When you’re choosing a color for a design project or going through a complete brand refresh, the sheer number of options can feel overwhelming.
If you want to avoid getting bogged down in shades, there are some helpful color palette generators that can make the color-selection process satisfying and even fun.
Once you’ve narrowed down your color choices to a few shades that work well together, adding them to your Venngage designs is simple and easy with My Brand Kit. Import your new brand colors to your infographics, presentations and other design assets with just one click.
Let’s explore what you need to know about color palettes and how our favorite color palette generators work.
Click to jump ahead:
- What is a color palette?
- How to pick a color palette
- How many colors should a color palette have?
- Best color palette generators
- Color palette generators FAQ
What is a color palette?
A color palette is a collection of colors and shades used by an artist or designer. In home design, the term “color palette” refers to all the fabric, paint and other colors used in a room. In graphic design and branding, the term is most often used to refer to the precise shades of colors that make up a brand’s identity.
“Color palette” is sometimes used interchangeably with the words theme and scheme. They’re all referencing the same thing: a collection of colors.
Want to learn more about colors? Here’s everything you need to know about colors… in less than 3 minutes:
How to pick a color palette
Picking a color palette for your brand can be tricky business because several concerns come into play all at once, including the personality of your brand, what assets the color palette will be used for, what shades are used by other players in your industry and more.
Here are a few tips to help you narrow in on a color palette that’s right for your organization:
Identify your brand personality
The science of color covers not only how colors work together but how they work on people. Different colors bring to mind different traits, and it’s important to understand how you plan to position your organization in the market.
Most researchers agree that cool colors evoke feelings of trust and loyalty while warm colors call to mind energy and excitement. Check out the chart above to see the colors associated with adjectives that describe your ideal brand.
Pick a core color
There’s a reason people avoid wearing red shirts to Target. The color is so associated with the retailer that you run the risk of being mistaken for an employee. Identify a single color that most connects to your brand and make it dominant in your logo and all other aspects of your brand.
Branch out (if you want to)
Some of the world’s most recognizable brands, like Target, Netflix and Spotify, use a single bold color for just about everything they do. That has helped these companies create instantly recognizable brand identities.
But other brands use multiple shades of the same color, colors that complement their main shade or ones that provide strong contrast, which can make a brand feel sleek and modern.
Want to learn more about branding and picking colors? Read our blog post:
- Everything You Need to Know About Picking and Using Brand Colors
- How to Pick Colors to Captivate Readers and Communicate Effectively
How many colors should a color palette have?
In general, less is more when it comes to brand colors. If you have too many, you run the risk of muddying the waters when it comes to reinforcing your brand identity. Particularly for new companies or ones that are rebranding, being unclear with consumers could mean your branding initiative fails.
That said, picking several colors that look good together is both art and science. Here are a few terms you’ll need to know as you work with the color palette generators we detail in the next section:
- Monochromatic: One color or shades of the same color
- Analogous: Next to each other on the color wheel
- Complementary: Across from each other on the color wheel
- Split-complementary: One base color and two secondary colors that are adjacent to the main color’s complement
- Triadic: Three colors that are the same distance from each other on the color wheel
- Tetradic: Four colors total, two pairs of complementary colors
Best color palette generators
Ready to get started developing your brand’s color palette? Check out the 13 best color palette generators out there.
- Adobe Color
- Color Hunt
This means you have to mix, match, test and retest, until you’ve found something that works.
Translation: there’s a ton of trial, error and time involved… so save yourself extra time and effort by flipping this process around!
With Venngage’s 100% free Accessible Color Palette Generator, you can generate a range of beautiful, WCAG-compliant color palettes in one of two ways — no design experience or accessibility knowledge required.
How does it work? In two ways:
- Randomize. Don’t think twice — roll the dice and generate palettes based on a random color.
- Generate from HEX. Input a HEX code to discover accessible palettes based on your color of choice.
No matter which route you choose, you’ll see the contrast ratio of each color against black or white text. And every palette generated adheres to a contrast ratio of 4.5:1 as per the latest Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA.
In other words, the designs you create with these color combos will be compliant and inclusive.
Once you find a palette you love, simply click Download. You’ll get a text file with the HEX codes for that palette and for the text color that goes with it (#ffffff for white text and #000000 for black text).
Ready to give it a try? You’re just one click away from discovering a beautiful, accessible color palette:
Coolors is an intuitive and robust color palette generator that allows you to explore palettes based on keywords, generate your own color palette from an uploaded image, see what your selections look like for people who are colorblind, generate gradients and more.
This free, ad-supported tool can be accessed on the web, but it’s also available as an iOS app, Adobe extension and Chrome extension. Users can see the HEX codes as well as RGB and CYMK color values for each of their chosen shades so they can be sure they’re using the exact right color.
Adobe Color is another outstanding tool, though it has a more technical feel than Coolors. Still, the free tool allows all users, whether they have subscriptions to Adobe products or not, to extract themes from images, generate color palettes or create gradients from uploaded images.
Users can also ensure their color choices make it easy for colorblind people, as well as checking to ensure their shades will be able to serve as a background for text. Just because shades look good paired with each other doesn’t always mean they’ll be a good combination for text.
Paletton appears intimidating because the interface is quite technical-looking and, indeed, the free color palette generator is backed by color science. Adjust the color wheel distance to pick shades similar to your main color or ones that are opposite on the color wheel.
