My Top 7 Resources for Color Inspiration

By Chad Gordon | September 30, 2014

Inspire

I spend less than two minutes picking paint colors from that massive swatch kiosk at Home Depot. I go with my gut. But I really only have myself to please.

It’s different in my design work. There are so many factors that go into developing a color palette for a brand, a campaign or even a poster. What do we want the audience to think or feel? What colors are the competition? What are the fad colors that will fade in a year? What color does CEO’s spouse like?  How and where will these colors be seen?

When colors don’t come to me, I seek help and inspiration. These are my top seven resources for color:

1. Colourlovers.com

-Colourlovers.com | Logo Design | Logo Colors

I love this online community for color enthusiasts. People from around the world create and share their own color palettes. Kind of like a photo sharing site, but with color. I love the search function. You can specify palettes with as many or as few colors that you want. You can also search by a word. So, for example, type in “spring” and you will get a ton of different ideas for spring color palettes. Not all of the user-generated palettes are great, but there are many combinations that I would have never thought of on my own. I always start here when I need a color kick-start.

2. design-seeds.com

-Designseeds.com | Logo Design | Logo Colors

Design Seeds® is a beautiful site dedicated to color inspiration created by designer Jessica Colaluca. She focuses on colors derived from nature. Not only are the palettes gorgeous, but I love seeing the image sources she uses. It’s easy to be inspired by her passion.

3. plentyofcolour.com

-plentyofcolour.com | Logo Design | Logo ColorsMuch like Design Seeds, Plenty of Colour is a daily design blog devoted to showcasing and celebrating color, created by Vancouver based designer, Chloe. What is different is that her resources for color are anything she can find. I love scrolling through this site because it allows contexts of color to shift based on the subject.

4. Pantone.com Trend Forecasting

-Pantone.com | Logo Design | Logo ColorsColor trends in the design world often start in the fashion world. I’m no fashionista, so I like to keep up with what is happening by visiting the Trend Forecasting section on Pantone.com. For those not in the know, Pantone is the “world-renowned authority and provider of color systems and leading technology for the selection and accurate communication of color across a variety of industries.”

5. colormatters.com

-ColorMatters.com | Logo Design | Logo Colors

Color Matters is an awesome resource. They have it all: basic color theory, symbolism, psychology, science, history, surveys, research, studies, the use of color in marketing and more. If you wanted to know something like  why school buses are yellow?, this is the place to go. I often visit this site to refresh my memory before explaining color choices to our clients.

6. Articles

-HelpScout.net | Logo Design | Logo Colors

The previous references are all dedicated sites for color. I often browse for other news or little nuggets of useful information or different perspectives. I found this article on the misconceptions of the psychology of color very interesting and relevant.

7. My environment

Cleveland-for-blog | Logo Design | Logo Colors

All of the resources I’ve listed are great, but they live on a tiny screen. I can’t really feel color unless I am surrounded by it. Whether it’s grocery shopping, at my daughter’s basketball game, enjoying a run or simply driving to work, color is everywhere and must be wholly experienced to be truly understood. Therefore, my most valued resource for color inspiration is easily my environment.

– Chad

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Author

Chad Gordon

Chad is the Creative Director, overseeing the development of virtually every original design. Chad studied photography in Edinburgh, Scotland, and has a degree in photo illustration from Ohio University. In 1991 he worked with Reuben and Company as a photo assistant before joining designRoom as a designer the following year. Chad has received numerous national awards, has shared in his team’s many Addy Awards, and has had his work published in several international design publications. Chad is experienced in all phases of creative design, including concept development, art direction, photography, typography, print production, and website design. Chad’s specialties are photo illustration and identity development. His unique infrared photography has been shown in numerous galleries around northeast Ohio. He is an avid baseball man, a crafty pitcher with speed and movement on his fastball, and played on championship teams in the Roy Hobbs League.

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