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Author: Rick de Courtney Creative Director
Created: 7 years ago Page Views: 35,124

100 Great Colour Combinations

Color makes a design come alive.

It can attract attention, set a mood, and even influence our emotions and perceptions.

But sometimes it can be hard to know where to start when choosing a color palette for your design project — so if you’re in need of some inspiration, you’ve come to the right place. Browse through the 100 color combinations below, which are inspired by photography from four categories: nature, food & drink, travel, and everyday items.


01 Fresh & Bright

Photo credit: Flickr/u2tryololo

Fresh greenery and colorful blossoms make springtime a welcome sight after a long winter. This color palette features bright shades of green and coral that will make your design pop. These types of colors might be used for a spring- or summer-season event poster or perhaps an advertisement that wants to come across as fresh and youthful.

02 Subdued & Professional

Photo credit: Flickr/Vincent D’Amico

Red and blue are some of the most common colors that businesses use for branding, and for good reason. Red says “confident and powerful,” while blue says “calming and trustworthy.” This palette offers a little bit of both, with slightly desaturated shades that aren’t overpowering. To the conservative blue and gray hues, the brick red shade adds a burst of extra color that is still professional. This would work well in any corporate context or for a more “serious” design project.

03 Dark & Earthy

Photo credit: Flickr/Wolfgang Staudt

Desert landscapes are full of dramatic contrasts, and so is this color scheme. For an unexpected color combination that is more toned down than bright and garish, try this pairing featuring shades of plum and reddish-orange.

04 Crisp & Dramatic

Photo credit: Flickr/Alexander Shchukin

Iceland’s natural beauty is legendary, and this palette tries to capture its dramatic contrasts. The warm, grayish undertones of the top two colors contrast nicely with the cooler greens. A range of lighter and darker shades makes it easy to combine any two or three of the colors and have them still complement each other.

05 Cool Blues

Photo credit: Flickr/Sunova Surfboards

Monochromatic color schemes (made up of the various tints, tones, or shades of one color) are extremely versatile. While this palette may not qualify as monochromatic according to the technical definition, for visual purposes, it creates a similar effect. With a color as multipurpose as blue, this combination could be used just about anywhere.

06 Outdoorsy & Natural

Photo credit: Flickr/PapaPiper

If you have a brand or need a design that emphasizes natural or “green” qualities, a color palette featuring greens and browns is a logical choice. Rather than your typical dull shades, this palette brightens things up with a splash of lime green.

07 Watery Blue-Greens


08 Primary Colors With a Vibrant Twist

Photo credit: Flickr/Clint Losee

09 Refreshing & Pretty


Crisp turquoise hues set off bright yellow and bubblegum pink for a palette almost reminiscent of Easter candy. If the pink makes the palette too “girly” for your design’s purposes, just leave it out and opt for the top two aqua shades plus the yellow for a bright, clean combination.

10 Playful Greens & Blues

Photo credit: Flickr/Shandi-lee Cox

The bluish shades at the top and bottom of this selection have gray undertones, which makes them almost neutral — a great foundation for playing with more daring tones like the lime green.

11 Fresh & Energetic

Photo credit: Flickr/Tambako The Jaguar

The almost neon shades of blue and green balance out the other two more conservative colors and add a bright freshness that gives the combination some kick. This kind of scheme might work well for a fitness brand or any design that needs to balance a businesslike feel with an energetic vibe.

12 Surf & Turf

Photo credit: Flickr/Cycling Man

This landscape features both warm and cool colors in both bright and subdued shades. The beachy, mellow color palette inspired by it draws from those contrasts for a combination that brings to mind relaxing island vacations — just one example of how we can associate color with certain places, moods, or emotions.

13 Autumn in Vermont

Photo credit: Flickr/Stanley Zimny

14 Icy Blues and Grays


Contrasting warm grays with cool, glacial blues makes for a dynamic color scheme that’s more visually interesting than your average combination of drab blues and grays. If you’re in need of a palette that’s more restrained, instead of opting for navy and dark gray, try these lighter, brighter hues.

15 Birds & Berries

Photo Credit: Flickr/John&Fish

16 Day & Night

Photo credit: Flickr/Mirai Takahashi

17 Stylish & Retro

Photo credit: Flickr/Andy Rothwell

The muted shades of this color scheme have a vintage vibe, with the light aqua and gold particularly being colors that were popular in the 1950s and 60s. But that doesn’t mean this combination looks dated. These colors (and the mid-century modern aesthetic in general) have seen a resurgence in popularity and still look stylish.

