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14/07/2017 100 Brilliant Color Combinations and How to Apply Them to Your Designs Design School

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Follow Canva: Like Canva

Janie Kliever June 20, 2015


Design Resources
74

100 Brilliant Color Combinations and How to Apply Them to Your


Designs

Color makes a design come alive.

It can attract attention, set a mood, and even influence our emotions and perceptions.

But sometimes it can be hard to know where to start when choosing a color palette for your design project.

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So weve done the hard work for you giving you 100 color combinations inspired by nature, food & drink,
travel, and everyday items.

Want to use these color combinations in Canva? Click here to sign up for free if you havent already (if you
havent are you kidding me?!).

Canva lets you change the colors of your design by entering the hex code in the color menu. Check out the
video below for a quick tutorial on how:

How to apply a hex code to your element in Canva

Web designer? Check out The Color Combinations of 50 Stunning Websites.

Nature
01. Fresh & Bright

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Photo credit: Flickr/u2tryololo

Fresh greenery and colorful blossoms make springtime a welcome sight after a long winter. This color palette
features bright shades of green and coral that will make your design pop. These types of colors might be used
for a spring- or summer-season event poster or perhaps an advertisement that wants to come across as fresh
and youthful.

02. Subdued & Professional


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Photo credit: Flickr/Vincent DAmico

Red and blue are some of the most common colors that businesses use for branding, and for good reason.
Red says confident and powerful, while blue says calming and trustworthy. This palette offers a little bit
of both, with slightly desaturated shades that arent overpowering. To the conservative blue and gray hues,
the brick red shade adds a burst of extra color that is still professional. This would work well in any
corporate context or for a more serious design project.

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03. Dark & Earthy

Photo credit: Flickr/Wolfgang Staudt

Desert landscapes are full of dramatic contrasts, and so is this color scheme. For an unexpected color
combination that is more toned down than bright and garish, try this pairing featuring shades of plum and
reddish-orange.

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04. Crisp & Dramatic

Photo credit: Flickr/Alexander Shchukin

Icelands natural beauty is legendary, and this palette tries to capture its dramatic contrasts. The warm,
grayish undertones of the top two colors contrast nicely with the cooler greens. A range of lighter and darker
shades makes it easy to combine any two or three of the colors and have them still complement each other.

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05. Cool Blues

Photo credit: Flickr/Sunova Surfboards

Monochromatic color schemes (made up of the various tints, tones, or shades of one color) are extremely
versatile. While this palette may not qualify as monochromatic according to the technical definition, for
visual purposes, it creates a similar effect. With a color as multipurpose as blue, this combination could be
used just about anywhere.
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06. Outdoorsy & Natural

Photo credit: Flickr/PapaPiper

If you have a brand or need a design that emphasizes natural or green qualities, a color palette featuring
greens and browns is a logical choice. Rather than your typical dull shades, this palette brightens things up
with a splash of lime green.

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07. Watery Blue-Greens

08. Primary Colors With a Vibrant Twist

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Photo credit: Flickr/Clint Losee

09. Refreshing & Pretty

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Crisp turquoise hues set off bright yellow and bubblegum pink for a palette almost reminiscent of Easter
candy. If the pink makes the palette too girly for your designs purposes, just leave it out and opt for the
top two aqua shades plus the yellow for a bright, clean combination.

10. Playful Greens & Blues

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Photo credit: Flickr/Shandi-lee Cox

The bluish shades at the top and bottom of this selection have gray undertones, which makes them almost
neutral a great foundation for playing with more daring tones like the lime green.

11. Fresh & Energetic

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Photo credit: Flickr/Tambako The Jaguar

The almost neon shades of blue and green balance out the other two more conservative colors and add a
bright freshness that gives the combination some kick. This kind of scheme might work well for a fitness
brand or any design that needs to balance a businesslike feel with an energetic vibe.

12. Surf & Turf

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Photo credit: Flickr/Cycling Man

This landscape features both warm and cool colors in both bright and subdued shades. The beachy, mellow
color palette inspired by it draws from those contrasts for a combination that brings to mind relaxing island
vacations just one example of how we can associate color with certain places, moods, or emotions.

