Colour Inspiration That Comes From Everywhere

When it comes to colour, it’s easy to get a bit lost.


Like picking a typeface, it’s the sheer amount of options we have these days which paralyses us. It doesn’t seem to be a problem when we have strict guidelines telling us which colours to use or typefaces to employ. Though when we don’t, it’s easy to fall into that black hole of endlessly tumbling through menus.

Picking a single colour and shade can be tough enough but it’s when we want to find that magic combination that can everything pop, it gets ever more bewildering.


Where employing the use of different colour harmonies can be a good source of inspiration, I do find it a little… mechanical. It doesn’t feel natural and think it’s easy to lose touch with how colour affects us in our emotional outputs in the real world.


I turn to my inspire folder – on my computer (I’m aware of the irony)


My phone auto uploads all the photos I take into an inspire folder which I sought through on the first Monday of every month. This Inspire folder contains many things which I will probably run through one day on this blog, but for the sake of this post, one such category is ‘colours’.


This folder has all the first-hand data of colour inspirations I’ve found on my travels.


For no particular reason, most tend to be flowers, leaves, and trees.


Of course, they are not all natural. Some will be an advertisement I see from the train or the highlights in an old women’s hair. They all play a role in aligning myself to think about colour as a life experience and not just a design solution.


Let’s see some examples below:


I can tell this is a moment where the sky captivated me. Reflecting the summer’s flowers, the palette was taken primarily from that delicious sky. 



For me this is all about the dusty punch colours playing off the burnt orange. I love this balance.



Taking inspiration from other people’s work such as this door I stumbled on near Camden, I took the colours which I thought were important like the bright pink flowers against the bright white paint. It’s also important to note that in the picture the white is more of a blue due the lighting at the time. However, from memory, I know it’s bright white of the purest intention.



This was a children’s backpack I saw. Of course, it is always better to take the picture when it’s not on a child’s back or you might have some explaining to do. Here I just adored the use of navy blue negative space with bright orange and green stabbing through. What’s not noted here is the good use of cyan, though I personally thought the yellow
was more important to the composition.



This is a piece by Paul Klee which I fell in love with the composition of, but found that the colours were important, so I put it in my colour inspiration folder and used it as a colour reference. All the colours here are important and nothing can be taken away or added to. Check out all those gorgeous blues and purples.



This palette highlights the sheer amount of tones you are able to capture in a single shot. Really this piece is based on two colours – Abundant orange and evergreen green, though decided to capture the multiple greens that found in this relationship.



The sky’s on fire in this, and you can capture the various oranges and yellows that build this intensity. The fact it rests on this blue/grey ignites it further and gives it a more industrial quality.


To Close…


What I find interesting with this is that you can really connect with the emotions that the colours are giving us, and looking at these few examples, we can see how they can guide design decisions for projects which need to emote similar values.