10 Super Useful Tools for Choosing the Right Color Palette

By / May 26, 2009 / Tools

Whether you are designing a clean corporate website or a grunge portfolio site, color is going to play a major role in how the design is perceived by the audience. That’s why it’s important to get the colors right upfront. There are plenty of tools out there made especially for this, but like anything else some are better than others. Here are 10 color tools that I think are exceptionally useful.



As well as being a useful way to choose colors, ColoRotate looks cool and is actually fun to use. Instead of using two dimensional viewers, it presents color palettes to you in 3d and in real time.



Kuler is a community driven web app that lets your browse color palettes created by others. You can also create your own by using the color wheel, harmony rules, and color sliders.

Color Scheme Designer

Color Scheme Designer

Color Scheme Designer has been around for a while, but was just recently updated with a brand new interface and a new color scheme generating engine.



COLOURlovers provides more than just a way to find color palettes. It is also a place to network with other people to discuss color related topics, and read interesting articles about all things color.



Copaso is COLOURlovers palette generating tool. It’s rich feature set allows you to save colors to a scratch pad, extract colors from a photo, and publish a palette for thousands of other people to see.

Color Blender

Color Blender

Color Blender let’s you select a preferred color and then it generates a six color blend based on that color. From there you can tweak each individual color.



Toucan allows you to select up to 20 colors for each palette either by using color association or from an uploaded image.



ColorMunki gives you the ability to search colors from built in libraries and using keywords.

Color Wizard

Color Wizard

With Color Wizard you can submit a base color and it generates color schemes based on your color’s complementary color, split complementary colors, analogous colors and other variations.

Color Explorer

Color Explorer

Color Explorer is a fairly new color palette generating tool, but boasts a well organized set of features.

About the Author

Henry Jones is a web developer, designer, and entrepreneur with over 14 years of experience. He is the founder of WDL and ThemeTrust.

  • http://itsmattadams.com Matt

    ColorRotate and Color Explorer are new to me, and they look very nice. Kudos.

  • http://freelancercrowd.com/community/negative/clients%27-hall-of-shame/ FreelancerCrowd

    ColoRotate looks wanderful

  • http://todayinart.com/ @jeffrainey

    I love Kuler, but will need to checkout the others. Thanks man!

  • http://twitter.com/daanweijers Daan

    Nice collection πŸ˜‰

    for the iPhone, there’s cliqcliq, which is an awesome service πŸ˜€

  • http://www.ustablogcu.com Black Sand

    Thanks for great post

  • http://www.reich-consulting.net/ Brian Reich

    I used Color Scheme (not listed) until Creative Suite 4 was released. I love that Kuler is fully integrated into most of the CS4 applications.

  • http://www.colorotate.org Michael

    Great post, and well researched. These sorts of overview lists are useful for folks. Thanks for including our ColoRotate project. We added a link to your post to our media relations page:

  • http://webadelic.co.uk webadelic

    Great post, colour combos are a pain in the ass to get right. Bookmarked!

  • http://webitect.net Kayla

    I always use ColorSchemeDesigner, but a few of the other ones look pretty cool. I’ll have to check them out. Great post, thank you.

  • http://briancray.com Brian Cray

    My favorite would definitely be Color Schemer, but many of these are new to me!

  • Matt

    Where was this when I needed it last week!

  • ZJohn Ojnes

    ColoRotate totaqlly ROCKS. Awesome program!


  • Justin

    great post! Always looking for ways to bring a site together with the use of color. Thanks!

  • http://www.nhwebsitedesigns.com seo nh

    Excellent group of tools. I love the 3d view of ColorRotate. That is really helpful.

  • http://www.looogo-web.com/ Kamrul

    ColoRotate looks good but to me color wizard is user friendly.

  • http://www.pricebonus.com/ PB

    I used Color Scheme (not listed) until Creative Suite 4 was released. I love that Kuler is fully integrated into most of the CS4 applications.

  • http://www.brushthis.com Liora

    Excellent, comprehensive list that covers all possible color options. I have used Color Lovers in the past and adore the way they display their swatches and combos.

  • Orggu

    These will help me so much in The Sims 3 interior- and outfit desing. πŸ˜‰

  • http://asgamer.com Flash Gamer

    Very good list, I didn’t know about a lot of these.

    I’d add colorjack.com to the list. Great site.

