12 best tools to manage your colors and achieve exceptional color combinations
Colors are tricky. It’s a common thing to spend hours upon hours on tweaking color combinations for a project, whether you’re a brand identity designer, web/UI designer or an illustrator. And it definitely doesn’t make it easier if you’re a perfectionist to top it off. A decent knowledge of color theory is a must for any of those creative fields, but in addition to that, it’s in your best interest to use tools that augment your own color skills. Now let’s go straight to the list:
1. Adobe Color Wheel
A very functional and easy to use color wheel tool that lets you create sleek color palettes for your projects. You can also browse through tons of user-curated color themes and create your own.
Another color combination tool, this one’s very different with its interactive visual approach. It lacks all the color theory related functionality of the Adobe Color Wheel, and instead lets you pick color combinations on the fly without any rules.
Just a lovely simple gradient tool, it features an editor and gallery. Quick, minimal and hassle-free.
The only desktop app on the list, this one is an extremely convenient color picker, it copies the color on any screen and shows the color values in a variety of formats.
It’s a Windows tool, but there’s a great alternative for Mac: the Just Color Picker.
The most unique and futuristic tool on the list. You start with choosing a set of 50 colors and the AI starts personalizing color combinations, gradients and palettes based on your choice. One of the coolest features is that you can also see color combinations generated on a duotone image.
6. Dribbble colors
Apart from being one of the best design inspiration resources, it also features a color search filter that lets you see what some of the best designers in the game have done with the given color. The filter also lets you specify minimum percentage of the shot containing the color.
7. Canva Color Palette Generator
A simple tool that extracts color palettes from your photos/images. All is very straightforward here: you upload an image and a few moments later receive names and HEX values of the five main colors in the image.
Color blindness affects approximately 4.5% of the world population (it affects 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women), so it always makes sense to go the extra mile and test if your design works for people with different color blindness conditions. This tool does just that.
9. Material Design Palette
A palette generator that creates a tasteful 8-color palette out of your chosen primary pair of colors. All the colors and palettes are based on the Material color system. You can also quickly see light and dark shades of an individual color. Formats that you can download your palette in are: CSS, SASS, LESS, SVG, XML, PNG, POLYMER.
10. W3schools Colors Tutorial
This one is a rather self-contained collection of interactive lessons/guides on Color Theory, it includes topics such as Color Wheels, Color Schemes, Color Standards, Color Names/Values/Groups, etc. Best suited for starting creatives, but you’ll likely find something new even if you’ve been in design business for years.
A tool with a lot of color insight: it lets you see stats on what colors people associate with words, thus making it easier to choose the best color for a desired emotional effect. Three things that you can do with this tool: Vote yourself to contribute to the word/color association stats; Browse through words to see their associated colors; Browse through colors to see their associated words.
A huge collection of color codes of famous brands. Simply write your desired brand name and get its HEX colors in a wink.
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I also highly suggest to check out a detailed guide by Jen Reviews on the meaning, symbolism, and psychology of colors.
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