At a glance

Quick summary

  1. Guide: Below is a step-by-step guide that’ll help you identify a color palette for your website
  2. Free tool: We’ll use an awesome free tool called Coolors to generate your palette
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Prerequisite: Complete my Web Design Inspiration exercise first!

This post relies on the exercise found in my post How I use this free tool every time I need web design inspiration

Before you work on this, I recommend jumping there and completing that exercise!

Once you’ve set up the Pinterest board from the Web Design Inspiration exercise, you can pick up this exercise!

Which colors should your palette have?

When you identify a color palette, it’s not an exact science. However, there’s a framework I recommend that you start with.

I suggest starting out with a five-shade palette (and then expanding on it later as you need).

  1. Primary: The main color you’ll use
  2. Shade of Primary: A slightly lighter or darker shade of your Primary color
  3. Accent: A complimentary color. Used for links, Calls to Action, etc.
  4. Neutral Dark: Usually black, charcoal, dark blue or purple, or a shade of one of these. Used for backgrounds, dark text, etc.
  5. Neutral Light: Usually white or a shade of white. Used for backgrounds, light text, etc.

Courage & Grow’s five-shade Palette

For an example, here’s the palette I’ve identified for Courage & Grow:

Courage & Grow's color palette, including Eggplant, Rose Taupe, Sunray, Silver Metallic, and Floral White
Courage & Grow’s color palette, including Eggplant, Rose Taupe, Sunray, Silver Metallic, and Floral White

Build your Color Palette using Coolors

We’ll use the Pinterest pins you identified in How I use this free tool every time I need web design inspiration to help generate your color palette!

This is super simple, and free, using an awesome tool called Coolors.

1 • Create a Coolors account

I highly recommend creating an account with Coolors. It’s free, and it’ll enable you to save your Palette for future use.

Click here to head over to Coolors.

Sign up for an account using the Sign up button in the upper-right corner.

2 • Get the Image Address for your top Pin

Before jumping to Coolors, head to your Pinterest Board and select the one Pin that will serve as your start point as you choose website colors.

To start, I recommend choosing the Color Palette Pin you selected for your Top 3.

Click that Pin to expand it.

Then, right-click (Windows) or control-click (Mac) on the image.

A context menu will appear. From there, choose Copy image address.

Note
In the screenshot below, I’m using Chrome. If you’re using a different browser, your menu might look a bit different. And, if you’re using Firefox, your option will say Copy image location (instead of ‘address’).

Screenshot showing how to copy an image's address • Choose Website Colors
Copying the Image Address from a Pinterest pin

Caution
Be careful to select Copy image address (NOT Copy link address).

3 • Head to the Coolors Image Picker

4 • Import your Pinterest image

Once you’re at the Coolors Image Picker, choose Browse image

Uploading an image to the Coolors Image Picker
Uploading an image to the Coolors Image Picker

Then, in the dialog that opens, click URL

Uploading an image via URL to the Coolors Image Picker
Uploading an image via URL to the Coolors Image Picker

Paste the Image Address you copied from Pinterest in the box, and then click OK.

Inserting a URL into the Coolors Image Picker
Inserting a URL into the Coolors Image Picker

The image from Pinterest will appear, along with a swatches and a slider.

5 • Identify your five colors

If you need, review my guidelines for a five-swatch Color Palette from above.

Coolors should default to five swatches, which is perfect!

So, click on the first swatch (the far left one). Then, click the corresponding picker on the image (the largest circle), and drag it to the spot where your ideal Primary Color is:

Adjusting the color palette in the Coolors Image Picker
Adjusting the color palette in the Coolors Image Picker

Repeat this process for each of the five swatches.

Sample color palette in the Coolors Image Picker
Sample color palette in the Coolors Image Picker

Once done, save your color palette to your account:

Saving the color palette to my account in the Coolors Image Picker
Saving the color palette to my account in the Coolors Image Picker
Entering a name for the new color palette in the Coolors image picker
Entering a name for the new color palette in the Coolors image picker

Pro Tip
If you use a Color Palette Pin as recommended, use those swatches in the image to pick your swatches! (As I did in the animation above.)

6 • Open your palette in the Generator

Next, let’s open the palette you created in the Coolors Generator.

Click the Tools item in the menu, and then click Palette Generator:

Navigating to the Coolors Generator from the Image Picker
Navigating to the Coolors Generator from the Image Picker

Once there, use the hamburger menu to open the color palette you just saved:

Opening my accounts sidebar in the Coolors Color Palette Generator
Opening my accounts sidebar in the Coolors Color Palette Generator
Opening my saved color palette in the Coolors Color Palette Generator
Opening my saved color palette in the Coolors Color Palette Generator

From here, you can click adjust each color’s shades, as well as add and remove colors as you need!

If you do make changes, be sure to click Save and save the new version!

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Others? Questions?

Any thoughts or questions? Anything with which you disagree? Anything I missed?

Leave a comment below and let me know!