Four cool colour tools

I keep coming across super useful colour tools. Not that this is surprising. Working with colour is notoriously difficult.

As designers we have to worry about choosing palettes, matching colour with imagery, colour contrast and finding something that satisfies the clients personal dislike of green!

As these new tools keep popping up, I thought I would give you a run down of my personal favourites.


I am a huge fan of evernote. One use I have for the application is as a place to collect imagery and inspiration.

I keep this graphical library organised with tags and for a long time I would also tag by colour. It was a laborious process but being able to call up all the imagery that had blue as its predominant colour was useful.


Now that I have Colorstache, I don’t need to tag by colour. Colorstache allows me to search within my evernote library based on choices from a colour wheel. Very useful!

Color Pilgrim

Color Pilgrim is a great way to discover new colour palettes. You can either upload images to the site or ‘clip’ them from webpages using their bookmarklet. Color Pilgrim will then extract a colour palette from the image.

Color Pilgrim

The bookmarklet is a nice touch, as is the ability to create palettes from scratch if you don’t want to use an image.

You can also search colour palettes by colour value which is not only a great way to find a good colour palette, but also imagery to use in moodboards.

Color Thief

Like Color Pilgrim, Color thief extracts colour from an image. However, what makes color thief interesting is that it can be used on your own site.

This jQuery plugin can automatically update the colour of a page based on the imagery within the page. This has some wonderful design possibilities.

Color Thief

I remember years back working on the National Trust website. At the time each page featured a huge image that had enormous impact. To reinforce this imagery we switched the colour palette of each page to support the image. This took us a huge amount of work. If only we had Color Thief then!

Check My Colours

Finally we come to Check My Colours. The only one to actually spell the word colour correctly ;-)

Check My Colours is a tool for checking foreground and background combinations to ensure they provide sufficient contrast for people who has visual problems.

All of the tests are based on the algorithms suggested by the World Wide Web Consortium and it works really well.

Not always the most cheerful reading. However, this is definitely a tool we should be using on all our sites.

Check My Colours

So what about you? What cool colour tools have you found. Post them in the comments below.

Related Post

Design convergence is not a dirty word Is it a bad thing that many websites are looking the same? Or are we seeing a maturing of our design patterns and improving of the user experience.
A different way to build your prototype using agile Prototyping website redesigns is a smart move on many levels. But I am not convinced traditional agile is always up to the task.
Why are there so many bad user interfaces in the world? Have you ever wondered why you encounter so many bad user interfaces everyday? The answer is not as straightforward as you might think.
  • Thanks for the recommendations! Colorzilla is one of my favs.

  • Anonymous

    Great Post! I’ve found these two sites very helpful
    1. great for color combinations
    2. simple but useful for determining color gradients and converting from RGB to CYMK.

  • Anonymous

    To mix colours, Eric Meyer’s colour blender is indispensable …

  • “Check My Colours is a tool for checking foreground and background combinations to ensure they provide sufficient contrast for people who has visual problems.”

    Who have visual problems.

    “So what about you? What cool colour tools have you found.”
    What cool colour tools have you found?

  • maxray

    Adobe Kuler is pretty good. :)

  • Marius

    They have awesome autocompleter:

  • emisarius

    Don’t forget about

  • Another big +1 for
    The site is interesting, but lays out the results in a hard to read format. The info is there – and it’s useful – but it could use a bit of help on the design. Regardless, it is a site I’ll be using.

    Color Thief link is now broken, also.