How to Use Color Palette Generators

  1. Canva
  2. Coolors.co
  3. Figma

Why use a color palette generator? When branding a business, website, or campaign, it’s important to have a dedicated color palette. Because those colors represent your mission, they should stand out, be immediately recognizable as YOUR COLORS, and also relate to your products, service, or campaign.

There are many places to find color palettes, such as Canva, Pantone, and Pinterest (just search “color palette” — you won’t be disappointed!) You can also learn more about color wheels and color theory at Hubspot’s informative blog on the subject.

But one way to create truly unique color palettes is to create your own from images that inspire you. Here are three color palette generator tools to help you do that.

1. Canva

Instead of using Canva’s Color Combinations Resource, try the Color Palette Generator. Here’s how it works: You upload an image and bam! In less time than it takes to blink the generator has churned out a palette for you.

But, as you can see from my demo below, the generator has a mind of its own. I was expecting pastels and brights and, instead, ended up with something more reminiscent of The Brady Bunch’s living room.

PROS: It’s ridiculously easy to use, and the site also offers demo images to try.
CONS: If you don’t like the colors it pulled from your image, there isn’t a way to select other parts of the image, or add or subtract from the generated palette.

Light bulbs of various sizes, shapes, and colors such as red, pink, lavender, yellow, and blue. Below is a palette created by a color palette generator.
A color palette created in Canva’s Color Palette Generator

2. Coolors.co

The Image Picker at Coolors.co offers lots of options. To use it, browse or drag and drop a photo. The Image Picker will immediately select five colors from the image. BUT — and here’s the cool part — it places markers on the image showing you where each color came from. You can drag each marker to change the color, creating a truly custom palette. There are also layout options for a collage when you export your palette.

The image I used, below, is of purple and gold late-summer flowers. The initial palette suggested by the generator was darker and more subtle. I reselected for brighter yellow and pink shades.

PROS: So many options, and it’s fun to use.
CONS: Some options, such as certain collage layouts, are only available with a pro subscription.

An image of purple and gold late summer flower in a field. Below is a palette created by a color palette generator.
A custom color palette created using the Image Picker at Coolors.co.

3. Figma

Collaborative interface design tool Figma offers tools for layout as well as palette generation. For the latter:

  • Install a plugin such as Photo to Palette.
  • Run the plugin and it will automatically generate a color palette based on colors in your image.

Or, for more control:

  • Create and set up a free account on Figma.
  • Create a new project and import and image (or several images!)
  • If you’ve selected a number of images, you might way to organize them on the page.
  • Using the rectangle tool, create a 50px by 50px square to the right of your image(s).
  • Duplicate the square at least three times.
  • For each square, click the fill option on the left-side tool bar.
  • Using the eye-dropper select a color from the image
  • When you’ve filled in each square with color, you’ll have a customized palette.

For my palettes, I selected images of butterflies (below) and vintage hats (top of page). The plugin-generated color palette runs along the bottom of the image and my hand-picked palette is on the right side.

PROS: Lots of control in color selection, and the ability to use and select from multiple images.
CONS: More complicated to use. The automated generator requires a plugin and offers no control of color selection. The manual process has many steps. The Figma platform requires initial set up.

A collage of images of butterflies. Some are photographs and some are illustrations. Below and to the right are palettes created by color palette generators.

There you have it! Three ways to generate your own color palettes for your brand assets, your website, a marketing campaign and more.

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