How to Make Color Charts


Successful creative projects require detailed planning. Key components like color can make or break a presentation. When the concept and colors don't visually connect and relate, clients won't understand what you're trying to sell. Color "stories" or charts communicate information such as mood, market and season through tones and hues. Citrus orange and bananas say summertime, while burnt orange beckons you to fall.

Things You'll Need

  • Paint color chips
  • Glue
  • Printer
  • Thesaurus
  • Matte board
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Double-sided tape
  • Create a collage on your matte board or use one picture. Consider nature, architecture or cultural images. Consider your audience, and choose 5-7 colors from your inspiration for your color chart. Include black, white, and a neutral color. Make sure your inspiration image and color palette relate to your project.

  • Find colors from the collage that match your palette. Take your collage to a store that sells a variety of paint colors. Look through the paint chips and sample cards (color chips are free of charge ). Use the thesaurus to creatively name the colors. Consider the theme of the project, season and trends. Color trends evolve each season, so consider consulting the Pantone website (see Resources) for a color trend forecast, as well as a color story example. The forecast provides color projections two years ahead, predicting the color palette for design professionals from fashion to interiors.

  • Mark the locations where you will apply the color chips on the collage. Apply double-sided tape to the backs of the color chips and arrange them onto the collage. Consider visual balance and make sure all your chips are the same size. Type the names of the colors on the computer, print them out, cut the evenly apart and glue each name to the corresponding color chip. Add a title to the top of the color chart.

  • Create color chips using the motifs in the toolbar and libraries or make your own. If you are Adobe suite savvy, you can complete the process in Illustrator or Photoshop. You can pull the colors directly from an image using the dropper tool to fill the motif, and type the name and title directly on the image. Print when complete.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consider adding fabric to create a 2D effect.
  • Double check with a ruler that everything is even and centered.
  • Consider framing your color chart.
  • Consider putting your color chart on a matte or board without the inspiration in the background.
  • Consider reviewing basic color theory for definitions for hue, value and intensity.


  • Photo Credit Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images
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