Section 2: Color Tools - Reference Charts, Swatches, Software, and More
The Color Tools section includes several Web-safe HTML and RGB color charts here by VisiBone's Bob Stein, by Lynda Weinman, and Daxassist, and two helpful color schemer tools. There are also Web Site Resources to many more color charts, color swatches, color scheme palettes, color tools, color tool software, online or downloadable color tool software, printed color references, color deficiency simulators and related color testing tools, a wide variety of helpful free, shareware, and commercial color software programs, and other color tools.
On this page:
- Color Charts and Swatches
- Color Scheme Palettes, Tools, and Software
- Color Deficiency Simulators and Related Color Testing Tools
Color Charts and Swatches
- Browser-Safe Colors Organized by Hue
This color chart is organized by hue (colors), with RGB hex callouts (by Lynda Weinman).
- Browser-Safe Colors Organized by Value
This color chart is organized by value (lights and darks), with RGB hex callouts (by Lynda Weinman).
- Browser-Safe Colors: RGB Hex Triplet Color Chart
RGB hex triplet color chart, non-dithering colors organized by hue (colors), with RGB hex codes (by Doug Jacobson).
- VisiBone Web-Safe Color Table, HTML Decimal Codes
Excellent color chart by Bob Stein, VisiBone.
- VisiBone Web-Safe Color Table, HTML Hex Codes
Excellent color chart by Bob Stein, VisiBone.
- Websafe Colour Chart, by Daxassist
Very well done colour chart with RGB and Hex codes that's also printer friendly.
Books on Color
Recommended by WebsiteTips.com
Color Charts and Swatches Elsewhere on the Web
- 216-Color Swatches, Poster, and Lab by VisiBone
A variety of color resources for Web designers: free online 216-color swatches for Photoshop, Illustrator, ImageReady, Fireworks, Paint Shop Pro,HomeSite, BBEdit, and other programs, a 216-color Webmaster's Palette Poster (recently updated). The color arrangements are especially good. The poster has the color palette, of course, but is also packed with helpful information and is visually very attractive. Other helpful pages at the site are the Web Palette Color Distinction Test, and the Webmaster's Color Laboratory. [Created by Bob Stein, VisiBone.]
- 6X6X6 Netscape Color Palette Map
Helpful color palette tool. [Created by Victor Engel.]
- Bruce Beard's Hair and Skin Color Charts
Wonderful skin color charts to download. Now available as .pal for PaintShop Pro, too. Otherwise, download the .jpg charts and use your color picker with your graphics program. [Created by Bruce Beard, RetouchPRO.]
This is quite an interesting color selector for the 216 'Web safe' colors. Each color is provided once in the hexagonal charts. You can zoom in or out and also view the negative colors, too. Great chart. [Thanks to Henk Stokhorst for submitting this link suggestion.]
- dotParagon's Browser Safe (216) Color Chart
This chart is especially helpful for its layout with color shades grouped together and in larger blocks of color than many of the other charts. Also includes RGB values.
- DynaKewb: The 216 Color Cube Background Maker
- HYPE's Color Specifier for Netscape v.3
Great chart for far more colors than only the browser-safe colors. Each color shown also has a clickable link that provides an entire page of one particular color. (This site gets extremely busy sometimes and can't handle the traffic, but if you try again later, you ought to be able to get through.)
- The 36 Color Wheel, Interactive Real Color Wheel in Light and Pigment for Artists
Don Jusko's terrific information on color. Although the information is intended for print, it's an amazing site, quite interesting, and I found it enlightening and very helpful for colors for Web design. [Created by Don Jusko.]
- The Browser Safe Color Palette
from Lynda Weinman. Great information here and palettes available to download.
- Two4U's Color Databases (formerly Thalia's Color Guide)
An amazing set of databases of color charts and color-composing engine, available online or for download (PC and MAC). [Created by Mark Koenen.]
- Victor Engel's No Dither Netscape Color Palette, The Browser Safe Palette. [Created by Victor Engel.]
