Color plays a huge role in the development and effectiveness of a website. It can help convey your website’s message, develop your brand and encourage user action. Color can have a powerful psychological effect on users – including the impression and trust they have in your brand, the mood they’re in while browsing your site and the decisions they make. Whether you’re just beginning to consider color in your web design process or you need to further develop your color palette, here are some tools for color matching, palette building and theme inspiration.

1. TinEye Labs

This tool allows you to choose a color palette, and then searches millions of creative commons images to produce a collection of images in your selected palette. You can also upload your own images to the site to put together a palette to apply to the rest of your site so that your design stays consistent.

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2. Color Scheme Designer

This program creates customizable color schemes based on different angles and combinations on the color wheel. The resulting schemes offer hue variations to choose from, and each Pantone number is provided so that you can easily transfer the accurate colors to your design.

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3. Shutterstock Spectrum

This advanced imagery discovery tool caters to the visual minds of designers by enabling users to search images by color, rather than keyword descriptions. It collects images of the same color palette in real time as the searcher moves the color slider to different hues. This unique lab program provides an interactive means of inspiration, and is a great way to kick-start brainstorming in a way that keyword searches may not be able to.

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4. COLOURlovers

Some of the best ways to begin a creative workflow is to see what other designers are doing, and the same goes for color exploration. This is an online community of creatives that share colors, palettes and patterns. You can browse by category or trend, join a group, have discussions and even buy software and art that can be printed from your own creations. It’s a great place to get feedback on your color designs from other designers, as well as gain inspiration by seeing what others are making.

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5. myPANTONE

Pantone is the universal color matching system, so it’s extremely helpful to have access to Pantone swatches and their corresponding numbers wherever you are. In place of carrying around a physical collection of swatches, this mobile app gives you access to over 13,000 Pantone colors so you can be sure your chosen colors will translate to your design correctly. This app also lets you create palettes for inspiration and testing, which you can then share with friends, clients and vendors. This is an easy way to ensure that you use the right colors in your designs, and communicate what they will look like to the people you’re working with.

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6. Adobe Kuler

This is one of the leading free web-based apps for color palette creation. With this tool, you can browse color themes that have already been created, view and store your own creations and upload images to extract color schemes from. It has several interactive and intuitive tools to build color themes, as well as modify existing ones and search, share and rate other designers’ themes within the Kuler community. One of the most convenient features of this app is that it integrates with Adobe Illustrator, so any schemes you develop can easily be transferred to your project in Illustrator.

When you’re building the color themes for your website, remember to focus on the emotions your color choices will invoke in your users. For example, if the purpose of your website is to encourage visitors to buy products, make them feel comfortable with cold colors. Make sure that your themes are consistent with your brand’s image to build a solid visual identity and reputation. And above all, use color with intention – as it is one of the most influential and effective aspects of visual design.

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