100 brilliant color combinations and how to apply them to your designs

color combination resource

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. Whether you're designing a poster or a logo, the color combination plays a key role in how it's perceived.

So we’ve 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 haven’t already (if you haven’t — are you kidding me?!).

Canva has created a handy color palette generator tool: simply drag and drop a photo into the tool and you'll get the hex codes for the dominant colors, so you can use them in your designs.

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:

Are you a web designer? Check out The color combinations of 50 stunning websites. If you're obsessed with color combinations, try our Color Combinations page. And if you're trying to come up with the best colors for your brand, check out Color meaning and symbolism: How to use the power of color in your branding.

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 D’Amico

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 color combination offers a little bit of both, with slightly desaturated shades that aren’t 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.

 

03. Dark & Earthy

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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.

04. Crisp & Dramatic

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Photo credit: Flickr/Alexander Shchukin

Iceland’s 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.

05. Cool Blues

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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.

Looking for something a bit blue? Why not this Simple Blue Collage or our Navy Blue Coral Reef template.

06. Outdoorsy & Natural

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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 color combination brightens things up with a splash of lime green.

07. Watery Blue-Greens

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Another winner for any brand looking to emphasise its eco credentials. This moody combination of watery greens has a subtle sophistication.

08. Primary Colors With a Vibrant Twist

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Photo credit: Flickr/Clint Losee

Bright colors have an undeniable eye-catching power. These primary colors are ever-so-slightly muted, giving the palette a unique touch.

 

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 design’s 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

These earthy colors have a rustic realness to them, evoking woodsy images. This color combination would be perfect for anyone looking to add an authentic touch to their brand.

14. Icy Blues and Grays

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Contrasting warm grays with cool, glacial blues makes for a dynamic color scheme that’s more visually interesting than your average combination of drab blues and grays. If you’re in need of a palette that’s 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

This color palette brings to mind the first moments of Spring, and the newly emerging flowers, buds and berries.

 

16. Day & Night

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Photo credit: Flickr/Mirai Takahashi

This color combination is a perfect example of the power of contrast. The strong, bright hues of the yellow and orange are balanced by the indigo and navy tones, creating an overall effect that is powerful without being in-your-face.

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 doesn’t 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

Nothing says "health" more than these varied citrus hues. Orange, yellow and lime green are the perfect choices if you want a color combination that suggests freshness and vitality.

19. Sunset to Dusk

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20. Bright & Tropical

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Photo credit: Flickr/Lou Gabian

A color combination so tropical you can almost feel the warm breeze on your skin. These warm colors have a youthful energy and vitality.

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 color 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, it’s 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

A classic combination: neutral navy and ivory play off the red and peacock blue in this combination that brings to mind the ocean and boating.

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 décor of a favorite neighborhood coffee shop).

Like what you see? Why not try creating something like this Birthday Post or this Coffee Coupon of your own?

27. Cheerful Brights

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Bold but not overly bright, these colors are eye-catching but sophisticated.

28. Garden Fresh

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Photo credit: Flickr/ccharmon

Orange is often associated with energy, and what's more energetic than these two complementary orange tones? The off-white and pear green colors balance the palette, creating a fresh feel.

29. Summer Barbeque

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Photo credit: Flickr/Pink Sherbet Photography

30. Berry Blues

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An effective color combination doesn't need to use wildly different colors, as this palette demonstrates. The different shades of blue are perfectly balanced, and conjures the trustworthiness blue is often said to promote.

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 doesn’t take itself too seriously. Have a summer party invitation to design? Maybe a children’s 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. There’s 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 you’ll 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 don’t use them carefully. That’s 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.

39. Warm & Rustic

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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 you’ll see sometimes in interior design and home décor contexts. It’s primarily neutral (and the warmness of the grays feels calming and inviting) but the yellow adds some cheerfulness and energy for an overall palette that’s 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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This color scheme works great with this Blood Donation Poster template and this Classroom Job Poster template. Why not give them a try?

 

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 isn’t boring. If you’re looking for a bold palette that doesn’t 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 they’re sure to give a design some youthful energy. Just make sure that it’s okay that the overall effect of the design is a little “loud,” because like the graffiti they’re inspired by, these colors certainly aren’t quiet; they’re out to make a statement.

61. Muted & Antique

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62. Classy & Timeless

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It’s hard to replicate a metallic effect with just flat color, but dark blue and gold is a timeless combination that you’ll 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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The only way to know if it will work is if you try it yourself. Give this Modern Green and White Presentation template or this Dark Green Presentation template your own bit of flare.

 

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

color combination 83 oranges and neutrals

This warm and cozy color combination features muted oranges that won't overwhelm your audience.

84. Pool Party

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Fun in the sun! This color combination is young and playful. The two blues balance the oranges, ensuring things don't get too crazy at this "pool party".

85. Classic Metallics

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If you want a combination that says "tradition" or "trustworthiness", look no further. These classic hues, inspired by metallics, will add a touch of class to your design.

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 won’t box you into a certain style. They’re versatile and subtle: this color combination won’t overwhelm your design.

87. Professional & Traditional

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88. Light & Natural

color combination 88 light and natural
Photo credit: Flickr/Teresa Romano

89. Shadowy & Dramatic

color combination 89 shadowy and dramatic neon

Here, the neon red plays off the earthy, muted towns of brown, slate and crepe. This color combination is perfect if you'd like to emphasise one color in particular, while letting the rest of the shades play supporting roles.

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 gentlemen’s 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

color combination 92 technology meets nature

93. Cheerful Blues + Pink

color combination 93 cheerful blues and pink

94. Exotic & High-Impact

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95. Back to School

color combination 95 back to school

96. Bright & Painterly

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97. Urban Living

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98. 1950s Kitchen

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99. Smoky Purples

color combination 99 smoky purples

100. Trendy & Metropolitan

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We hope that left you feeling inspired.

Happy designing!