- Web Color Schemes
Color schemes from a variety of Web sites around the Web, updated regularly. You can check those out and also check out individual colors to view the corresponding color schemes for them, complementary colors, triadic color schemes, light to dark colors, nearby hues, saturation range, and more. Quite a unique site and can be helpful source of inspiration for figuring out color schemes and checking out good use of colors. [Web site: The Return of Design, and created by James Archer, Forty Media Corporation.]
Books on Color
Recommended by WebsiteTips.com
Color Scheme and Color Palette Tools, Software
- Color Blender Color Scheme Tool
Color Blender is great for choosing Web-safe gradient colors or blended color shades. Select 2 colors and Color Blender will automatically create 1 to 10 “midpoint” blended color shades within those 2 colors. Fabulous tool. You also have the choice of outputting the HTML color codes as RGB, RGB%, or HEX. [WebsiteTips.com online color blender tool by Eric Meyer.]
- Colormatch Remix Color Scheme Tool
Based on the popular ColorMatch 5K color schemer tool, the Colormatch Remix Color Scheme Tool creates beautiful color schemes with 9 eye-catching colors. This tool also features a preview window with a sample Webpage that uses those 9 colors. In addition, you can save your color palettes for Photoshop color swatch files (.act), for Illustrator (.ai), or as plain text (.txt) with HTML color codes, RGB color codes, and CMYK color codes. [WebsiteTips.com online color scheme tool based on ColorMatch 5K, modified by Twyst.]
- Colour Scheme Chooser
Use this popular online colour scheme chooser tool here at WebsiteTips.com to explore, choose, and save monochromatic, analogic, complementary, split complementary, triadic, and double contrast colour schemes. The Colour Palette box generates 14 colors, and the Color Scheme box generates 5 colors - both as HTML HEX color codes. Based on the classic color theory of Johannes Itten. [WebsiteTips.com online colour scheme chooser tool provided by SitePro Central.]
Online Color Tools Elsewhere on the Web
The following tools are available online. See also Online or Downloadable Color Tool Software below for more online tools.
- Adobe Kuler
Explore, create, and share color themes with Adobe Kuler online tool. You can use it online or download themes to use within your Adobe Creative Suite 2+ applications. From the menu, you can choose to create a them or explore themes by most popular, newest, highest rates, and more. Search tool available, too. The color tool provides so much. You can also choose color rules within analogous, monochromatic, triad, complementary, compound, shades, or custom. [By Adobe.]
- Color Palette Creator
- Color Hunter
Generate color palettes based on images with this color palette tool. Enter a search term in the box at the top of the page. You can search by tag or hex color code. Images are from Flickr's database, but you can now also upload your own. Provides HTML color codes, color chips. Shows images that color schemes are based on, too. Fabulous tool. Same idea (and same creator) as the Color Palette Generator below, but based on Flickr images rather than Yahoo! images. View favorite palettes, and you can also create a free account to save your favorite color palettes. Also has ratings, voting for your favorites, related tags and searches. Excellent tool for color schemes and inspiration. [By Steve, DeGraeve.com.]
- Color Palette Generator
Generate color palettes based on images with this terrific color palette tool. “Enter the URL of an image to get a color palette that matches the image. This is useful for coming up with a website color palette that matches a key image a client wants to work with.” [By Steve, DeGraeve.com.]
Free online tool for color matching and palette design. Select one color, and 6 blending colors will appear in Auto Mode, or you can directly edit all colors. You can choose colors in RGB or HSV mode, and onscreen you'll see the HTML and RGB numbers for each color. In addition, the tool will suggest a match for Pantone colors or match blend from an active color. You can save your color palettes as Photoshop ACT files, Illustrator colors, have them sent to you by email, and you can also load saved palettes. Quite an amazing tool! The tool is free, but donations are gladly accepted. [ColorBlender is created by Kim Jensen.]
Simple but effective online color scheme tool to select a 6-color palette for your Web site.
