If you’re new to the design world or just doing a little DIY project, you’ve probably noticed that color palettes contribute a ton to the end result of a great design. It may feel frustrating to sit down to a blank art board and not know where to start, so today  I’m going to show you one way I come up with many of the color palette’s I work with. Picking a perfect color palette is much easier than you may think. In fact, most of the time as a designer, I find my color palettes in real life. Mother Nature seems to have a handle on what color combos work and if you just look around, you’ll find some of the best combos out there. That said, if you’re stuck at your desk, you can easily find inspiration online.

Here’s what you’ll need to accomplish today’s little how to:

  • Adobe Illustrator or your favorite design program or editing software (I’m an Adobe fan, but you can always use PicMonkey, Gimp, or Pixlr)
  • Some color inspiration photos (you can see some of mine here)

Now lets get started.


Seems simple enough. But this simple process can be used to help you in a myriad of ways. Here’s a few ways that I use the eye dropper tool to help me catch inspiration and utilize it as a designer/blogger every day.

  1. create color palettes that I can use for client projects or free printables that I offer on my website
  2. capture colors from mood boards that clients have put together for me as I work to brand their businesses
  3. as a  creative blogger, you could easily share your own color swatches – (Pinterest has thousands of them, just make sure to use your own photos or find commercial free stock photos that you don’t have to attribute before you publish them on your blog)
  4. pull colors from a client’s existing marketing materials because they don’t have, or can’t remember, the pantone or hex codes for the colors they use for their brand
  5. recoloring clip art or other graphics to match those from another color palette grouping (great for digi artists and digital scrapbookers)


Written tutorial

I learn by watching, but often I can’t remember all the steps or that one really great idea that they shared…. If this happens to you, or you can’t stand watching tutorial videos, you can reference the steps outlined below.

  1. Place your photo into your software program.

File > Place> Select file name and hit OK

2. Size photo

Select photo, hover over corner of image, hit shift and draw on a diagonal to keep it porportional

3. Select Rectangle Tool

Draw color wells next to image. Line up to and bottom rectangles first, then copy and paste additional rectangles in between

Highlight the rectangles, use Align Tool to both center and evenly space your color wells.

4. Select first rectangle or color well, use Eye Dropper Tool, to select colors from image.




PickMonkey Eyedropper Tutorial