Over the years, I’ve collected many reliable resources for color sampling, color matching, and palette creation. Deciding colors for your home or design projects can be overwhelming when you don’t have somewhere to start. As a graphic designer, these resources are invaluable to me, but I have found even more uses for them as I help design our dream home. Here is the list I have compiled of the most useful online resources for any of your color projects.
Encycolorpedia is a website that I came upon accidentally one night and has since become one of my go to sites for color information. I usually deal in hex codes (six digit codes, using letters and numbers, that represent each color a computer can understand) for colors in my graphic design, or Pantone colors (a collection of color swatches widely used and recognized over a large variety of color-based industries).
Encycolorpedia works like a color search engine where you can input a hex code, Pantone code, color name, or paint name/code, and it finds information on that color for you. Even if you only have one of those designations for your color, it will find and display all of the others PLUS many other pieces of information about your color all in one place. It finds things like the shades and tints of your original color, different color codes from various paint companies, and what your color looks like when seen with different types of colorblindness, just to name a few. I’m totally blown away by the amount of information Encycolorpedia can find about a single color. I’ve already found so many uses for this website, I’m amazed it’s free.
Paletton is another neat website that offers you a color wheel with movable sliders giving you complete control in finding color palettes based on monochromatic, adjacent, triad, tetrad, or freestyle (2, 3, or 4 colors) colors. Each color palette then gives you tinted and shaded versions of each color, plus the individual color codes for each color. This resource is great for choosing colors that can work well together based on color theory. You can also randomize a color palette or give it a few parameters from which to find you different palette options. I’m so excited to use this site more and learn all of its capabilities.
Sherwin-Williams also has a great site for choosing colors. Of course, you’re restricted to their list of paint colors, but their list is pretty extensive. You’re bound to find something very close to what you’re looking for. But if you’re worried they won’t have the perfect color for you, don’t! Sherwin Williams offers a paint color matching service. Take a swatch from any other paint brand to them and they can match it perfectly using their signature paint recipe.
Their site offers a large, easy-to-navigate color palette, and each color gives you a visual example of what that color looks like in a fairly realistic setting. You can change the image used in this visual example, you can even use your own image, and the computer will do its best to superimpose the chosen color on your image. This feature works fairly well, but the more busy and complicated your image is, the harder it is to get the computer to put the color in the right place. Each color also comes with suggestions for similar colors, as well as suggestions for complementary color palettes. This resource is great for helping you find colors that work well in your home. Check out how beautiful their color palette looks below.
Pinterest is such a great idea resource. It’s such an easy way to find thousands of ideas for nearly anything. The fact that it’s so visual makes finding color palettes that fit your interests fast and simple. There are board after board of color combinations to choose from. The best thing about these color boards is that most of them have been compiled by real people. There is something special and beautiful about the amazing color combinations people create. Sure, a computer can give you an accurate color palette based on color theory, but the human eye, personal experiences, and aesthetic preferences make for some very beautiful combinations. Just try searching for “color palette” in the search bar or click the link I have provided to see my personal collection of color palettes. Below, I’ve included a visual example of how you can collect color palettes on Pinterest. Just scrolling through hundreds of these beautiful palettes will spark so much creativity in you!
My last color resource is one that works in combination with Pinterest. It’s called AskVal. Valspar is a specific paint brand that developed a neat app that takes any of your Pinterest pins and turns it into a color palette. It can even sample colors from a whole board to give you a color palette. This is helpful if you’ve found a specific pin or board that you love but don’t have access to any color sampling programs like Photoshop. AskVal will give you five sampled colors, one of which is adjustable with an “eyedropper” tool, allowing you to sample a color by clicking anywhere on the image. Then each color on the palette gives you details about what paint brands have a close match, the paint color designation number, and which retailer carries that paint. This app is a lot of fun to play with. It is fairly intelligent in its color choices, which can save you a lot of guesswork.
Altogether, these resources create a powerhouse of color choice, color matching, color theory, and palette creation. These sites are great to have bookmarked in your favorites for those times when you need help picking out colors and don’t want to stand around fumbling with paint chips in the hardware store.