Our Process For Creating a Color Palette
08/13 Design Tips

Our Process For Creating a Color Palette

From inspiration to implementation

Whether we're conceptualizing a home, a product collection, or a single vignette, choosing a color palette is one of the most important parts of our design process. 

Color inspires nearly everything we do at Studio McGee, and although we talk about "identifying a palette," all the time, we've never really gone in-depth about how our process works!

Today, we're sharing our step-by-step guide on how to choose a color palette. 

If you're a creative, an aspiring designer, or simply just trying to figure out which pillows you want to style on your couch, this post is for you! 

Start by finding inspiration

Finding inspiration looks different for everyone. One thing is for sure, though; when you start to look for it, you'll be surprised at speaks to you! 

Sometimes what sparks an idea is in the pages of a coffee table book, and sometimes it's in the colors of a landscape you see on a walk or outside of a car window. 

We love looking for tonal inspiration in nature, and we borrow palettes from our project's surroundings all the time! 

Using social media can be a great way to find color palette inspiration as well, and our team loves creating Pinterest boards to compile our ideas. 

Whichever way you seek inspiration, don't be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and mix it up! 

Gather physical representation

Gathering and examining what you have found will help you start to visualize your palette. A physical representation can be anything from a photo on your camera roll to a stranded leaf or piece of driftwood you found on a hike, collected mementos that call to you could even become a decor element in your styling. 

Our Process For Creating a Color Palette

Find the common thread

Once you sift through your findings, consider what is similar about the treasures you've pulled. There might be apparent cohesive colors among them, or maybe each of them evokes a similar feeling. 

Don't be afraid to subtract and save

Sometimes, finding color palette inspiration can be a process of elimination. There are times when we find two separate emotions or tonal schemes within one batch of inspiration and end up dividing them or saving something that we love, but that doesn't quite fit for a future endeavor. 

Our Process For Creating a Color Palette

Create a mood board

When you've identified the common thread, pull the cohesive images or elements together, and start building a mood board! A mood board can be physical or digital, and sometimes it can be as simple as a folder on your phone filled with images of pillows for a sofa combination. 

Pick Pantones

Once we have an idea of the general feeling, we like to pick actual color swatches to pull for products, paint shades, and more. For example, a tone from a pillow collection at McGee & Co. might have first been the color in a floral arrangement. 

Implement your ideas

In this part of the process, it's time to make your palette come to fruition. Depending on what you're creating, this may look like pulling pieces, creating textiles, or choosing paint colors! 

There are times when you will need to adjust the colors that you originally began with because something just lands better, and that's okay! Remember, letting creativity guide your process always lends the best results. 

Our Process For Creating a Color Palette

How do you find color palette inspiration? Share your favorite tips in the comments below!