April 1, 2019

How I build color palettes




how i build
color palettes


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I’m a lettering artist and full-time physician, coffee lover, and my obsession is teaching others how to make a living doing what they love.


One of my favorite steps in creating a lettering or design piece is building the color palette. Color is so powerful – it sets the tone for a piece and can completely change a design. I’m sharing with you my steps for selecting colors.

how i build color palettes


I spend time thinking about the tone I want the piece to have. Calming? Neutral? Powerful? Then, I head to Pinterest and browse pictures and other color palettes until inspiration strikes. There are so many options! I keep a folder on my phone of pictures I’ve snapped in real life to pull inspiration from. I might pull one color from another palette or picture then build from there.

Selecting colors

I typically select 3-6 colors. One neutral, three light, and two dark. I move colors around and make small shifts until the palette works well together. I try to always provide the HEX color values to make it easy for others to use.

Using palettes

I typically use one or two main colors in a design piece and the others are highlights, shadows, and accents. I’ll use a dark color as a background with one of the light colors on the text then swap it around until I find color combinations that create the right feeling. I want the colors to help convey a feeling behind a piece and to create a cohesive look. I also enjoy building my Instagram feed around a color palette for each season and swap it out every 2-3 months.


My favorite app is Adobe Color. I can quickly put together beautiful new palettes and sync them instantly with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.


Are you ready to start using color beautifully? Join in on our Color Palette Challenge and get monthly updates and a recommended color palette!

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