additional tip, consider using your key color as the dominant hue while the others serve as complementary or accent colors.

3. Triadic Color Palettes

A triadic color palette consists of three evenly spaced colors along the color wheel. A simple way to find colors that fall within this category is to draw an equilateral triangle on the color wheel and select the colors at each point of the triangle.

For example, the primary colors on a basic color wheel (red, blue, and yellow) form a primary triad, while the secondary colors on a basic color wheel (orange, green, and purple) form a secondary triad.

Complementary: Triadic

These palettes are great because, if done right, they allow you to create versatility and depth in your designs without sacrificing harmony.

4. Tetradic Color Palettes

A tetradic, or double complementary, color palette is similar to the triadic color palette; however, this palette consists of four colors evenly spaced out on the color wheel.

The easiest way to find these colors is to start by selecting a base color and then choose three other colors equidistant from the base color on the color wheel.

For example, in a primary color wheel, if the base color is red, the other three colors in the tetradic palette would be green, blue, and yellow.

Tetradic

Tetradic palettes are great because they help you create vibrancy and visual interest through high contrast levels between the colors.

Categorizing Color Palettes Based on Inspiration

Another approach to categorizing color palettes is referencing the external sources of inspiration the palettes draw from.

Rather than starting with colors, this method observes objects, locations, events, etc., and uses the most prominent colors associated with them to form a palette.

Here are some categories based on this method:

1. Warm vs. Cool-Toned Color Palettes

The categorization of warm versus cool color palettes is based on the perceived temperatures of colors derived from how they are naturally observed.

For example, red, orange, and yellow are considered warm colors due to their natural association with heat, warmth, and fire. The meanings attributed to these colors extend beyond their natural occurrences and evoke sensations related to them, such as passion, anger, and energy.

On the other hand, cool colors are naturally associated with colder elements like water and sky. And similar to warm colors, these are also associated with certain feelings such as calmness, tranquility, and even elegance. Some examples include colors like blues and greens.

So, these palettes can then be used to help designers pass across a visual message that evokes these associated feelings.

Complementary: warm-vs-cool

2. Seasonal Color Palettes

Seasonal color palettes are unique combinations of colors inspired by specific seasons of the year. These palettes incorporate colors naturally associated with particular seasons to capture and evoke the period’s mood, atmosphere, and emotions.

With this category of color palettes, the geographic context of where the designs will be displayed is crucial because the audience’s familiarity with the referenced season determines their ability to relate to and resonate with the design.

For example, a palette that uses “autumn colors” (orange, red, yellow, and brown) will only be relevant in locations where the audience experiences and values the changing autumn leaves.

Complementary: seasonal

3. Thematic Color Palettes

Thematic color palettes are palettes inspired by a specific theme or concept.

While these palettes allow for endless creative possibilities, selecting a palette that resonates with your audience and effectively communicates the design’s narrative requires a deep understanding of your audience and project. It’s also important to note that these palettes often have to be used in collaboration with elements related to the referenced theme.

Some examples of thematic color palettes include retro-inspired, space-inspired, and even minimalistic.

thematic

Bonus category: Monochromatic Color Palettes

A monochromatic color palette modifies a base color using shades, tones, or tints to create variations of that single color.

For example, a monochromatic color palette might use the color pink as a base color and then incorporate other shades of pink by adding varying degrees of white, black, or gray.

Monochromatic

50 Color Palette Examples to Inspire Your Next Project

Now that you understand how to think about color palettes, here are some palettes to consider for your next creative project. These palettes have also been categorized to help you quickly determine whether they fit your design project.

Please note that while some of these palettes may fall into multiple categories, they have been assigned a maximum of two primary categories for simplicity’s sake.

1. Sunset Serenade

Color Palette Inspiration: Sunset Serenade color palette

Categories: Analogous. Thematic.

Hex Codes:

  • Orange: #FF9F55
  • Yellow: #FFD255
  • Yellowish: #FFE255
  • Orange: #FF9F55
  • Reddish Orange: #FF7155

2. Ocean Breeze

Color Palette Inspiration: Ocean Breeze color palette

Categories: Analogous. Thematic. Cool-toned.

Hex Codes:

  • Turquoise: #43BFC7
  • Aquamarine: #55C7A5
  • Greenish Blue: #66C79B
  • Turquoise: #43BFC7
  • Cerulean Blue: #4387C7

3. Spring Meadow

Color Palette inspiration: Spring Meadow color palette

Categories: Analogous. Seasonal.

Hex codes:

  • Yellowish Green: #9ACD32
  • Lime Green: #B4CD32
  • Medium Yellow-Green: #CDCD32
  • Yellowish Green: #9ACD32
  • Bright Lime: #8FCD32

4. Autumn Harvest

Color Palette Inspiration: Autumn Harvest color palette

Categories: Analogous. Seasonal.