  • http://www.mauconline.net mauco

    Out of all the 10, I’m only familiar with Colourlovers. Glad to find this list.

  • http://200westmain.com Henrietta of RedINKdiary

    Bookmarked! Thank you so much.

  • http://vector-art.blogspot.com Toni

    Colour-Lovers is a great resource. I love their blog section.

    Thanks for the posting!

  • http://www.itmentality.com.au IT Mentality

    Love COLOURlovers, Big fan here

  • http://www.jedistirfry.co.uk Neon

    I agree with Flash Gamer, should definitly add ColorJack to this list. ColorSphere and it’s OSX desktop wedget are fabulous tools.

  • http://www.theodin.co.uk theodin

    wicked list of resources, thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.e-c.co.nz Wayy

    awesome list, thank you!

  • http://www.tutoriallounge.com Casper

    there is great descriptions for make right colors for make any good theme for your cooperate or blogging themes, thanks.


  • Kate

    Very cool!

    And one of my favorite is SoftFuse Nice Tables http://www.softfuse.com/nice-tables/ It has built-in color generator as well…

  • http://ww.2creative.com.au web design gold coast

    Thanks so much… very useful indeed!

  • http://www.ivanizm.net β—„IVANβ–Ί

    very cool!
    thanX :)

  • http://www.shoutmeloud.com Harsh Agrawal

    Thanks a lot for useful post. Most of them are online tools, which one is the best tool for desktop?
    Moreover plz enable subscribe to comment. I need to follow this thread…

  • http://twitter.com/thesaucygirl Anna Cesario

    Wow! Very cool.

  • http://www.pointtranslations.com Heiko Schmieder

    Great tool collection – bookmarked!


  • http://www.digitalexperts.net fahad

    color combination was always a great issue for me but through these tools, I feel I can overcome them.

  • http://www.honeytechblog.com Honey Singh

    Always found of designing resources like these.
    Looking forward for more resources.

  • http://www.pixprin.com Dinesh

    Awesome list.
    Thanks for sharing. :)

  • http://www.themescope.com/ Themescope

    Thanks for this, i didn’t know there were this many varieties.

  • rechie

    thanks for the blog. its very helpfull for me and for my friends. keep up the good work.

  • http://www.hyperactivedesigns.com.au Website Design Gold Coast

    Great tools for when I’m not on my computer.
    Thanks for the list.

    Do any of the sites have accounts where you can save your colour selections and come back to them later?

  • http://www.rovingbird.com Stijn
  • James Childers

    Check out pictaculous.com. Will generate a palate from an uploaded image…

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  • http://www.psprint.com/ Ashely Adams : Sticker Printing

    Working with colors will now be more fun thanks to this compilation….a wrong choice of color combination can ruin all your efforts…these tools will be a great help not only in mixing and matching colors but also in choosing the exact shade…..

  • http://www.ware-store.de Orhan

    A very helpful post. I knew up to now only Kuler. The alternatives very feel also well. Above all colorschemedesigner. It is very friendly to operator.

  • http://insurances-loans.com aks

    wow awesome collection. thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.techmadly.com Nitesh Patel @techmadly

    hey nice very helpful throughout and i was always confused when selecting palette

  • http://www.printplace.com/printing/poster-printing.aspx Poster Printing

    You are so right! Getting the color right the first time is very important. Everything from poster printing to brochure printing relies so heavily on the perfect color choice. And there is virtually no way to choose the right color tools without a guide like this one. Thanks for the tips.

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  • http://www.wrldtours.blogspot.com engineer

    copaso is just awesome . . .

  • http://residence-buenos-aires.jimdo.com Alessandro

    Colourlovers is the best site.

  • http://www.dalehay.com Dale

    Never seen Kuler before, glad you mentioned it. πŸ˜€

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  • http://jasimmk.com Jasim Muhammed

    I must addup one more site which has recently released. http://uicart.com it gives option to showcase userinterfaces and search with color patterns. You can search how those colors are best combined in results.

  • http://www.technoworldnews.com/ Techno World News

    I personally like ColoRotate, just awesome tool for color choosing, I will use it in future….

  • http://superbwebsitebuilders.com/ Howard Steele

    Deciding on the right colors is crucial for any design. Thanks for sharing these tools!

  • alex

    Pictoria – Color Palettes mobile app was recently published on Google Play. Here you can take a look at it https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=pro.pictoria.ColorPalettes