13. Autumn in Vermont

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Photo credit: Flickr/Stanley Zimny

14. Icy Blues and Grays

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Contrasting warm grays with cool, glacial blues makes for a dynamic color scheme thats more visually
interesting than your average combination of drab blues and grays. If youre in need of a palette thats more
restrained, instead of opting for navy and dark gray, try these lighter, brighter hues.

15. Birds & Berries

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Photo Credit: Flickr/John&Fish

16. Day & Night

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Photo credit: Flickr/Mirai Takahashi

17. Stylish & Retro

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Photo credit: Flickr/Andy Rothwell

The muted shades of this color scheme have a vintage vibe, with the light aqua and gold particularly being
colors that were popular in the 1950s and 60s. But that doesnt mean this combination looks dated. These
colors (and the mid-century modern aesthetic in general) have seen a resurgence in popularity and still look
stylish.

18. Shades of Citrus


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Photo credit: Flickr/Prachanart Viriyaraks

19. Sunset to Dusk

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20. Bright & Tropical

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Photo credit: Flickr/Lou Gabian

21. Warm Naturals

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Photo credit: Flickr/shutterbugamar

22. Bold Berries

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Photo credit: Flickr/taro

23. Summer Sunflower

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Photo credit: Flickr/Tina

This combination has an outdoor feel to it, like a summer baseball game: you have the red dirt of the baseball
diamond, the green grass in the outfield, the bright sun in a blue sky overhead. However, its more subtle
(and has more variety of color) than, say, the more obvious greens and browns in #6.

24. Modern & Crisp

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Photo credit: Flickr/Ramesh Rasaiyan

Pairing black and white with bright, crisp shades of green makes for a modern palette that is sophisticated
without being too serious. Instead of pairing red or blue with your black and white, freshen things up with
some green.

25. Timeless & Nautical

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Photo credit: Flickr/Mirai Takahashi

Food & Drink


26. Neutral & Versatile

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Neutral colors like the shades of gray and tan here are very versatile and can be paired with almost anything.
A color scheme of all neutrals, however, can be quite nice, too. Depending on how you apply it to a design, it
can be upscale and sophisticated (think branding for a luxury hotel) or calming and comfortable (think the
dcor of a favorite neighborhood coffee shop).

27. Cheerful Brights

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28. Garden Fresh

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Photo credit: Flickr/ccharmon

29. Summer Barbeque

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Photo credit: Flickr/Pink Sherbet Photography

30. Berry Blues

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31. Lemonade Stand

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Photo credit: Flickr/Katie Ring

32. Serene & Spa-Like

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Photo credit: Flickr/Lisa Murray

Calming, spa-like greens and blue great by themselves look a little more lively with a splash of
raspberry as an accent color. Adding a brighter or bolder accent color to a more restrained selection is a nice
technique to liven up a color palette and give it a little extra interest.

33. Fun & Tropical

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Photo credit: Flickr/Louis Vest

This happy blend of colors doesnt take itself too seriously. Have a summer party invitation to design?
Maybe a childrens event poster or advertisement? A palette like this one will make it clear where the fun is
at.

34. Spicy Neutrals

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Photo credit: Flickr/Michael Stern

Shades ranging from light to dark make it easy to apply this color palette to a design. Theres enough
contrast that you can choose a background color, a text color, and an accent color or two just from these four.

35. Pastels

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Photo credit: Flickr/Michael Stern

Applications for a pastel palette will be somewhat limited designs having to do with Easter, spring,
babies, or tea parties are pretty safe choices. Pastel colors generally come across as pretty and delicate, so
youll want to make sure your design calls for a similar mood if you want to use a color combination like this
one.

36. Bold & Cultured


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Photo credit: Flickr/Michael Stern

37. Sunny Citrus

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Photo credit: Flickr/Michael Stern

38. Crisp Complementary Colors

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Photo credit: Flickr/Michael Stern

Red and green is one of three pairs of complementary (or opposite) colors on the traditional color wheel;
others include orange/blue and violet/yellow. When combined, these colors make a striking, high-contrast
impression that can be a little jarring if you dont use them carefully. Thats why, for this palette, the reds and
greens have been balanced and toned down (not full saturation like the red and green you see on Christmas
decorations) for a fresher twist on a complementary color palette.

