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Colors are such fundamental, tangible things that it’s hard to imagine not having names for them, but the number of words for colors varies widely by language and for many, many years, English got by without a lot of the color names we take for granted today.
In nearly all languages, the first colors to get names are black and white.
“Black” comes from very old words that meant “to burn” or “burned.” But the same old words also gave us “blake,” which is a now obscure word that meant pale, pallid, and ashen.
In fact, the Oxford English Dictionary says that it is often difficult to tell which of these two colors is meant in Old English texts when the context doesn’t make it clear.
And to make it even more complicated, at some point, “black” could also be used to describe something bright, shining, or glittering, perhaps related to the idea that something that is burning is all those things. So it took “black” a while to be limited to what we think of as black today.
“White” is a little more straightforward. In Old English, it meant “bright and radiant, or clear and fair.
” It could be describing something we think of as white such as snow, milk, or an old person’s hair, but it could also describe something transparent, or something light yellow, pale gray, or silver.
Online Etymology Dictionary says “White” is also one of the oldest surnames in English, originally referring to people with fair hair or a fair complexion.
There are still languages today that have just two words for colors that are essentially white for all light or warm colors and black for all dark or cool colors.
That surprised me, but one thing that surprised me most was that the next color almost all languages name is red—one theory is that it’s because it is the color of blood.
50 Beautiful Color Combinations (And How to Apply Them to Your Designs)
- One of the keys to making your design come alive is choosing just the right color combination.
- Whether you're attempting to evoke the feelings associated with a breathtaking landscape, a romantic sunset or a dynamic scene bursting with color, it takes a trained eye to bring together the perfect hues to drive your message home.
- To save you some time and effort in your search for the ideal color combination, we've created a list of beautiful color schemes you can use in any of your projects.
- These color presets are already available for you within Visme, so you can easily apply them to any of your own designs by simply clicking on the color combination of your choice, as seen below.
Apply any of these beautiful color presets to your design.Try It for Free
Now that you've seen how simple it is to apply your own color schemes right within Visme, here are 50 unique and dazzling color combinations our design team created just for you.
1 Blue Sunset
A mix of vivid yellows and oranges with a dark moderate blue and a strong orange make this an attractive combination for just about any design that needs to send a message of energy and vitality.
2 Classic and Retro
This combination of mostly dark colors–from a dark grayish cyan and a dark moderate red to a dark orange–make this combination ideal for a subdued look. For simpler designs, you can also choose to use only the top three colors.
3 Shimmering Blues and Greens
Here we have a mix of strong and vivid blues with a soft yellow and desaturated dark orange, which is ideal if you're going for something a bit more exciting and dynamic than the typical blues and browns.
4 Sunset Over a Swamp
This mix of a desaturated dark blue with a soft yellow and bright orange and red make this a colorful combination suitable for lighthearted, youthful themes.
5 Mediterranean Blues
This perfect combination of a grayish blue with a desaturated dark blue and a range of browns evoke the feelings associated with this magical and mysterious Mediterranean setting. It is ideal for designs related to travel or nature.
6 Exotic Orchids
Here we have a range of blues complemented by a dark cyan and vivid orange–perfect for a colorful, vibrant design. You can also pick and choose the colors that most suit your design, such as the top dark blues and the orange as an accent color.
7 Sophisticated and Calm
This color combination is versatile enough to be used in a variety of design projects, from those with a sophisticated and upscale look to those with a calm and comfortable feel.
8 Magentas and Yellows
A range of magentas combined with a vivid yellow and olive tone make this a refreshing and unconventional palette.
9 Blue Mountain Peaks and Clouds
This range of blues combined with a dark yellow and light grayish pink make this a versatile color scheme perfect for professional and conservative designs.
10 Orange Sunset
A dark pink and a dark desaturated violet are combined here with a soft red and a soft orange to create a vibrant and colorful palette that can be used in a variety of designs to communicate energy and warmth.
11 Vintage 1950s
For a classic, retro look that elicits a bit of nostalgia, here's a unique combination of a slightly desaturated blue and orange, at the top and bottom, and a strong cyan and soft yellow.
12 Vivid and Retro
This original mix of red, pink and a vivid orange make this a versatile and eye-catching palette, which can be used in a variety of ways by, for example, applying the first three colors or, alternatively, the bottom three in a design.
13 Ornamental Reds and Yellows
This palette is made up of very dark reds and a range of yellows and oranges. Choose any of these colors to give your design a bold look.
14 Turquoise and Red
This colorful image of ripe fruit gives rise to this unique combination of blues, cyans and red. If you decide to mix and match two or three colors at a time, you can create a range of palettes for your designs, from professional ones with cool colors to more upbeat, energetic ones.
15 Blue Sundew
This image of a carnivorous plant gives rise to a range of blues complemented by a dark red and brown tone.
16 Classic 70s
If you're looking for something reminiscent of the 70s, you can create a variety of color schemes with this image of a Volkswagen camper cruising through the beach.
