Color Palette Perfection: Make a Palette with PicMonkey

Color Palette Perfection: Make a Palette with PicMonkey

Whether you’re planning a fancy soiree, designing your own wedding invitations with our templates, or creating an HGTV-worthy home interior, having a defined color palette can help you master your task.

Color palettes make it easy to turn inspiration into reality and create coordinated color schemes—no mad design skills required. With PicMonkey’s Collage tool and color picker, you can take any image that makes your eyeballs happy and create a custom color palette from it in minutes. ‘Cause what better way to create a beachy color scheme for your abode than by using a picture of a beach? Get the lowdown on how to make your own color palettes below, and you’ll be a hue hotshot in no time.

Choosing a photo for your color palette

When selecting an image for your color palette, the only rule is … that there aren’t any rules. Pick something that speaks to you, and go from there. Common points of inspiration include birds

Color palette inspiration can come from anywhere—like this picture of a bird on branches. Learn to make your own custom color palettes in PicMonkey.

landscapes and cityscapes

Color palette inspiration can come from anywhere—including this picture of a New York City skyline. Make your own palette with PicMonkey.

beachy scenes, flowers, textiles, and food, but anything can kickstart your color creativity.

Nothing coming to mind? Peruse free stock photo sites and see if any images make you say, “Ooooh, pretty colors.” Once you’ve found an image that speaks to you, it’s time to start the palette party.

How to make a custom color palette in PicMonkey

Creating a color palette involves just three simple steps:

  1. Open your image in Collage.
  2. Choose your layout from the Layouts tab.
  3. Use the color picker in the Background tab to change the color of your empty cells.

If you’re thinking, “There’s no way I can make a Pinterest-worthy color palette that easily, PicMonkey. You’ve clearly gone bananas,” we’ll show you how delightfully simple it is:

Choose Collage from the top menu on the homepage and open your inspiring image. Next, find a dreamy layout in the Layouts tab—Biggie Smalls and L-Elegant have a ton of great options, with a large cell for your photo and several smaller ones for your colors.

Choose your layout in PicMonkey's collage maker to begin making your own custom color palette.

Now the color picking fun begins! Select Cell in the Background tab, and then click the eyedropper icon.

Click the eyedropper icon to start creating your custom color palette in PicMonkey.

Find a color you like in your photo and click it. Your cursor will shapeshift from an eyedropper into a paint can. Click to put the color in one of your empty collage cells, then click the eyedropper icon again to pick a different color.

Create a color palette in PicMonkey by using the color picker tool.

Repeat until you’ve achieved palette perfection, then click Save or Add to Hub. If you want to add a watermark, text, or anything other designy goodness to your palette, click Export to Editor.

Create a custom color palette in PicMonkey with the collage tool and color picker.

Tips: If you decide you want to include more colors in your palette than you’d originally planned on and need another empty cell in your collage, there’s no need to change your layout. Create a new cell by dragging a photo or swatch (in the Swatches tab) over a collage border until you see a thin blue bar. Drop your image or swatch, then click the X in the corner. Voila! Brand new blank cell. Learn about more amazerating Collage features in our intro article.

If you run out of empty cells while making your custom color palette with PicMonkey, you can easily create a new one.

You can also preview your hues before you place them on your palette in Collage. Notice the box next to the hex code display in the color picker, in the Background tab. After you click the eyedropper icon, this box will change color as you move your cursor around your image.

If you’re not lovin’ your color palette

If your palette is looking more like a rainbow gone horribly wrong than a cohesive color collection, avoid the urge to go all Rolling Stones and start painting everything black. Instead, take a gander at these common color schemes. Yes, they involve the color wheel and a wee bit of color theory, but don’t let that scare you off. Even the simplest of images contains more colors than you may realize at first glance, and having an idea of which types of colors play nicely with each other can help you pull the right ones from your picture.

Use the color wheel to choose colors that play nicely together for your custom color palette.

  • Monochromatic: Different tints (base hue + white), tones (base hue + grey), and shades (base hue + black) of one color, plus a neutral.
  • Complementary: Colors opposite each other on the color wheel in different tones, tints, and shades.
  • Analogous: Colors that sit next to each other in the color wheel.
  • Split complementary: Pick one color and find its complementary color (the one right across from it on the color wheel). Then find the colors on either side of the complementary color. Those two colors and your original color make up a split complementary color scheme.
  • Triadic: Colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel.
  • Tetradic: Involves two pairs of complementary colors.


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This article was written by PicMonkey Staff, a multicellular organism of hive-minded sub-parts who just wanna get you the ideas and information you crave, so you can make good pictures and take over the world.