18 Shades of Citrus

Photo credit: Flickr/Prachanart Viriyaraks

19 Sunset to Dusk


20 Bright & Tropical

Photo credit: Flickr/Lou Gabian

21 Warm Naturals

Photo credit: Flickr/shutterbugamar

22 Bold Berries

Photo credit: Flickr/taro

23 Summer Sunflower

Photo credit: Flickr/Tina

This combination has an outdoor feel to it, like a summer baseball game: you have the red dirt of the baseball diamond, the green grass in the outfield, the bright sun in a blue sky overhead. However, it’s more subtle (and has more variety of color) than, say, the more obvious greens and browns in #6.

24 Modern & Crisp

Photo credit: Flickr/Ramesh Rasaiyan

Pairing black and white with bright, crisp shades of green makes for a modern palette that is sophisticated without being too serious. Instead of pairing red or blue with your black and white, freshen things up with some green.

25 Timeless & Nautical

Photo credit: Flickr/Mirai Takahashi

Food & Drink

26 Neutral & Versatile


Neutral colors like the shades of gray and tan here are very versatile and can be paired with almost anything. A color scheme of all neutrals, however, can be quite nice, too. Depending on how you apply it to a design, it can be upscale and sophisticated (think branding for a luxury hotel) or calming and comfortable (think the décor of a favorite neighborhood coffee shop).

27 Cheerful Brights


28 Garden Fresh

Photo credit: Flickr/ccharmon

29 Summer Barbeque

Photo credit: Flickr/Pink Sherbet Photography

30 Berry Blues


31 Lemonade Stand

Photo credit: Flickr/Katie Ring

32 Serene & Spa-Like

Photo credit: Flickr/Lisa Murray

Calming, spa-like greens and blue — great by themselves — look a little more lively with a splash of raspberry as an accent color. Adding a brighter or bolder accent color to a more restrained selection is a nice technique to liven up a color palette and give it a little extra interest.

33 Fun & Tropical

Photo credit: Flickr/Louis Vest

This happy blend of colors doesn’t take itself too seriously. Have a summer party invitation to design? Maybe a children’s event poster or advertisement? A palette like this one will make it clear where the fun is at.

34 Spicy Neutrals

Photo credit: Flickr/Michael Stern

Shades ranging from light to dark make it easy to apply this color palette to a design. There’s enough contrast that you can choose a background color, a text color, and an accent color or two just from these four.

35 Pastels

Photo credit: Flickr/Michael Stern

Applications for a pastel palette will be somewhat limited — designs having to do with Easter, spring, babies, or tea parties are pretty safe choices. Pastel colors generally come across as pretty and delicate, so you’ll want to make sure your design calls for a similar mood if you want to use a color combination like this one.

36 Bold & Cultured

Photo credit: Flickr/Michael Stern

37 Sunny Citrus

Photo credit: Flickr/Michael Stern

38 Crisp Complementary Colors

Photo credit: Flickr/Michael Stern

Red and green is one of three pairs of complementary (or opposite) colors on the traditional color wheel; others include orange/blue and violet/yellow. When combined, these colors make a striking, high-contrast impression that can be a little jarring if you don’t use them carefully. That’s why, for this palette, the reds and greens have been balanced and toned down (not full saturation like the red and green you see on Christmas decorations) for a fresher twist on a complementary color palette.

39 Warm & Rustic

Photo credit: Flickr/Michael Stern

40 Neon Night

Photo credit: Flickr/Michael Stern

41 Jewel Tones

Photo credit: Flickr/Michael Stern

42 Polished & Inviting

Photo credit: Flickr/Michael Stern

Warm grays with a pop of golden yellow is a combination you’ll see sometimes in interior design and home décor contexts. It’s primarily neutral (and the warmness of the grays feels calming and inviting) but the yellow adds some cheerfulness and energy for an overall palette that’s refined but not stuffy.

43 Fresh Greens


44 Wintery Reds


Reminiscent of winter berries and bare branches against a snowy sky, this combination of colors would make a great alternative to your traditional Christmas or holiday palettes. The rich reds paired with violet-tinged grays feel festive, but sophisticated.

