Designing a brand or collection of images and struggling to create a consistent color palette? In this Adobe Illustrator tutorial, we’ll explain how to create an automated color palette and then access it for future designs.
Why should you create a color palette
As a designer, creative, or just someone expressing an artistic hobby, you probably know that colors are one of the most important things when creating artwork and design. While some people like to be more expressive with their palette with absurd and unplanned color choices, it’s also important to be intentional with your palette.
If you’re designing for a brand, your color palette can make the difference in attracting the right customers for your target audience. It is therefore essential to choose the right color palette.
Maybe you want an art style where people can see your work and instantly know it’s yours. For this reason, you may choose to work with only a few selected colors. You have to pick the colors to start with, and it’s not as easy as just picking them from scratch.
How to decide which colors to use
You don’t want to choose your color scheme haphazardly. As mentioned earlier, an intentional choice can make all the difference to who engages in your work. The easiest way to find colors that work together is to research and create moodboards.
We suggest using pinterest to help with this. You can easily search for competitors and/or artists with similar styles to yours, or take inspiration from images completely separate from your creative project.
In addition to virtually collecting images online, we suggest taking nature photos and taking notes on how certain colors or styles make you feel and why you use or interact with those works.
Whether you’re creating a digital mood board with Pinterest or creating a traditional mood board of collected paper samples and images, this is sure to be the critical start to finding your chosen color palette. .
How to Create a Color Palette in Adobe Illustrator
Once you’ve created a mood board, you should have an idea of the types of colors you can use in your color scheme. To create a color palette, you need to find a main color in your mood board. This can be the most visible color of your choices, or just the one that best suits your brand.
In Adobe Illustrator, open your digital mood board and use the Eyedropper Tool to sample the chosen main color. It doesn’t have to be a bold color or one that stands out from the other colors in your mood board; it could just be the color you want to highlight in your future designs or branding. You can also use the mood board just for inspiration and open your color wheel to find a color that suits the collection of images you’ve created.
Open a new artboard. By using the Ellipse Tool (L) or the Rectangle Tool (M) Create a circle or rectangle on one side of the artboard in the color of your choice. Then, on the other side of the work surface, create another circle or rectangle in the darkest or lightest shade of your mood board. To have a more eccentric color palette, then opt for a shade quite opposite to the shade of your first color.
To further release these samples, simply right-click and click Ungroup. Take about 4-6 of the best swatches from the selection and turn them into your final color scheme. Having created this palette using Illustrator’s blending mode ensures that all the colors blend together cohesively.
If you want to create a color palette using two colors that don’t seem related to each other, that’s still an option. Gradient blending mode lets you find intermediate shades that won’t look out of place with your two main choices, allowing you to quickly create a cohesive color palette.
How to Access Your Color Palette in Illustrator
Once you’ve created your final color palette in Adobe Illustrator, you’ll want to save the palette for future use. There are several ways to do this and your choice may depend on the programs in which you will use your color scheme later.
If you continue to use Adobe Creative Cloud, you can install your palette on Adobe color, which allows you to access the palette in any other Adobe software. Simply sign in to Adobe Color using your Creative Cloud credentials to save your palette to all Adobe programs.
Once you have Adobe Color open, click Create > Custom. Once on the custom setting, you can change the individual color codes for each swatch by copying the hex codes from Illustrator. Once your palette is complete, click To safeguard.
You can then open any Adobe program or return to Illustrator to view and access your saved palette. Click on Window > Libraries and find the library where you previously saved your palette. Once open, right-click on the chosen palette and click Add a theme to swatches. Now your new palette will be in your Swatches panel, so you can easily access it for future use.
To use your color palette in a non-Adobe program such as Cloth requires a similar set of steps.
If you’re using the free version of Canva, you’ll probably need to enter your palette’s hex codes each time you open Canva. Keep a saved version of your final color palette as an image so you always have access to remove hex codes.
If you use Canva Pro, you can save the color palette under the Brand Kit in your Canva account. This means that you only have to enter the hex codes once, and they will always be available each time you log into your account.
You can now create an auto-filled color palette
This new skill will save you time and frustration and will ensure that all the colors you use in your palette harmonize with each other.
By creating the palette in Adobe Illustrator, you will have easy access to the entire Adobe suite and your color palette can easily be imported into other creative software.
Your workflow will seem so much smoother now that you won’t have to spend time thinking about a consistent color palette for every project.
Here’s how to create a custom color palette in Adobe Photoshop if you don’t like Photoshop’s default color swatches.
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