Color Inspiration: Dynamic Color Palettes in Top Tier Cities

HOW Design Live

Color is such an integral part of design, and color inspiration is everywhere. Creating a color palette for a design project is a great way to keep things consistent and alter the effect any design has. Colors convey mood and evoke emotion, and our brains create strong associations between color and meaning. Having an effective color scheme is important for brand messaging; whether its creating a sense of brand identity or trying to evoke certain emotions, color is key to bolstering impact.

Designing in Color

When seeking color inspiration, it’s important to know that different colors inspire different emotions and feelings. For example, yellow is associated with warmth and creativity, purple has royal connotations, and red conjures passion and stimulation, while also symbolizing the heart. Green speaks to wealth and health, black is associated with formality, and even gray has associations: it’s linked to the sciences and maturity, and it can bring a sense of balance to your project.

The Mill Shop recently explored the emotions that color inspires by cataloging color palettes of famous cities around the world. Each of their chosen cities have their own color theme, and heir project asks broad questions: what colors define each place? And why is that so? 

New York

color inspiration

To start, the New York palette uses a signature bright yellow. Not only does this allude to the trademark yellow cabs of New York, it also speaks to the creativity and energy of the city. 


color inspiration

Another city with rich hues, Dubrovnik’s palette features the terra cotta orange roofs that dot its coastline. This vibrant color also alludes to the vitality and brightness of the gorgeous Croatian town.


Dubai color inspiration

Take a look at the Dubai color palette. There’s not a huge spread of tonal variation in their theme, but it perfectly encapsulates the warm, balmy, sandy aesthetic of the city while capturing the feel of the architecture and design.


color inspiration

Compare this with Tokyo, which has bright shades of blue, pink and yellow as well as muted, darker colors. A city that known for its diversity in color, Tokyo’s palette hits on its inky nightlife and vibrant subcultures – a stark contrast to the dreamy, muted palette of Dubai.

Check Your Hex

You’ll notice that each color in these palettes have their hex codes included to take this color inspiration to your next project. Hex codes are a way of identifying HTML colors by using hexadecimal values. The code is made up of six hex values or three separate hex values pairs. They always start with a hash (#), and their unique values always follow. Essential to web design, these codes make it easy to find and replicate colors. 

Color Inspiration Leaves Lasting Impressions

Color palettes are carefully curated to match a design project, and all of the featured colors need to be cohesive to be effective. There’s even a whole subject of color theory that you can explore. If you’re a designer, discovering color inspiration and getting to grips with color theory will help take your design to the next level.

So, whilst these color palettes have been created to evoke the feeling and mood of different cities, think about what you’re trying to achieve in yours and the impression you’re trying to give off. Having a color palette or scheme allows you to consistently use these different colors. The hex codes then help you to expand this color scheme as far and wide as you want it to go.

In different ways, each of these different color palettes captures the mood of their corresponding cities. Let these serve as color inspiration for your next design project…or your next travels!

Article by Amy Hunt

Find inspiration and expertise (in color and otherwise) at HOW Design Live in May!