45 Summer Fiesta


46 Chocolaty Browns


Who says brown has to be boring? Add some red and violet undertones, and you have a full, rich color palette that — like these chocolate cupcakes — feels a little decadent.

47 Naturally Elegant


48 Cozy & Warm


49 Violet Sunset


50 Strawberries & Cream



51 Grecian Holiday


52 Bold & Basic


White, black (or in this case, very dark navy), red, and yellow is a very common combination. But with these saturated shades, it certainly isn’t boring. If you’re looking for a bold palette that doesn’t mess around with unusual colors but that still makes a strong, eye-catching statement in your design, this type of color scheme is an easy one to apply.

53 Vineyard Neutrals


54 Modern & Urban


55 Misty Greens


56 Sunkissed Village


Many cliff-hugging villages along the Mediterranean coast are painted in warm pastels. You can replicate that sunny, carefree look with this selection of shades and bring a little of the Italian dolce vita to your design, creating a warm and welcoming effect.

57 Sun & Sky


58 Aqua Blues


59 Urban Oasis


60 Candy-Coated Brights


These vibrant hues look like they belong in a candy store, and they’re sure to give a design some youthful energy. Just make sure that it’s okay that the overall effect of the design is a little “loud,” because like the graffiti they’re inspired by, these colors certainly aren’t quiet; they’re out to make a statement.

61 Muted & Antique


62 Classy & Timeless


It’s hard to replicate a metallic effect with just flat color, but dark blue and gold is a timeless combination that you’ll see on everything from swanky party invitations to the official colors of elite schools and sports teams. To add a little class to a design, try some combination of the two colors. (If you can manage to get your design printed with gold foil accents, even better!)

63 Cosmopolitan


64 Cheerful & Friendly


65 Nightlife


The ink colors that all printers use (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black; abbreviated CMYK) make a striking combination on their own, similar to the neon and illuminated signs of a big city at night.

66 Coastal


67 Maritime Brights


68 Vintage Charm


69 Understated & Versatile


70 Arctic Sunrise


Blue and gray always work nicely together (and you could certainly use the bottom three selections of this palette by themselves) — but the addition of a light coral pink, along with the brighter blues, gives this combination a little extra sparkle.

71 Mediterranean Afternoon


Lunch at an Italian restaurant, anyone? Some of the things most often associated with Italian cuisine — wine, rich tomato sauce, fresh handmade pasta — all make an appearance in this color scheme. Try it out to add some warmth and flavor to a design. The inclusion of a creamy neutral shade balances out the more colorful selections; you can use it as a background or base color and one or more of the others as tasteful accents.

72 Hazy Grays


73 City Sights


74 Retro & Relaxing


75 Green Fields


Everyday Items

76 Distinctive & Unexpected


77 Sleek & Modern


Black, gray, and white are always acceptable, usable colors. But add some cobalt blue, and those run-of-the-mill neutral shades become a backdrop for a modern, attractive palette that could work for any design style, from corporate to trendy.

78 Orange Accent


79 Beyond Black & White


Red or blue might be common pairings for basic black and white, but here, a deeper red along with a brighter turquoise blue gives a fresh twist to a familiar combination.

80 Shabby Chic Neutrals


81 Warm & Cool


82 Industrial & In-Control


83 Autumn Oranges + Complementary Neutrals


84 Pool Party


85 Classic Metallics


86 Subtle & Versatile


Reminiscent of colors you might see decorating a beach house, this palette is slightly nautical, slightly faded and vintage, but the hues included here won’t box you into a certain style. They’re pretty versatile and subtle, and won’t overwhelm your design.

87 Professional & Traditional


88 Light & Natural

Photo credit: Flickr/Teresa Romano

89 Shadowy & Dramatic


90 Golden Afternoon


91 Dark & Handsome


Dark wood, leather, old books — things you might find in an English pub or one of those gentlemen’s clubs you see in old movies. If your design could use some suave sophistication, try out this combination of rich browns plus a lighter, smoky neutral shade.

92 Technology Meets Nature


93 Cheerful Blues + Pink


94 Exotic & High-Impact


95 Back to School


96 Bright & Painterly


97 Urban Living


98 1950s Kitchen


99 Smoky Purples


100 Trendy & Metropolitan



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