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39. Warm & Rustic

Photo credit: Flickr/Michael Stern

40. Neon Night

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Photo credit: Flickr/Michael Stern

41. Jewel Tones

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Photo credit: Flickr/Michael Stern

42. Polished & Inviting

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Photo credit: Flickr/Michael Stern

Warm grays with a pop of golden yellow is a combination youll see sometimes in interior design and home
dcor contexts. Its primarily neutral (and the warmness of the grays feels calming and inviting) but the
yellow adds some cheerfulness and energy for an overall palette thats refined but not stuffy.

43. Fresh Greens

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44. Wintery Reds

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Reminiscent of winter berries and bare branches against a snowy sky, this combination of colors would make
a great alternative to your traditional Christmas or holiday palettes. The rich reds paired with violet-tinged
grays feel festive, but sophisticated.

45. Summer Fiesta

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46. Chocolaty Browns

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Who says brown has to be boring? Add some red and violet undertones, and you have a full, rich color
palette that like these chocolate cupcakes feels a little decadent.

47. Naturally Elegant

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48. Cozy & Warm

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49. Violet Sunset

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50. Strawberries & Cream

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Travel
51. Grecian Holiday

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52. Bold & Basic

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White, black (or in this case, very dark navy), red, and yellow is a very common combination. But with these
saturated shades, it certainly isnt boring. If youre looking for a bold palette that doesnt mess around with
unusual colors but that still makes a strong, eye-catching statement in your design, this type of color scheme
is an easy one to apply.

53. Vineyard Neutrals

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54. Modern & Urban

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55. Misty Greens

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56. Sunkissed Village

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Many cliff-hugging villages along the Mediterranean coast are painted in warm pastels. You can replicate
that sunny, carefree look with this selection of shades and bring a little of the Italian dolce vita to your
design, creating a warm and welcoming effect.

57. Sun & Sky

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58. Aqua Blues

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59. Urban Oasis

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60. Candy-Coated Brights

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These vibrant hues look like they belong in a candy store, and theyre sure to give a design some youthful
energy. Just make sure that its okay that the overall effect of the design is a little loud, because like the
graffiti theyre inspired by, these colors certainly arent quiet; theyre out to make a statement.

61. Muted & Antique

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62. Classy & Timeless

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Its hard to replicate a metallic effect with just flat color, but dark blue and gold is a timeless combination
that youll see on everything from swanky party invitations to the official colors of elite schools and sports
teams. To add a little class to a design, try some combination of the two colors. (If you can manage to get
your design printed with gold foil accents, even better!)

63. Cosmopolitan

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64. Cheerful & Friendly

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65. Nightlife

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The ink colors that all printers use (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black; abbreviated CMYK) make a striking
combination on their own, similar to the neon and illuminated signs of a big city at night.

66. Coastal

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67. Maritime Brights

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68. Vintage Charm

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69. Understated & Versatile

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70. Arctic Sunrise

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Blue and gray always work nicely together (and you could certainly use the bottom three selections of this
palette by themselves) but the addition of a light coral pink, along with the brighter blues, gives this
combination a little extra sparkle.

71. Mediterranean Afternoon

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Lunch at an Italian restaurant, anyone? Some of the things most often associated with Italian cuisine wine,
rich tomato sauce, fresh handmade pasta all make an appearance in this color scheme. Try it out to add
some warmth and flavor to a design. The inclusion of a creamy neutral shade balances out the more colorful
selections; you can use it as a background or base color and one or more of the others as tasteful accents.

72. Hazy Grays

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73. City Sights

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74. Retro & Relaxing

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75. Green Fields

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Everyday Items
76. Distinctive & Unexpected

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77. Sleek & Modern

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Black, gray, and white are always acceptable, usable colors. But add some cobalt blue, and those run-of-the-
mill neutral shades become a backdrop for a modern, attractive palette that could work for any design style,
from corporate to trendy.

78. Orange Accent

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79. Beyond Black & White

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Red or blue might be common pairings for basic black and white, but here, a deeper red along with a brighter
turquoise blue gives a fresh twist to a familiar combination.

80. Shabby Chic Neutrals

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81. Warm & Cool

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82. Industrial & In-Control

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83. Autumn Oranges + Complementary Neutrals

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84. Pool Party

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85. Classic Metallics

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86. Subtle & Versatile

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Reminiscent of colors you might see decorating a beach house, this palette is slightly nautical, slightly faded
and vintage, but the hues included here wont box you into a certain style. Theyre pretty versatile and subtle,
and wont overwhelm your design.

