4 ways to create colour palettes

So in case you haven’t noticed, I LOVE colour – the brighter the better! One of the skills you learn as a pattern designer (or any artist for that matter) is to select colours that work together and express what you are wanting to say through your art.

It can sometimes be hard to know where to start, so here are four ways to create your own colour palettes and gain inspiration for your work, whether that be designing patterns or doing some home interior decorating!

Colours from a photograph

This is one of my favourite ways to create a colour palette. First you need a photograph! You can either use one of your own photos or scroll through Pinterest for inspiration. If you find a photo you love, you can download it from Pinterest to pull the colours from it.

The next step is to open the photograph in Photoshop. Use the eyedropper tool to select each part of the image where you want to capture the colour.

Either save the colour swatches or write down the colour values.

create colour palettes
example of a palette using one of my photos

If you don’t have Photoshop, you can use an online Colour Palette Generator – you just need to upload the URL of the image (so it has to be online somewhere) and the colours are automatically generated for you. It produces both a vibrant and a dull colour palette with the corresponding HEX codes. You have a bit less control than with Photoshop but it is completely free to use!

create colour palettes
example of an image in the Colour Palette Generator

Adobe Capture app

If you like the idea of capturing colour inspiration on the go, then I highly recommend you download the Adobe Capture app onto your phone. You can use your phone’s camera to select colours from whatever you are looking at – perfect for spontaneous hits of colour inspiration!

It also has lots of other nifty features which I am yet to explore!

create colour palettes
example of the Adobe Capture app in use

Pantone Fashion Colour Trend Reports

Pantone produces colour trend reports after every London and New York fashion week. These reports give a fascinating insight into trending colours and the theory behind these colours. They are a great source of inspiration for new colour ideas and colour combinations.

create colour palettes
one of my favourite recent palettes from New York fashion week

Shutterstock Blog

Shutterstock publishes excellent articles with colour palette inspiration, and like Pantone, they are based on trends. In this case, trends in stock imagery and corresponding colour palettes.

Even better is that Shutterstock includes HEX codes of different colour palettes so you can get your inspiration and the exact colour codes in one go!

create colour palettes
an example of one of Shutterstock’s colour palettes

I hope this has inspired you to start creating some amazing colour palettes!

I'd love to know what you think!