17 Gothic Architecture
This image of a cathedral in Normandy has inspired this scheme appropriate for a design that is cool, controlled and professional.
18 Fiery Red Landscape
This icy Swiss mountain surrounded by clouds produces this color scheme, which includes black and a range of reds.
19 Urban Skyline
If you're looking for a modern-looking, dynamic color scheme, this palette inspired by this image of a cityscape provides a unique group of colors to choose from.
20 Natural Elegance
This beautiful portrait of a bride inspires this harmonious palette, which can be used in a wide range of designs to communicate professionalism and conservatism or sophistication and natural elegance.
21 Summer Blueberries
A range of violets and a strong pink and yellow come together in this palette, bursting with colors evocative of the Spring and Summer seasons.
22 On the Dock of the Bay
These maritime colors are ideal for evoking the coolness and tranquility of an afternoon sitting on the dock of the bay, “watching the tide roll away.”
23 Earthy Greens
These olive and brown tones are great for themes related to sustainability, nature and earthiness.
24 Old Car and Blue Jeans
Here is another unique combination comprised of dark blue and dark green with a soft yellow and desaturated dark red.
25 Berries Galore
These luscious multi-berry colors can be used all at once or, depending on your project, two or three at a time. For example, you can go for a monochromatic effect with just the first three.
26 Refreshing and Invigorating
This breathtaking image of a stone arch in a national park inspired this cheerful and fun color scheme, which is sure to add a sizable dose of life and vitality to your design.
27 Serene and Relaxing
This soothing color palette brings to mind a relaxing walk alongside a beach shore, with the wind running through your hair. Its range of greens with gray undertones makes this a perfect scheme for a variety of projects.
28 Aqua Greens
This range of cyans and lime greens brings to mind anything related to submarines, boats, underwater diving and ships.
29 Summer Vacation
This mix of blues, combined with a beige and brown tone, elicit emotions related to a fun summer day in the sun.
30 Twilight Moon
Looking for a Halloween theme? This range of oranges and black is perfect for any Fall or Halloween-related design.
31 Swiss Meadows
The dark blue combined with the gold and bronze in this combination are often seen in the official colors of school teams. The pink, however, adds a unique and colorful touch that can be used to make your design stand out.
32 Tropical Wildlife
If you're looking to add a burst of energy to your design, you can apply all the colors in this scheme or just two or three colors at a time (such as the top or bottom three colors).
33 Child's Play
This cheerful yet stylish combination brings together these colors: dark blue, moderate red, bright orange and a grayish orange.
34 Sunset in Hamburg
This image of a mesmerizing sunset in Hamburg brings to mind these warm colors, ranging from a dark red and moderate orange to a grayish blue and grayish orange.
35 Lemon in Water
This mixture of soft yellow and olive with black and grayish violet make for a bold and eye-catching design.
36 Inspirational and Romantic
This beautiful picture of a breathtaking sunset inspired this palette comprised of dark pinks, violets and reds.
37 Riverside London
Although this color palette is technically made up of a browns, oranges and a grayish red, it can be used as a monochromatic scheme in any of your designs.
38 Black and Bright Orange
A range of oranges, black and a dark grayish lime green are combined in this high-contrast scheme.
39 Indian Fields
This exotic image inspired this colorful scheme comprised of a range of greens and bright red colors.
40 Jazz Night
Choose two or three of these colors to add character to your design. You can use either the top two combined with the light grayish yellow or the bottom three together.
41 Bright and Energetic
If you're looking to communicate energy and approachability, this bright color scheme will do the trick. The cooler colors on top are perfectly complemented by the soft reds at the bottom.
42 Earthy and Natural
This mix of leafy greens and browns is ideal for any design related to the environment, sustainability, nature or wildlife.
43 Czech Architecture
This unique palette is reminiscent of the colorful facades of houses seen across Europe. You can use all of these colors at a time or stick to two or three for each individual project.
44 Blue Accent
If you're looking for a design that is sure to catch someone's eye, go for this range of grays complemented by a perfect soft blue accent.
45 Kaleidoscope Illusions
Lime greens combined with brown and peach result in this palette, which can be dissected to create several other combinations with two or three colors.
46 Winter Barn
Make your design pop with this unique color scheme, comprised of a range of cool blues and a distinctive dark red.
47 Bright and Fruity
A selection of cool and warm colors come together in this cheerful combination, suitable for designs related to food, diet and nutrition.
48 Purple Garlic
In this scheme, strong reds are complemented by a light grayish magenta and dark red with gray undertones.
49 The Colors of Nature
A range of blues and browns make this an attractive color scheme for themes striving to communicate permanence, transparency and dependability.
50 Oriental Opulence
A light violet, blue and orange with gray undertones is combined here with a dark blue and strong orange to add color and vitality to the scheme.
