20 Free Color Design Tools and Tutorials

Choosing colors is among the most important design decisions for a logo, brand, or website. People decide whether to buy a product or service mainly by what they see, which is color. Fortunately, there are free tools to help pick the right colors for your business.

Here is a list of tools and tutorials on color design. There are tutorials on color theory and palettes, plus community design sites for additional help and inspiration. All of these resources are free.

Tutorials

Colors Tutorial from W3Schools is for web design. Learn the 140 HTML color names, sort by hex values, color groups, and shades. Explore hues, tints, shades, tones, schemes, and more. Get the values to simulate popular brands. Review the popular colors from 2021 to 2016 from the Pantone Color Institute. Learn the various international color standards and more.

W3Schools Colors Tools

An Enormous Guide to Color Psychology is a quick and easy reference to the practical use of color and the science and theory behind it. Access a chart of color meanings and associations. Learn how to apply color psychology in marketing and how to integrate color into a cohesive design strategy.

The Designer’s Guide to Color Contrast from WebdesignerDepot is a helpful guide to color contrast, including how and why to use it in your design. Learn the psychology behind the colors that people are attracted to. Use color contrast to make elements stand out without causing color-blindness. Develop an enhanced aesthetic that will please customers.

The Fundamentals of Understanding Color Theory from 99designs is another useful explanation of the science and art of color theory. Learn to use color for effective marketing and to build a brand.

Tools

Adobe Color is a tool for creating, saving, and browsing color palettes. Set the base colors, select color rules for your palettes, customize with color lines, and more. To extract a color palette from a photo, take a picture with an iPhone, and Adobe Color will generate the color palette from that image. You can also extract color gradients from images.

Home page of Adobe Color

Adobe Color

Adobe Capture is a vector converter app to turn photos into color themes, patterns, typefaces, materials, brushes, and shapes. Capture and edit color themes and turn them into customizable palettes to use in Adobe Creative Cloud apps. Access a variety of filters to transform Capture assets.

Canva Color Palette Generator lets you create color combinations in seconds. Upload a photo, and let the app identify the palette of hues. For color palette ideas, explore the color combinations resource.

CSS Gradient lets you create a gradient background for websites. Besides being a CSS gradient generator, the site also posts related content, from technical articles to real-life gradient examples, such as Stripe and Instagram.

Home page of CSS Gradient

CSS Gradient

Khroma uses artificial intelligence to learn your preferred colors and creates limitless palettes to discover, search, and save. By choosing a set of colors, train it to generate favorite colors and block the others. Search and filter the generator by hue, tint, value, and color, as well as hex and RGB values.

HTML Color Codes is a set of free color tools, including a color picker, color charts and names, tutorials, and resources. Get HTML color codes, hex color codes, and RGB and HSL values. Discover color harmonies, tints, shades, and tones. Input hex codes and RGB and HSL values and generate HTML, CSS, and SCSS styles. Check the guide for a quick reference of all HTML color names grouped by color.

Paletton is a tool to create complementary color combinations and palettes. Paletton was originally a color wheel, applying classical color theory within an RYB space. As a result, its color combinations are different from other palette generators.

Sessions College Color Calculator lets you explore creative color options. Pick your base colors, choose a color harmony, tweak as needed, and see results. You’ll receive a report of the hex, RGB, and CMYK color values for your project and see your colors applied to design samples.

Home page of Sessions College Color Calculator

Sessions College Color Calculator

Multicolr is a color search engine from TinEye Labs that extracts the colors from 20 million Creative Commons images on Flickr to make them searchable by color. Select up to five colors, slide dividers to adjust color composition, and add tags to refine your results. Find the perfect images with the right colors.

Colormind is a color scheme generator that uses deep learning. It can identify color styles from photographs, movies, and popular art. Choose the basic color you are interested in exploring, and generate schemes. Lock colors that work, and continue to experiment with open color slots.

Color-hex provides information about color models (RGB, HSL, HSV, and CMYK), triadic colors, monochromatic colors, and analogous (similar) colors calculated on each color page. Color-hex also generates a simple CSS code for the selected color. Browse palettes, popular colors, web-safe colors, and more.

Colordot is an easy way to create and share color palettes by scrolling and clicking. Swipe back and forth to change a color’s hue, up and down to alter brightness, and scroll for saturation. Click to save a color to the palette. Colordot also has an iOS app.

Home page of Colordot

Colordot

Colourlovers is an international community where designers create and share colors, palettes, patterns, shapes, and more.

ColorZilla provides Chrome and Firefox extensions that offer color tools, including a color picker, eyedropper, gradient generator, and more. Get a color reading from any point in your browser and paste it into another program. Analyze a page and inspect its colors in a palette. Create advanced multi-stop CSS gradients and more.

ColorExplorer is an online toolbox for working with color palettes. Quickly get a color palette based on your own graphic. Create matching palettes and explore matching algorithms. See interactive virtual color decks in “fan” style.

Coolers is a tool for creating and collecting color palettes. Generate perfect matching colors quickly. Press the spacebar to create a random color palette, click on a color to lock it, and repeat both actions until you obtain the desired results. Select colors from a photo with the Image Picker and create a palette automatically. Browse thousands of popular palettes by other professionals. Create your profile and keep all your color schemes organized with tags. Use the iOS app, Chrome extension, or Adobe add-on.

Home page of Coolors

Coolors

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