Hex codes:

  • Orange: #E68A2E
  • Yellowish Orange: #E69E2E
  • Golden Yellow: #E6B02E
  • Orange: #E68A2E
  • Reddish Orange: #E6642E

5. Candy Store

Color Palette Inspiration: Candy Crush color palette

Categories: Analogous. Thematic.

Hex codes:

  • Pink: #FF80AA
  • Pinkish Purple: #FF80D1
  • Magenta: #FF80FF
  • Pink: #FF80AA
  • Purplish Pink: #FF55AA

6. Desert Sands

desert-sands

Categories: Analogous. Thematic.

Hex codes:

  • Beige: #E5CBA1
  • Sand Yellow: #E5D2A1
  • Pale Yellow: #E5D9A1
  • Beige: #E5CBA1
  • Light Brown: #E5C2A1

7. Winter Chill

Color Palette inspiration: Winter Chill

Categories: Analogous. Seasonal.

Hex codes:

  • Light Blue: #7698B3
  • Sky Blue: #7698D6
  • Cool Blue: #7698F8
  • Light Blue: #7698B3
  • Cerulean: #7698E1

8. Fiery Passion

Color Palette Inspiration: Fiery Passion

Categories: Complementary. Thematic.

Hex codes:

  • Flame Orange: #FF4500
  • Electric Blue: #00FFFF
  • Royal Purple: #6A0DAD
  • Lime Green: #00FF00

9. Fresh Citrus

Color Palette Inspiration: Fresh citrus color palette

Categories: Complementary. Thematic.

Hex Codes:

  • Tangy Tangerine: #FFA500
  • Zesty Lemon: #FFFF00
  • Lively Lime: #00FF00
  • Splash of Aqua: #00FFFF

10. Bold Harmony

Color Palette Inspiration: Bold Harmony color palette

Categories: Complementary.

Hex Codes:

  • Radiant Red: #FF0000
  • Vivid Violet: #8A2BE2
  • Electric Blue: #00FFFF
  • Fierce Fuchsia: #FF00FF

11. Nature’s Delight

Color Palette inspiration: Nature’s Delight color palette

Categories: Complementary. Thematic.

Hex Codes:

  • Sunshine Yellow: #FFFF00
  • Leafy Green: #00FF00
  • Sky Blue: #87CEEB
  • Coral Burst: #FF7F50

12. Tropical Paradise

tropical-paradise

Categories: Complementary. Thematic.

Hex codes:

  • Mango Tango: #FF8243
  • Turquoise Waters: #40E0D0
  • Orchid Bloom: #DA70D6
  • Sunny Citron: #DFFF00

13. Vibrant Energy

vibrant-energy

Categories: Complementary. Thematic.

Hex codes:

  • Bold Magenta: #FF00FF
  • Electric Lime: #CCFF00
  • Cobalt Blue: #0047AB
  • Fiery Coral: #FF5252

14. Dynamic Sunset

Color Palette Inspiration: Dynamic Sunset color palette

Categories: Complementary. Thematic.

Hex codes:

  • Burnt Orange: #FF7034
  • Deep Amethyst: #9C27B0
  • Goldenrod Yellow: #DAA520
  • Twilight Blue: #0A1172

15. Vibrant Trio

vibrant-trio

Categories: Triadic.

Hex codes:

  • Royal Blue: #4169E1
  • Emerald Green: #008000
  • Fiery Red: #FF0000

16. Citrus Burst

Color Palette Inspiration: Citrus Burst color palette

Categories: Triadic. Thematic.

Hex codes:

  • Sunny Yellow: #FFFF00
  • Tangy Orange: #FFA500
  • Lively Lime: #00FF00

17. Pastel Dream

pastel-dream

Categories: Triadic. Thematic.

Hex codes:

  • Soft Pink: #FFB6C1
  • Lilac Purple: #C8A2C8
  • Sky Blue: #87CEEB

18. Tropical Sunset

Color Palette Inspiration: Tropical Sunset color palette

Categories: Triadic. Thematic.

Hex codes:

  • Coral Orange: #FF7F50
  • Electric Blue: #00FFFF
  • Goldenrod Yellow: #DAA520

19. Spring Blossom

Color Palette inspiration: Spring Blossom color palette

Categories: Triadic. Seasonal.

Hex codes:

  • Rosy Pink: #FF69B4
  • Fresh Green: #00FF00
  • Periwinkle Blue: #CCCCFF

20. Electric Harmony

Color Palette Inspiration: Electric Harmony color palette

Categories: Triadic.