Users can select from presets that generate monochromatic, adjacent or complementary with three-color and four-color options, or they can modify individual selections to see how the shades shift. It’s not as intuitive as some other options on this list, but if you want a no-frills science-based color palette generator, it’s your best bet.
Colormind is unique among the color palette generators on this list because it allows you to build a color palette and see how it would look applied to a website. While it was built by and for web developers, simulating a website look is an excellent way to determine if your color scheme will work before you see it in action.
Have the free, AI-powered system generate color schemes or lock in a couple of your top picks and fill in the blanks from there. Once you see a color you like, lock it into the palette and switch up the order to see how the system changes the sample website.
Bring it to life: Once you find the color palette that works for your brand, upload it into Venngage’s My Brand Kit so you can apply it to all your design assets with just a few clicks.
Color Hunt is a free, artist-generated color palette library that lets you cycle through new, trendy or random options. While you can create your own four-color palette, the biggest advantage of Color Hunt is the sheer number of already created color palettes to inspire you.
Copy the HEX values for the colors you like or generate an image you can use to share with your colleagues to get buy-in from the entire team.
ColorSpace is a simple, intuitive tool that lets you enter or choose a shade from the color wheel and scroll through a variety of palettes. Options include gradients, complementary, contrasting and more.
The free tool was clearly made for web developers. But artists and designers of all stripes can benefit from the lightning-quick palette generation ColorSpace provides. While it doesn’t allow for the intense customization of other options, there’s something to be said for preventing analysis paralysis.
BrandColors is more of a color-exploration tool than a true color palette generator. But it’s especially useful for organizations developing their brand identity because this free tool shows the official brand colors for hundreds of companies, sports teams and other organizations.
Scroll through the options or search for applicable brands. It’s helpful for those who want to avoid conflict with a competitor as well as those who want to find a color that’s like one in another brand’s palette. Select the color codes of the shades you want to mimic (or avoid) or share a link to the palette with your colleagues.
ColourLovers is a creative community where artists share color palettes they’ve created as well as patterns and other design elements. You can also read blog posts on design-related topics in addition to exploring color schemes.
The free color palette generator at ColourLovers is quite technical and not ideal for beginners. But you can explore colors and how they compare and contrast until you get to the perfect combination. A basic version of the generator is simpler to use, but you won’t be able to automatically generate complementary or contrasting shades.
Not sure how many colors to use? We can help you determine how many colors and what type of color families are right for your brand.
Culrs is a free, simple-to-use color palette library. You won’t be able to fully customize your color palette, but it’s an excellent way to get inspired by monochromatic, contrasting or complementary schemes backed by science.
Explore a color family by selecting monochromatic palettes or mix it up by finding cool and warm shades that blend well or stand out against one another. When you find that must-have color, just copy the HEX code by clicking on it.
Brandfolder’s color palette tool extracts a color scheme from an image, including uploaded files or images from the web. While it doesn’t allow for much customization, this free tool is one of the best at recognizing colors from images.
As you can see in the above screenshots, we uploaded an image of a Seattle Seahawks helmet, and the extractor hit the team’s brand colors nearly dead-on. What this means is that the extractor’s AI is well-trained to find dominant colors rather than just random ones.
ColorHexa is a free, absolutely no-frills tool for generating gradients, color codes, color schemes and text previews. The system automatically generates all the elements, so your only customization option is the color you choose at the beginning.
Still, the system quickly generates palettes that can help you see what shades go well with the color you’ve entered. It’s also a useful tool for converting a color from one system, like HEX values, to another, like RGB or CMYK.
Material Design is a system created by Google to help developers, designers and others create apps for Android devices. Material.io’s color tool is quite technical, but it’s also an excellent way to see how your chosen color scheme will appear on an Android device.
Pick a color or input a color value and the system will automatically generate a complementary palette. Choose to scroll through a variety of user interfaces or see how legible the text will be in your chosen palette.
Color Lisa is a unique, free tool that catalogs the major color schemes used in some of the most famous works of art in human history. It’s not a color palette generator, but it’s sure to inspire you with color.
Big Jackson Pollock fan? Or maybe Basquiat is more your speed? Pick an artist and scroll through the palettes that have been generated based on their most famous works. New work is being added regularly, so don’t worry if your favorite work of art isn’t there yet.
Venngage’s My Brand Kit is an ideal way to keep your new color palette and other brand identity assets organized and ensure they’re being applied properly to everything your team creates.
Color palette generators FAQ
Do you have more questions about color palette generators? We’ve got answers.
What is a color palette generator?
A color palette generator is an online tool that will generate a random color palette or allow users to generate a selection of colors that go well with a specified shade.
Where can I find a color palette?
How do you use a color palette generator?
Some color palettes generate random or uploaded palettes of shades that go well together, while some will allow users to select a few colors to lock in and find shades that complement or contrast with those.
How do I find the best color palette?
You need to consider your brand personality before selecting a main color and complementary shades to round out your color palette. Once you’ve settled on a color family, use Coolors, Adobe Color or ColorSpace to build from there.
In summary: Color palette generators are indispensable tools for using art and science to reinforce your brand identity
Once you’ve found the perfect colors that bring your brand to life, add them automatically through your website or upload them to your Venngage Brand Kit to ensure all your infographics, presentations and other visual design assets reinforce that identity.