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How to make a color palette for the site and not only (algorithm + tips)

In Design Mania, there were already several publications with a similar theme: in a note about color matching services for websites, besides inspiration resources, we looked at a couple of useful web tools; there was also a post with an overview of palette generators, etc. However, without an understanding of the logic of how to make a color palette, they may all be ineffective. Today we will try to fill this gap and clarify some theoretical points that are well described in this article.

Those of you who have already used the new-fashioned online generators are aware of their working principle: first you choose some basic values, set up a number of parameters (the names of which resemble some musical terms), and then you get a list of 4- 5 shades recommended for developing web projects.

Colors from the palette
Such a technical and partly automated approach seems, at first glance, incredibly interesting and progressive, but in reality everything is not so optimistic. Of course, if you do not want to see your site / application like this:

Unusual color palette

WHAT IS NECESSARY FOR CREATING A PALETTE OF FLOWERS
It is quite obvious that you will not be able to implement a full-fledged project worth using only five HEX codes of web colors. You need a broader set of elements to create the perfect working prototype.

Create a color palette

Let’s divide our palette into three groups.

GRAY SHADES
Texts, toolbars, backgrounds, etc. – in most interfaces, they are almost always gray.

Gray colors

It is possible that in your case you will need a lot more gray options. At first it seems that 3-4 is more than enough, but soon you will want, for example, to add an element slightly darker than No. 2, but a little lighter than No. 3, etc.

Practice shows that for a full result, 8–10 greyish shades will be enough – this is not so much so that you will go to extremes and suffer when choosing, but at the same time, it is enough to not compromise so often.

Grayscale
As a rule, pure black looks a bit unnatural, we advise you to start with the most saturated dark gray, and then, step by step, move on to white.

MAIN COLOR (A)
In most sites, two basic colors will suffice, which in essence form the overall look of the interface – this is how we associate Facebook with blue hues, although in reality gray is more common in design.

By analogy with the previous paragraph, in order to make a good color palette, you will need 5–10 options, giving a greater choice in designing the appearance: shades lighter can be used as a background for alerts; while the dark are perfect for the design of texts.

Primary colors
COLORS FOR ACCENTS
In addition to the basic, any web interface requires several visual “accents”, allowing you to pay attention to one or another important information. You can use such eye-catching solutions as aquamarine, pink, yellow, etc .:

Colors for accents
You will also need ways to demonstrate certain events and conditions. Let’s say in red you will highlight important / critical information and messages about possible dangerous consequences of the chosen action:

Red color
… yellow (by analogy with traffic lights) will warn visitors:

Yellow
… and with the help of green you can highlight the positive dynamics:

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