Hex codes:

  • Radiant Red: #FF0000
  • Electric Blue: #00FFFF
  • Lime Green: #00FF00

21. Earthy Tones

earthy-tones

Categories: Triadic. Thematic.

Hex codes:

  • Terracotta: #E2725B
  • Olive Green: #808000
  • Mustard Yellow: #FFDB58

22. Radiant Quartet

radiant-quartet

Categories: Tetradic.

Hex codes:

  • Ruby Red: #FF0033
  • Electric Blue: #00CCFF
  • Sunshine Yellow: #FFFF33
  • Deep Forest: #006633

23. Tropical Fusion

Color Palette Inspiration: Tropical Fusion color palette

Categories: Tetradic. Thematic.

Hex codes:

  • Coral Blaze: #FF7F50
  • Azure Waters: #007FFF
  • Citrus Burst: #FFCC00
  • Royal Violet: #8B00FF

24. Citrus Zing

Color Palette Inspiration: Citrus Zing color palette

Categories: Tetradic. Thematic.

Hex codes:

  • Tangy Tangerine: #FFA500
  • Lemon Zest: #FFFF00
  • Fresh Lime: #00FF00
  • Plum Passion: #8B008B

25. Sunset Radiance

Color Palette Inspiration: Sunset Radiance color palette

Categories: Tetradic. Thematic.

Hex codes:

  • Blush Pink: #FF6699
  • Golden Gleam: #FFCC00
  • Teal Tempest: #009999
  • Regal Purple: #660099

26. Earthy Harmony

Color Palette Inspiration: Earthy Harmony color palette

Categories: Tetradic. Thematic.

Hex codes:

  • Terracotta Spice: #E2725B
  • Olive Grove: #808000
  • Mustard Glow: #FFDB58
  • Deep Crimson: #800020

27. Electric Dreams

electric-dreams-1

Categories: Tetradic.

Hex codes:

  • Neon Fuchsia: #FF00FF
  • Luminous Lime: #00FF00
  • Electric Azure: #00FFFF
  • Fiery Orange: #FF6600

28. Jeweled Opulence

Color Palette Inspiration: Jeweled Opulence color palette

Categories: Tetradic. Thematic.

Hex codes:

  • Sapphire Splendor: #0066CC
  • Enchanted Emerald: #009933
  • Amethyst Allure: #993399
  • Crimson Radiance: #CC0033

29. Spring Awakening

spring-awakening

Categories: Seasonal.

Hex codes:

  • Petal Pink: #FFB7C5
  • Fresh Fern: #9ACD32
  • Sunshine Yellow: #FFD700
  • Sky Blossom: #87CEEB

30. Summer Breeze

Color Palette Inspiration: Summer Breeze color palette

Categories: Seasonal.

Hex codes:

  • Coral Delight: #FF7F50
  • Golden Sunray: #FFD700
  • Tropical Aqua: #00CED1
  • Sandcastle Beige: #DEB887

31. Autumn Splendor

Color Palette Inspiration: Autumn Splendor color palette

Categories: Seasonal.

Hex codes:

  • Spiced Orange: #D2691E
  • Amber Harvest: #FFBF00
  • Cinnamon Spice: #FF7F24
  • Burnt leaves: #ED5F1E

32. Winter Frost

Color Palette inspiration: Winter Frost color palette

Categories: Seasonal.

Hex codes:

  • Frosty Blue: #87CEEB
  • Snowflake White: #FFFFFF
  • Silver Frost: #C0C0C0
  • Lavender Chill: #E6E6FA

33. Meadow Serenade

Color Palette Inspiration: Meadow Serenade color palette

Categories: Seasonal.

Hex codes:

  • Meadow Grass: #7CFC00
  • Sunlit Dandelion: #FDBE13
  • Azure Skies: #87CEEB
  • Lilac Bloom: #C8A2C8

34. Tropical Oasis

Color Palette Inspiration: Tropical Oasis color palette

Categories: Seasonal.

Hex codes:

  • Palm Paradise: #6B8E23
  • Turquoise Lagoon: #40E0D0
  • Sunset Glow: #FF4500
  • Hibiscus Kiss: #FF69B4

35. Fireside Coziness

Color Palette Inspiration: Fireside Coziness color palette

Categories: Thematic.

Hex codes:

  • Cocoa Delight: #8B4513
  • Mulled Crimson: #800000
  • Golden Embrace: #FFD700
  • Chestnut Toast: #CD5C5C

36. Enchanted Forest

enchanted-forest

Categories: Thematic.

Hex codes:

  • Moss Green: #9ACD32
  • Sunlit Meadow: #C0D468
  • Twilight Indigo: #2A3152
  • Berry Bramble: #A020F0

37. Oceanic Depths

oceanic-depths

Categories: Thematic.

