Color Theory & Inspiration Resources

Sep 09, 2014
Melissa Gridley

Last week (whoa, actually…two weeks ago. Oops) a classmate asked for some resources for color theory, palette creation and inspiration. Since one of Tumblr’s most frustrating limitations is not being able to respond to comments, I thought I’d post my favorite color-related sites here.

My go-to for palette creation is definitely Adobe Kuler. I love that I can integrate it into Creative Suite, sync faves right in my palettes or download an .ase file of my creations. Easily browse crowd favorites or create your own using RGB, CMYK, Lab or hex values. (

ColourLovers also has tons of palettes, patterns and colors, many drawn from beautiful photos. (

I love the way Design Seeds formats their palettes: reference photos are the focal point, with the color palette in cleanly spaced rectangles. Search by category or color value (sorry printophiles — RGB only). (


If you need help with color theory, Colors on the Web is a great place to start. Great articles and tools for anyone from beginner to color expert. (

Color Schemer is really, really basic, but has a desktop app that’s free to download. It’s geared mainly toward web, with hex color values front and center. (

Last, but certainly not least, the mother of all color: Pantone. I don’t use the swatch tools much since I have a swatchbook set at home, but I’m absolutely addicted to their accessories line. I got a Pantone mug for Christmas last year and I treat it like fine crystal (I almost broke up with my boyfriend when he tried to put it in the dishwasher). My creative team at my last corporate design job even dressed up as Pantone chips for Halloween (design geekery at its finest!).


They turned out to be educational costumes; we heard Pantone references from marketers & product people for months afterward! (

Those are just a few I have bookmarked. If you have any to add, by all means please share!

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