Online color mixer that will evenly dither colors for you to achieve a certain color look, providing you with a gif image to download. [By BluePrint Networks.]
- Color Scheme
Use this incredibly helpful online color scheme tool to help select eye-stopping color schemes. Choose from monochromatic, contrast, “soft” contrast, triad, “double-contrast,” analogic colors, contradictory colors. Fantastic tool. [By pixy.cz.]
- Instant Color Schemes
Color schemes generated from your color scheme search input - based on related images from Yahoo! Images. “Let Yahoo pick your color scheme! Enter a word or phrase and I'll grab 5 related images from Yahoo Images, and get the 6 most prominent colors from each.” HTML color codes and color names provided. Also listed are the most popular color scheme requests and many other color schemes generated by this innovative tool. Lots of inspiration here! Fascinating color scheme tool. [By Geoff Peters.]
- Palette Man: Preset Color Palettes
A color palette-generation program that's geared toward Web designers by Dan Livingston for ClearInk. Want to see examples of color combinations that are 'industrial,' 'romantic,' 'tranquil,' 'refreshing,' 'sporty,' and more? Click on the description names and see these combinations, and then choose to make them darker, lighter, or make your own with the movement of your mouse. Really interesting and helpful chart to consider color combinations. You can also email your swatches. [By Dan Livingston (for ClearInk).]
Color Tool Software
This list includes software available for purchase, most or all of which is available for immediate download. Trial periods are standard, so you can try these out before purchase.
Color scheme designer software for Windows. Uses RGB colors. Beautifully done and easy to use. For Windows. [Software by Tiger Color.]
A downloadable software tool to help create matching, harmonious color schemes. Color scheme types include: “complements, split complements, analogous, triad, and tetrad of your current color.” Includes several different color-matching modes - RGB, Hex, CMY, CMYK. Other features include a Web preview, scrollbar preview, vector image preview, palette creator, and more! For Windows. [Software by ColorShade.com.]
- Color Wheel Pro
A unique software program that allows you to see color theory in action. With Color Wheel Pro, you can create harmonious color schemes and preview them on real-world examples. Highly regarded, highly recommended color wheel software for Windows. [Software by QSX Software Group.]
- DJ's Hex Calculator
Download this HEX calculator program (small donation appreciated).
- Painter's Picker
Exceptional color picker and color scheme software for Mac OS X. Reasonably priced. [Software by Old Jewel Software.]
Monitor, Printer Color Calibration Hardware, Software
Recommended by WebsiteTips.com
See more software, read short reviews, browse book recommendations on Photoshop, Web site-related topics in our Recommended Books, Software section!
Online or Downloadable Color Tool Software
See also Online Color Tools above.
Online or downloadable Windows software color scheme tool to create a simple or complex color scheme.
As they've stated, “GenoPal, by Genometri, is an easy to use, but hard to beat, color combination and matching tool. Designed for all users ranging from the beginners to the most professional designers, GenoPal is compatible with most graphics programs. It lets the user pick a color from an existing palette or any window or picture on your computer. GenoPal will move around in over 16 million different colors, to find the ones that match yours. The user can define color and lightness diversity, and change colors easily to find the perfect palette. It generates exiting palettes that you can save for later use, read in hex, or export directly to Photoshop or Illustrator. GenoPal is something completely different from other color tools, since it does not use the color wheel as it reference for match.” Currently available at their site is free GenoSwatch color matching software for creating endless color harmonies, and their try-before-you-buy software, GenoPal color picker and color matching software. See also my weblog post about it, New Color Scheme Tools. Available for Windows and Mac. [Software by Genometri Ltd.]
- The Color Schemer
- YS Elvan
“Award winning color editor which lets you pick colors, find matching colors, create color schemes, test color combinations and more.” Harmonious colors, color picker, import and export, test color combinations with Web page layouts, magazine layouts, shapes, forms, and much more. see also their free online color scheme tool, Elvan Online. [Software by Young Smart Software.]