Hex codes:

  • Deep Sea Blue: #084F6A
  • Aquamarine Mist: #7FFFD4
  • Coral Reef: #FF7F50
  • Pearl White: #FFFDF8

38. Vintage Elegance

Color Palette inspiration: Vintage Elegance color palette

Categories: Thematic.

Hex codes:

  • Antique Rose: #D67E78
  • Dusty Lavender: #A19FA0
  • Champagne Gold: #FFD700
  • Rich Mahogany: #C04000

39. Urban Chic

urban-chic

Categories: Thematic.

Hex codes:

  • Slate Gray: #708090
  • Steel Blue: #4682B4
  • Brick Red: #B22222
  • Urban Plum: #705898

40. Fiesta Celebration

fiesta-celebration

Categories: Thematic.

Hex codes:

  • Salsa Red: #FF3E58
  • Sunny Marigold: #FFB61E
  • Tequila Lime: #BFFF00
  • Electric Pink: #FF3F8E

41. Serene Oasis

serene-oasis

Categories: Thematic.

Hex codes:

  • Soft Sand: #EFE7DC
  • Tranquil Teal: #6FD9CC
  • Desert Rose: #F88379
  • Golden Glow: #FFCC00

42. Galactic Adventure

Color Palette Inspiration: Galactic Adventure color palette

Categories: Thematic.

Hex codes:

  • Nebula Purple: #6E43A1
  • Astral Blue: #1B75BB
  • Comet Green: #52B788
  • Meteor Orange: #FF5714

43. Tranquil Serenity

Color Palette Inspiration: Tranquil Serenity color palette

Categories: Monochromatic. Cool.

Hex codes:

  • Misty Blue: #AED9E0
  • Pale Sky: #C7E7EF
  • Baby Blue: #E5F1F7
  • Powdered Periwinkle: #F1F6FB

44. Lush Greenery

lush-greenery

Categories: Monochromatic. Cool.

Hex codes:

  • Fresh Mint: #A2D9A8
  • Verdant Grass: #B7E1B3
  • Leafy Green: #CCE9C6
  • Deep Emerald: #D9F2D7

45. Subtle Blush

Color Palette Inspiration: Subtle Blush color palette

Categories: Monochromatic. Warm.

Hex codes:

  • Soft Pink: #F3C3C6
  • Blushing Rose: #F7D2D4
  • Delicate Peach: #FBE1E3
  • Dusty Coral: #FFEEEF

46. Warm Sunrise

Color Palette Inspiration: Warm Sunrise color palette

Categories: Monochromatic. Warm.

Hex codes:

  • Pale Gold: #F9E79F
  • Sunlit Apricot: #FAD7A0
  • Amber Glow: #FDEBD0
  • Pastel Honey: #FFF9E6

47. Midnight Sky

Color Palette Inspiration: Midnight Sky color palette

Categories: Monochromatic. Cool.

Hex codes:

  • Twilight Sky: #5C6B7B
  • Midnight Navy: #717D8E
  • Deep Indigo: #8798A5
  • Ink Black: #9CA8B6

48. Soft Lavender

Color Palette inspiration: Soft Lavender color palette

Categories: Monochromatic. Cool.

Hex codes:

  • Lilac Haze: #D8B8D8
  • Mauve Mist: #E3C6E3
  • Pastel Purple: #EED4EE
  • Lavender Bliss: #F7EAF7

49. Earthy Taupe

Color Palette Inspiration: Earthy Taupe color palette

Categories: Monochromatic. Warm.

Hex codes:

  • Sandy Beige: #D2B48C
  • Warm Taupe: #D8C3A5
  • Cocoa Brown: #E7DAD0
  • Rich Mocha: #F5EDE2

50. Sunny Yellow

Color Palette Inspiration: Sunny Yellow color palette

Categories: Monochromatic. Warm.

Hex codes:

  • Lemon Zest: #F7D440
  • Goldenrod: #F9DF67
  • Honey Yellow: #FCE28A
  • Sunflower Yellow: #FFEBB3

Color Palette Generators

To gain further inspiration or create unique color palettes for yourself, consider using an online color palette generator.

Color palette generators are extraordinarily helpful — they suggest colors that look good together and even provide the hex color numbers, so you can plug the colors directly into a program like Photoshop.

Before you begin your next design project, you might want to try generating different palettes of your own using one of these free online tools:

Creating A Color Palette

Every design project is different. This means your project will have unique requirements, objectives, and creative direction.

So, while you could pick a palette from this post, another approach is to consider these color palettes as guides. Use this post as a starting point and reference these examples to create a color palette that is truly and uniquely tailored to your design.

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