87. Professional & Traditional

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88. Light & Natural

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Photo credit: Flickr/Teresa Romano

89. Shadowy & Dramatic

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90. Golden Afternoon

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91. Dark & Handsome

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Dark wood, leather, old books things you might find in an English pub or one of those gentlemens clubs
you see in old movies. If your design could use some suave sophistication, try out this combination of rich
browns plus a lighter, smoky neutral shade.

92. Technology Meets Nature

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93. Cheerful Blues + Pink

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94. Exotic & High-Impact

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95. Back to School

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96. Bright & Painterly

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97. Urban Living

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98. 1950s Kitchen

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99. Smoky Purples

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100. Trendy & Metropolitan

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We hope that left you feeling inspired. Let us know in the comments section if you know of a color
combination that deserves a spot in the list.

Happy designing!

Bring great design to your entire workplace


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Written by
Janie Kliever
See Janie Klievers latest posts

Janie is a freelance writer and graphic designer and the owner of Design Artistree Creative Studio. After
college, she built on her background in art to explore design...and loved it. Now, she enjoys finding ways to
combine the craftsmanship of traditional fine arts with the digital possibilities of graphic design.

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74 Comments Canva Oannes Adapa

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Recommend 25 Share

Join the discussion

JessieE 3 months ago


wow! this color combinations are impressive! thanks for this! :D
1 Reply Share

darmayo 8 months ago


#fbe9e7 in "100. Trendy & Metropolitan" isn't Charcoal.
1 Reply Share

Damien J. Byrne > darmayo 6 months ago


Should be #4a575c
Reply Share

healthtrekker 10 months ago


Really fantastic stuff!

I appreciate so much what you've done here, because I try to do my own stuff but struggle so
much with that internal vocabulary that many designers have.

This really helped me learn to think a little bit more the way you do.

The fact that you also chose such fantastic photography to go with it, helped communicate the
point a bit better than just a list of palettes.

Good job!
1 Reply Share
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14/07/2017 100 Brilliant Color Combinations and How to Apply Them to Your Designs Design School

barbara a month ago


Fab combinations, thank you.
Reply Share

Todd a month ago


#76 - Distinctive & Unexpected - the brown/purple HEX code is incorrect. It's #472D33. Just FYI
Reply Share

The Doctor 2 months ago


that made me so happy
Reply Share

Gopalakrishnan K 2 months ago


Just awestruck!!! No words to thank you for presenting these combinations in a awesomely
aesthetic way. Excellent photos, titles, and colours. Thank you.
Reply Share

Bread Crumbs 3 months ago


Great article, thank you. :)
Reply Share

pu_design 3 months ago


this is great, thanks for this
Reply Share

Destination Jute 3 months ago


Fantastic! Thank you for all the inspiration!
Reply Share

Blake 4 months ago


Thank you very much
Reply Share

Jaya Anant 4 months ago


thank you so much i love it .
Reply Share

MartinS 5 months ago


This is so nice. Absolutely just what I needed to get inspiration to my first iOS app :)
I want ta make a gym training log app and I will use "11. Fresh & Energetic".
Thank you once again, Janie. Wish you all the best.
Reply Share

Maria Sideris 6 months ago


Georgeous and useful article. I love the name of the hues!
Reply Share

Abdul Wahid
https://designschool.canva.com/blog/100-color-combinations/ 115/120
14/07/2017 100 Brilliant Color Combinations and How to Apply Them to Your Designs Design School

Abdul Wahid 9 months ago


ddbc95, the colour code and the colour is a mismatch.
Reply Share

Katherine Fernandez Saborio 9 months ago


A W E S O M E ! Thanks so much, this is helping a lot and will do for a long time!
Reply Share

nanda_glenn 9 months ago


this is so amazing, I really like your post. so helpful. u had a great taste for color. thanks for this
:)
Reply Share

Zara Downie 9 months ago


awesome! eye catching color combinations
Reply Share

Blaise Posmyouck 9 months ago


So nice stuff, thanks for this :)
Reply Share

Rizky Aditama Ramadhan a year ago


Thank u so much!!!!! It's a great post!
Reply Share

Mono Wind a year ago


Wow, I have rarely found something so useful on the Internet! And so much work you've put into
this! Thank you Janie.
Reply Share

gulabjamal a year ago


This article is absolutely fantastic. Such beautiful complimentary colors accompanied by a
picture that evokes exactly that feel. Even the names of each color perfectly fit. Love it, thank
you so much!
Reply Share

