Colour Scheme Suggestions

When choosing a colour scheme, it’s important not just to pick colours that you find attractive, but also to think about what those colours portray – see 99designs’ article Color meanings and the art of using color symbolism, Smashing Magazine’s article “Color Theory for Designers, Part 1: The Meaning of Color” and Lifewire’s article “What Meanings Are Associated With the Various Colors“.

image from

Using a Colour Wheel

RGB Colour Wheel

Canva has a good online colour wheel, an explanation of various types of colour scheme and a tool for creating a scheme –

But here’s an example where I’ve picked a purple colour from the name that color project.

Honey Flower = #4F1C70

I’ve used the website to find its adjacent colours and its complementary colour. I’ve also found lighter and darker versions of each of these, using a method based on Smashing Magazine’s article “Color Theory for Designers: How To Create Your Own Color Schemes” .

I have created a pdf for my own use based on Smashing Magazine’s example, and thought I’d share this in case you find it helpful.


Using all the colours in every row could look pretty garish but, for example, if you wanted a monochromatic scheme you would use the colours in one row only. For a two colour scheme, you could choose colours in two rows.

  • Using the first and last rows gives a complementary colour scheme.
  • The first row along with either of the middle two rows results in an analogous scheme.
  • The last row plus the middle two rows creates a split complementary scheme.

Using Photographs

Another approach is to find a photograph, or collection of photographs, that invoke the feeling you are trying to convey. Here I’ve searched the free stock image site Pixabay using the keyword “beach” and have scrolled through the results and chosen photos that seemed to have a calm mood.

I’ve used the method that I describe in more detail in my article “Creating a Mood Board with Canva & Coolors” to put three of the calm beach photos in a grid using Canva. Then I’ve used the Coolors image picker tool to come up with a colour palette simply by picking colours that felt “right” to me.

I’ve used the Color Hex website to come up with some lighter and darker variations of some of these colours (using the method illustrated in the pdf I mentioned earlier). I used Milanote to make a note of these and give myself a palette with lots of choices.

Note that if you want to get inspiration from just a single photograph then you can either upload your own or use Coolors to search directly for one, as it is linked to the free Unsplash microstock site.

More Ideas

For more inspiration, see Canva’s articles “100 Brilliant Color Combinations” , “The best website color schemes — and how to choose your own” and the beautiful colour palettes at Design Seeds.