We all know how color can make or break your designs. From the tones you choose to how you use them in your layout, choosing the perfect colors is a key step in the creative process for marketing visuals.
And it can be a tough task because it’s not just about things looking pretty, but also about conveying the right emotion and effect.
So, what to do if you’re not an expert color scheme designer? If you don’t know anything about color codes or color theory and color schemes?
Don’t despair, because some companies have amazing, user-friendly, and super-effective color wheel design tools to make choosing a color palette a breezy experience. Combined with our extensive guide on the best color combinations, including all basics on color psychology.
Here we list the best color tools to inspire your upcoming design projects, help you pick the specific color for your intentions, and make your workflow easier.
Note: Color is a huge factor in graphic design accessibility; there are color combinations that are easier to distinguish by people with different visual abilities, such as color-blind or shortsighted individuals. Using a color wheel to select tones that are easier for everyone to see is always a good choice to impulse inclusivity in design.
The user-friendly design platform Canva includes various color tools that are available in the Canva Colors segment for all users –from both the Canva free version and Canva Pro, the premium subscription– and are a great help for the creative workflow.
- Color Wheel and RGB Color wheel – This interactive tool lets you pick a tone from a color grid, and a parameter for color harmony (you can go for an analogous color scheme, or pick a complementary color, etc.), to reveal palettes that meet that criteria in a visually powerful way.
- Color Palettes – A collection of hundreds of different and new color schemes around different topics and intentions, that you can search by keyword –think things like “warm colors”, “bakery” or “happy”, etc.– and also explore at random.
- Color Palette Generator – This cool feature lets you upload any image of your choice, and extracts a color palette from it, so you can design harmoniously.
- Color Meanings – A very detailed “dictionary of colors”, here you can find a definition, backstory, and effects for almost every color, complete with color combination suggestions to use.
Additionally, Canva has a long list of tutorials to learn how to use color in the design.
The industry-standard design platform Adobe wouldn’t be complete without its advanced and very handy suite of color tools, Adobe Color. It has four main features, all with their specific purpose, and the best is that if you have an Adobe Creative Cloud account, you can import your color choices from these tools right onto your designs across various Adobe CC apps such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Fresco, etc. While those apps are premium (and paid), the color tools are free to access.
- Color Wheel plus RGB Color wheel – You can select a base color from the wheel, and a parameter for combinations (analogous, complementary, triadic, compound, etc.), and the intelligent color scheme generator will suggest a harmonious palette to use.
- Extract Theme – You upload an image, and the tool extracts its different colors to create a palette.
- Extract Gradient – Similar to the theme feature, but when you provide an image, it extracts color gradients to use in your design.
- Accessibility Tools – This new feature helps you make sure the color values and color harmonies in your design will work from a functionality POV: that the contrast will be easy on the eyes and the text will be readable, among other things.
Additionally, they also have a dedicated selection of preset palettes you can explore by keywords such as colors, moods, or themes, and even a report on the latest color trends broken down by industry/topic.
Designs.ai is a software brand by Inmagine Group, the same company that owns 123RF stock photo agency and Pixlr photo editor. The Color Matcher has several useful color design tools worth discovering and using, and they’re free for all.
- Wheel – Pick a color from the wheel and a parameter to find the best possible color combinations (you have options for a monochromatic color scheme, analogous, complementary, triadic, tetradic, and more).
- Palettes – Explore and select from a collection of preset color themes thought to bring up the best of every visual.
- Image Color Extractor – Upload an image to extract its relevant colors and create your custom palette.
- Text – Check how to make your text pop by visualizing font color and size against the background with your desired colors.
- Overlay/Gradient/Contrast – Three different features –a color overlay filter, a gradient generator, and a contrast finder– to explore how your image can look when color effects are applied and saturation and other values are modified.
- Color Meanings – Extensive list of colors (from basic colors to specific mixtures of unique tones) with their meanings and visual effects.
VistaCreate (previously known as Crello) is a user-friendly graphic design tool by Depositphotos’ parent company VistaPrint. As it couldn’t be otherwise, it comes with VistaCreate Colors, a two-fold feature to help you select colors for your designs, that you can access for free.
- Color Palettes – Get inspired by their many premade color palettes that fit different themes, moods, and styles.
- Color Names – Get info on color names, color hex codes, and meanings for primary colors, secondary colors, and a wide array of tertiary colors, to make sure you’re using the perfect hue for your purposes.
Shutterstock Colors: Simple & Effective Resources
The leading stock photo site Shutterstock might not have color wheel tools per se, but it does have two useful color inspiration resources to help you define the hues you’ll use, and help you find images with these colors easily. Shutterstock images are paid for, but the color tools are free.
- The Shutterstock Color Schemes tab, on their website, is a useful grid with 180+ popular colors, that when you click on them expands into a core explanation of said color’s origin, meaning, and effect, plus a list of hex colors within that tint, and a sample of Shutterstock images with that color as main. It’s a great tool to discover more about colors and help inspire your selection.
- The Shutterstock Color Filter is a feature within the advanced search tool that the site offers to navigate its huge catalog. With this filter, you can select a preset color, or a custom one from a chart, or even enter a hex code for a particular color you want, and it will narrow image results with your selection as the main tone. Super useful to save time in finding images with the right color for your project.
Use Color Wisely with These Cool Color Tools and Color Theory
Whatever format you’re designing in, colors will always be a critical factor. Be it material designs like prints and products, web designs, or digital visuals, color is an organic component that you need to master.
These free color tools make it all better and easier by bringing up the best possible colors for each occasion with just a few clicks here and there.
They’re the ultimate solution to being a color wizard, even if you don’t really have an artistic nature about you.
Which tool are you trying now?