Reyaz Haider a year ago


Really, you made me a designer!
Cheers
Reply Share

Katharina Lewald a year ago


This article is the bomb! However, I miss a vertical Pinterest friendly image I can pin :(
Reply Share

Johnch a year ago


Thank you Janie Kliever for such a comprehensive and enlightening page ...it is likely to become
the backbone of my amateur creativity ...You are the greatest!!
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Reply Share

Jos Roberto Krepsky Filho a year ago


What a stunning article Janie!

Perfect understanding about color meanings ;-)


Reply Share

Ramki339 a year ago


Nice compilation....and nice write-up and description too! Wow! Truly amazing. (came here while
searching for red + metallic blue combination.)
Reply Share

2LeslieYanez a year ago


Useful analysis - For what it's worth , if your business has been looking for a TX EF23-10603 ,
my boss filled out and faxed a blank document here http://goo.gl/NePB4q
Reply Share

Tara Macgregor a year ago


What a truly fantastic article! I have saved it to my favourites and will no doubt be referring to it
over and over again when designing websites. Thank you so much Janie.
Reply Share

Dana Klein a year ago


This is absolutely amazing!
I was wondering if you could recommend a pallette for a my website - I'm a personal stylist in the
fashion industry and i'm looking for something both relatable and edgy, that sends a message
and makes a statement,
Would appreciate your help!
Thanks in advance :)
Reply Share

Luis Fernando Pineda a year ago


ooh!!! DELIGHtTUL !!!
Reply Share

Geraldine Pinto a year ago


Dear Janie,
this is invaluable !
Thanks for compiling it.
Reply Share

Jinu a year ago


Thanks Janie...for these images. It's helping me a lot.
Reply Share

Cara R. a year ago


Love, love, LOVE these! I have so many favorites!
Reply Share
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14/07/2017 100 Brilliant Color Combinations and How to Apply Them to Your Designs Design School

Reply Share

Janie > Cara R. a year ago


Great to hear! Hope you find good opportunities to use them :)
Reply Share

Micha A. Nowakowski a year ago


A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.! It required a lot of hard work but the outcome is awe-inspiring!
Reply Share

Janie > Micha A. Nowakowski a year ago


Thanks, Michal!
Reply Share

Margaux Anne a year ago


I can't even express to you with words how much these beautiful color palettes have helped me
with a current project - thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!
Reply Share

Janie > Margaux Anne a year ago


That's wonderful to hear, Margaux you're quite welcome!
Reply Share

Jason a year ago


Great list Janie!
Reply Share

Janie > Jason a year ago


Thanks, Jason!
Reply Share

Denise Reed Kelly 2 years ago


This is an awesome list. I'm having some issues with the category links (404 error). Are the links
still active?
Reply Share

Janie > Denise Reed Kelly 2 years ago


Sorry about that, Denise; the links don't appear to be in working order currently. But just
so you know, they don't lead to any extra color palettes each category is presented
fully here in the article.
Reply Share

Liz @ LizzieMeetsWorld 2 years ago


Love this collection! Been going through them for several days now and deciding which one I'll
use for my next web design. :)
Reply Share

Janie > Liz @ LizzieMeetsWorld 2 years ago


https://designschool.canva.com/blog/100-color-combinations/ 118/120
14/07/2017 100 Brilliant Color Combinations and How to Apply Them to Your Designs Design School

Great to hear that you're putting them to use already! We'd love to see which one you
choose and how you apply it to your design :)
Reply Share

Joana Beshaj 2 years ago


Thank you so much Janie, this is one of the best presented articles I've came across recently! I'll
immediately subscribe to the site :)
Reply Share

Janie > Joana Beshaj 2 years ago


You're welcome! And thank you stopping by to comment we hope that The Design
School and other resources here at Canva will be a great reference for you.
Reply Share

Salahuddin Ayubi 2 years ago


Amazing collection, Brilliant, Actually the best I've ever found on web. Great work buddy
...amazing collection of colors very useful for Graphic design...thanks for the source
Reply Share

Janie > Salahuddin Ayubi 2 years ago


Thank you, that's very kind. Hope you find it useful!
Reply Share

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