10 Ways to Explore Color

Exploring and finding color can be an intimidating part of being an artist, photographer or designer and, for many creatives understanding color can be a challenge. In this post I tried to capture a few ways to explore color. Many of these include online color scheme tools and I realize that I only included a fraction of these tools in this post.  I tried to include tools that had something a little different to offer than all of the other tools out there. Please let me know if I missed your favorite ways to explore color.

Find color in nature

Photo by SergioTudela

Go outside and observe nature, architecture and your community.  This can be a great place to explore color and possibly the easiest to over look. Our lives are filled with colors schemes and with a little observation, you may be surprised at what you find.


Find color in foods

find color scheme in food

Photo by Masahiro Ihara

Food is rich with color variety, from natural foods like fruits, vegetables, grains and meats to created treats like Ice Cream.


Tools for finding color in photographs

COLOURlovers – PhotoCopa

photocopa photograph color scheme tool

COLOURlovers PhotoCopa tools is my favorite tool for exploring color in photographs.  It is easy to use and dynamically generates color as you make changes.

Color Hunter

Color Hunter simply extracts the top five colors from your uploaded photograph. Quick and easy with no frills.

Tools for building color schemes


colorotate color scheme tool
At the risk of sounding gimmicky, this is actually a really useful and fun to use tool. An added bonus is they also include plugins for Adobe Photoshop and Fireworks.


kuler color scheme tool
Kuler is a tool that I use quite often.  Not only does it let you create your colors from scratch, but it also connects you with the creations of other color lovers.

Color Scheme Designer

color scheme designer

Color Scheme Designer like the others allows you to build color schemes manually. One really cool feature of this one is that it will show you what your color scheme looks like to people with various types of color blindness.



toucan color scheme tool
Aviary’s Toucan is a powerful tool that allows users to create color schemes from scratch or from photographs.


colormunki color scheme generator
ColorMunki is a feature rich site which includes searching colors from libraries, photo tools and a color knowledge base in case you want to brush up on some color theory.


I mention COLOURlovers twice because of the community aspect of their site.  COLOURlovers has many great tools to create and share your colors with others.

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4 Responses to “10 Ways to Explore Color”

  1. Helena on

    Thank you for the neat article!

    I just started studying color in shading and lighting, and it’s a bit overwhelming. This will help whenever I get into a rut or art block.