Try These Color Combinations In Your Next Design
Ready to get started using one of these color combinations in your next design? Sign up for your own Visme account and input the hex codes right inside the color picker!
general words used to describe colors – synonyms and related words
literary bright and full of light or color
a lot of different bright colors together
made very pale by chemicals or strong sunlight
very bright, clear, or strong in color and therefore easy to notice
big, bright, or colorful in a way that is not attractive
bright colors are strong but not dark
with strong, but not dark, colors
too colorful and in poor taste
cold colors are colors such as white, blue, and gray that make you think of things that are cold
red, green, blue, etc. rather than transparent or black or white
something that is colorful has bright colors or a lot of different colors
something that is colorless has no color
the British spelling of colored
the British spelling of colorful
cool colors, such as white and blue, give an idea of cold instead of heat
strong and not pale in color
a deep color is dark and strong
a delicate taste, smell, or color is pleasant and not too strong
in a way that is pleasant and not too strong in flavor, smell, or color
something that is discolored has changed in color and no longer looks new, clean, or healthy
used for describing a color that is not bright because it has some gray in it
colors that are fast will not become paler when clothes are washed
bright and colorful in a way that makes you think of a celebration
mainly literary very bright in color, especially bright red, orange, or yellow
a fluorescent color is very bright and seems to reflect light
used about colors
old-fashioned brightly-colored or attractive
harmonious colors or parts combine well with each other
harsh colors or lights are not pleasant because they are very bright
used for saying what color decorations, clothes, etc. are
informal bright, colorful, and attractive
pale in color, not dark
very bright in a way that does not show good taste
with the same color, pattern, or design
neither light nor dark in color
soft and warm in color
able to show or produce only black, white, and gray
a monotone color is all the same shade of that color
not as bright or colorful as usual
neutral colors are not very strong or bright
something that is opalescent seems always to be changing color slightly
something that is pale blue/gray/pink, etc. is a lighter type of blue/gray/pink, etc. than usual
a pure sound, color, light, etc. is very clear and beautiful
not too bright in color, or not decorated too much
a rich color, sound, or smell is strong in a pleasant way
sepia photographs are old and are a red-brown color
a sickly color is so pale that is looks unpleasant
plain and not brightly colored
the British spelling of somber
Americaninformal brightly colored
something that is tinged with a color, feeling, or quality contains a small amount of it
relating to the tone of something, especially a color or sound
a translucent color is very pale or light
informal old-fashioned two-tone shoes or clothes have two colors
bright and colorful
a violent color is very bright and almost painful to look at
a vivid color is strong and bright
warm colors have red, orange, or yellow in them. Colors with blue or green in them are called cool colors
washed-out clothes have lost a lot of their color because they have been washed so often
pale, or not strong
English version of thesaurus of general words used to describe colors
List of Words to Describe Colors
Most of life is full of color, from the great outdoors to commercial malls. When writing, it can be difficult to capture all the colors of the rainbow. From time to time, it's okay to pepper our writing with generic words like “bright” or “colorful.” But, what if we could do better?
What if we provided commentary on flaming leaves and monochromatic skies? Sounds a little more interesting, right? Read on to enjoy a list of words to describe colors. Let's see if any of them will pop up in your next piece of writing.
Descriptive words for color can evoke a positive feeling, a negative feeling, or simply express the facts. Certainly, when they have a positive connotation, they're going to express bright and cheery emotions. Let's take a look:
Not everything is for everyone. When we're met with something overly colorful or drab, we need to find the right words to convey that feeling. See if any of these words will work for your next writing piece:
- Ashy – Having the color of ash; pale
- Bleak – Gloomy; somber; not colorful
- Blotchy – Discolored or patchy
- Brash – Abrasive; tacky
- Chintzy – Cheap-looking
- Cold – Depressing; saddening
- Colorless – Lacking color; dull
- Dark – Lacking in light
- Dim – Not bright
- Discolored – Deprived of color; given the wrong color
- Drab – A dull, yellowish-brown color
- Harsh – Disagreeable; unpleasant
- Loud – Overly intense
- Muddy – Not clear
- Opaque – Incapable of allowing light to pass through
- Saturated – Overfly full
- Showy – Gaudy; too flashy
- Sickly – Having a pallor that reflects being nauseated
- Somber – Dark; gloomy; dull
- Sooty – Black or dusky in color
- Splashy – Attracting too much attention
- Stained – An unwanted spot
- Uneven – Not smooth; irregular
- Washed-out – Lacking color; faded
- Watery – Containing too much water; diluted
Words that Express a Little Color
Sometimes, less is more. Things can be totally colorless, monochromatic, or full of muted tones. When that's the message you're trying to convey, see if any of these illustrators will do:
Paint Your Words with Color
Painters paint their canvas with paint brushes; writers paint their pages with pens and keyboards. The mediums are different but the embrace of expression is the same. Are you ready to take your musings on the world and translate them into a short story? Then, let's get creative. Here's how to write a short story.