Create a Brand Color Palette from an Image

Creating a color palette is an essential early step in presenting your brand to the world, because the colors you choose visually tell the story of your brand’s persona and aesthetic. Color palettes make it easy to quickly replicate your brand’s look when creating your website, digital assets, social media posts, and business cards. Add a color palette to a moodboard containing images that represent your brand and you’ve got a full-on handy dandy brand design kit.

We’ll show you how to use PicMonkey to create a brand color palette in no time.

1. Choose a reference image for your color palette

This is what the final brand color palette looks like. Now, we’ll show you the rest of the steps to create your own.

Browse our stock photo library for an image or three that represents your brand. Say we’re an outdoor outfitter, so we’re going to choose an array of fresh, green, vibrant pics to inform our color palette. We chose these three photos because they have the aesthetic we’re going for, but more importantly they also have a range of light-to-dark hues to choose from. Need help choosing the right colors? Check out our article on Color Theory: Choosing the Best Colors for Your Designs.

2. Open your image(s) in the PicMonkey editor

To build your brand color palette, you could start from scratch in the editor, or you could get started with a collage for maximum flexibility. Go to Collage on the left tabs and select a layout, fill the cells with photos (grab pics from our stock photo library or upload your own) and be sure to leave a few cells empty to fill with your brand colors. Learn more: How to Create Epic Collages

You can also get started with a brand board template—just click and replace our words and pics with your own.

3. Extract brand colors from images

Click an image to open the Graphics palette. Click the color circle on the Graphics palette to open the color picker. With your image selected, use the eyedropper tool to select the prominent colors in your photos by hovering over the images until you find a color you like. The hex code of the color will display— it’s that 6-digit string of letters and numbers that digitally represents a color. In the image above, the deep green we extracted from an image has a hex code of #26473a. So what? Well, you now know exactly what shade of green it is, and you won’t have to try to match it or guess when you make a new design—just enter your hex code for a perfect match and your branding stays consistent.

To add solid color rectangles to your collage layout, select a shape graphic from the graphics menu. Stretch it to the size of the pattern image, then change the color of your shape as described above.

4. Finish selecting your color palette

Continue choosing your colors until you have an array that you’re happy with. Three to five colors is a good number to shoot for. Try choosing the darkest, the lightest, and then a third color in between. Keep splitting the difference if you want to add more colors to your palette.

5. Save and access your color palette in Hub

Your finished design will autosave in PicMonkey’s integrated cloud storage, Hub, which you can access from anywhere. That means you can come back to your branded image files anytime and update them as you desire because they remain layered until you export them. Share your color palette with your team, your designer, your product packaging vendor, anyone you want, by exporting your file directly to email or through file sharing via a unique link from Hub.

Tips on choosing colors using the color wheel

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. Consider this color wheel and with the bullets below, learn how you can reference it to choose a harmonious color scheme.

  • 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.

For more information on creating color palettes for your marketing materials or making secondary color palettes, check out the articles linked here.

Turn inspiration into action. Join now, and treat yourself to the PicMonkey creative toolkit.
Sarah Gonzales

Sarah Gonzales is the content marketing manager at PicMonkey. Before this she worked at Intiut, and before that started a non-profit, and before that had a radio show, and before that worked at Ms. magazine, and before that went to UC Berkeley, and before ALL of that grew up in Alaska.