Printed Color References
The printed materials listed below are exceptional in quality and usefulness. WebsiteTips.com's owner/editor owns all of these and relies on them constantly. Their quality and usefulness is unsurpassed. You won't be disappointed!
- Color Harmony Guide
Exceptional “32 pages of color palettes and 8 pages of color families, in handy swatchbook form, categorized by the mood.” Created by French designer Dominique Trapp. Highly recommended and worth every penny. WebsiteTips.com's owner and editor relies on this and keeps it at her desk where it's handy. [Available via ideabook.com]
- The Color Wheel Company
The Color Wheel Company has numerous color wheels from which to choose, and are quite reasonably priced. They have a variety of sizes, from pocket-sized to poster-sized, and color, gray scale, watercolors, black and white, kids wheel, and even a Spanish version. WebsiteTips.com's owner and editor personally purchased some of their products for her design work (the pocket-sized color wheel and the 9-1/4" color wheel), so we can vouch for their high quality and their usefulness (they're both at my desk for reference).
- VisiBone Web Design Color References
Color Deficiency Simulators and Related Color Testing Tools
Below you'll find links to tools to help show color deficiencies and color blindness and to test design colors for color deficient users. These tools can provide tremendous insight and help with making sure your Web site still makes sense and is usable by those with color deficiencies or color blindness.
See also WebsiteTips.com's Web Resources sections:
- Color Vision
- Colorblind Web Page Filter
Great tool to check your Web pages for use by color deficient or color blind users. Especially helpful for Web designers who wish to see how their existing pages look to color blind users. Input a URL in the form, and select a color filter. In addition, you can choose options to disable image filters, non-GIF image filtering, disable stylesheets, suppress filtering of broken CSS colors. “If you only use one filter, use the grayscale filter which will not only point out potential problem areas, but will also let you see more clearly which areas the filter is unable to process.” If your Web page renders legibly and still works fine regardless of these filters, you can use the logo, too. [Helpful tool by Matt Wickline.]
- Colour Blindness Simulator
This simulator will check an image to show you how a color blind user would see it. You can upload a JPEG image of no more than 1000 pixels x 1000 pixels (100 KB file size or less) to see how colour blind users may see it. [Free tool provided by Etre Ltd..]
- Colour Check
A helpful tool for checking colors for WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). As the site states, “Checkpoint 2.2 of the WAI guidelines requires that colour combinations created between foreground and background colours provide sufficient contrast when viewed by someone with colour deficits or when viewed on a black and white screen.” Etre's free online tool determines the colour difference and contrast between any two colours and whether or not the two colors have enough contrast and brightness. Input a foreground color and a background color via their hexadecimal values or use the color picker to select colors. If your colors don't pass, it will give you information about why not. If your colors pass it will provide other helpful information. Interesting tool that can provide helpful insight. [Free tool provided by Etre Ltd..]
- Colourmaps for checking the legibility of displays by dichromats
by Hans Brettel. Side-by-side comparison chart of a 256-color palette in its normal, protan, and deutan version. [Tool, information dated 07/28/1999. By Hans Brettel, research scientist.]
- Safe Web colors for colour-deficient vision
Translation of web-safe colors by HEX or RGB values, compare palette files, photo samples of transformed color choices, more. Definition of terms, charts and information about color blindness, and much more. Very thorough site. [by Christine Rigden, for BT Age and Disability Action website (part of BT exact Technologies).]
Check your images or Web pages with the simulator available here. Check online, use their Java program, or download a plugin that works with Photoshop, PaintShop Pro and other graphics programs. Resources and more info about various types of color blindness, too. Good info and tool.
- What do colour-blind people see?
by Hans Brettel. Interactive Java applet that demonstrates color blindness for Protanopia and Deuteranopia. Also has other buttons that demonstrate grayscale and adding red, blue or green channels. Interesting and helpful. One to nine images are provided, depending on your Internet connection speed. [Tool, information dated 01/27/2003. By Hans Brettel, research scientist.]