HowtoCreating amazing color palettes – Part 2

Creating amazing color palettes – Part 2

In one of my previous blogposts, I summarised my findings after analyzing 20+ color palettes. In which I figured out that 50% of the creations out there are not making use of traditional color schemes. That creating an analogous color scheme is not as easy as it seems, and that harmony is the key to an amazing color palette.


I continued the search for more knowledge on creating amazing color palettes and found several other tips worth sharing.

Warm-Cold color palettes are the way to go

I collected 20+ designs from Dribbble and Behance and harvested 100+ colors from them. I plotted them on the color circle and found out warm-cold color palettes are pretty popular.

warm cold complementary palette

At first, we might say this is due to the famous complementary color scheme: We can see this is not the case due to the fact that purple & green are rarely combined. Even though these two are complementary to each other as well. Are purple and green just very unpopular colors? I remembered having a book that contained the answer. “Beauty” by Sagmeister & Walsh checked amongst 6500+ people what their favorite color was. Purple was number one.

warm cold complementary palette
Visualisation by myself. Research and data from the book “Beauty” from Sagmeister & Walsh.

The only other reason that made sense to me was: would a warm-cold combination be collectively perceived as aesthetically pleasing? I did the research and found out 67% of the palettes were indeed a warm-cold combination. And since purple and green are not per sé very warm of cold, it’s used less often.

What tone amongst all colors is most popular?

If we would define a category for all tones, we would end up with something like this:

popular colors

The question is: which category is used more often? For each palette, I categorized the colors that were used. See the grey little boxes in the image below.

color palettes

If you do that 20 times you get this. And when we combine that we can tell that the so-called “Bright & Semi Vibrant”, “Pastel” & “Desaturated Color” are most popular. While grey tones are very unpopular.

color palettes
color palettes

Some other interesting findings

color palettes
color palettes
color palettes
color palettes

The most interesting overall finding was the way harmony was created in palettes. We can see that in a palette every color is often from a different category. Think combining pastel with a semi-vibrant color and a grey tone for example. Super interesting here is that all colors used in a palette are near each other on the category-map.

Near yellow = optical the brighest

The finding that a color that is nearest to yellow on the circle should be optical most bright was also mind-blowing. Apparently, this has something to do with how our brains are wired and our innate perception of beauty.


In the example below yellow obviously pops out the most. But the analogous purple palette which it’s combined with grows slowly towards yellow. Each brighter variation of purple could also move towards blue, but will look less attractive.

I hope these findings, combined with my previous findings help you create more appealing color palettes in no-time. Of course, like any skill, it takes time to get a hang of it. But I hope these tips make a good starting point.

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