How to Make Your Own Instagram Color Palette


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Instagram is all about the visual experience: Beautiful images and an Instagram color palette that pulls your feed together! 🎨

But what if you don’t know how to combine color shades? Or maybe your brand colors don’t fit into the most popular color palettes on Instagram. 😔 That’s okay! 

We’re bringing you expert tips and examples to tailor your palette to your brand. Learn how to get a color palette on Instagram with this quick tutorial!

What is an Instagram Color Palette?

Are you scratching your head and wondering what the heck a color palette on Instagram even looks like? We’ve got you.

Your palette is a collection of colors that tie your images together. A color palette guides you in picking photos that match your brand. Plus, a palette also keeps your feed from looking messy!

And there are a TON of color palette options on Instagram.

neutral instagram color feed
@k.els.e.y‘s neutral Instagram color palette.

Some Instagram feeds use neutral shades with a pop of color in every photo. Others use several shades of the same color to create a cohesive look. 

But your Instagram theme about more than aesthetics and pretty colors!

A consistent look increases brand awareness and trust in your company. Without a defined palette, you risk confusing your audience.

And, as Lucidpress reports, “71% of companies list customer confusion as the biggest negative impact of an inconsistent brand.”

So, a defined color palette can really help you stay on track! In return, your fans recognize your brand and feel comfortable engaging with your account.

Plus, did we mention creating color palettes is fun?

Ready to get started? Woohoo!

Let’s boost familiarity with your brand and freshen up your Instagram feed by choosing the best color palette for Instagram! 🎨

Making an Instagram Color Palette: Do’s and Don’ts

Learn how to get a color palette on Instagram using our recommended best practices. These dos and don’ts help you create and use an Instagram color palette with ease! 

  • DO: Add your existing brand colors to your theme.
  • DO: Pick a color palette that fits with the photos you frequently post.
  • DON’T: Choose colors at random (as you’ll confuse your audience and disrupt your feed.)
  • DON’T: Post photos on the fly! This increases the chance that your image won’t mesh correctly with your theme and colors.

How to Build Your Own Color Palette for Instagram

From your website to social media channels, your brand colors have meaning. Your best bet is to choose colors that get a response from your audience and ones that fit your brand style!

Right about now you may be wondering, what is my Instagram color palette? Well, let’s find out! 🕵️‍♀️

All you need is one key color, and a little room to experiment. With these two things, you can build at least five different types of color palettes for Instagram

Step 1: Choose Your Main Instagram Color

The best color palette for Instagram is one that uses your primary brand or company color.

After all, you put time into choosing your brand color, right?

So, it makes sense to use it in your Instagram color palette. 

This way, when people click from your website to your Instagram feed, they know they’re in the right place!

And, it gives you some wiggle room.

If you want to switch Instagram themes later, it’s easier since you’re building off of one color from your brand.

monochromatic instagram feed with pops of colors
@creativeandcoffee has a recognizable pink Instagram color theme with splashes of color.

Step 2: Get Familiar with the Color Wheel

Remember the color wheels with seven slices of bright colors?

Or perhaps you’re more familiar with the colors of a rainbow:  red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet (ROYGBIV).

build an instagram color palette with a 12-shade color wheel.

Today we’re using an expanded version of the color wheel using 12 colors. This wheel adds: 

  • Pink
  • Red-orange
  • Yellow-orange
  • Yellow-green
  • Yellow-blue

A color wheel helps you map out how each shade relates to the other.

It’s a handy source of inspiration! (Feel free to pin our Wheel of Fortune to reference later!) 📌 

Plus, you’ll gain a bit of confidence knowing that professional designers rely on the same wheel to make color palette selections.

Step 3: Brush Up On Mixology

Chances are, you’re not looking to use all primary colors. To help build color palettes of one or two key colors, it helps to understand which ways you can move up and down the color scale to pull new color shades and tints!

Here’s a crash course on how color mixology works!

If you’re looking for darker shades based on your key color, here’s how they’re created.

Deeper shades of color are created by mixing black into the primary color.

You can get a range of shades depending on the level of black you add!

Tint is created with the opposite!

You can get lighter versions of your key colors to use by just adding a little (or a lot!) of white.

Adding any neutral color (like black, white or grey) will reduce the chroma (read: colorfulness) of a color without changing the hue (the color it is on the color wheel.)

For a middle-of-the-road option, you’ll produce a tone by mixing your base color with grey.

Depending on the shade of grey you blend in, your toned color will be slightly lighter or darker than your base color.

You won’t get as many dramatic variations with grey, but you will get several strong neutral variants to complement your brand.

Step 4: Build Your Instagram Color Palette

Okay. Got your key color? ✅Did you take a gander at the color wheel? ✅Brushed up on mixology basics? ✅

Now it’s time to start building your Instagram color palette. Below we list five color palette ideas for Instagram used by professionals. These are five key styles that inform most professional color palettes you see out in the wild!

Start with your brand color, then pick the wheel that speaks to you. Which one says “this is MY Instagram palette?” 🗣  

Monochromatic Instagram Color Palette

Monochromatic means one color. But in this palette, you aren’t using only one color. Instead, you’ll pull different shades from the same color family. For example, you may choose all different shades of blue or green. 

On Instagram, the monochromatic scheme is popular because it’s easy to get started with.

It’s also not hard to remember when you’re building your feed.

Is it monochromatic the best color palette for Instagram?

Well, many Instagrammers would answer that question with YES!

monochromatic color palettes on instagram use shades from one color family

Complementary Instagram Color Palette

complementary insta color palette- use two opposite colors on the color wheel

The second-most popular type of palette is the complementary Instagram color palette.

This palette uses two colors that are direct opposites from each other on the color wheel. 

This combination really catches your eyes and stands out.

Graphic designer Victoria Hiraoka tells us why, and the best balance to make it work for you! 

“In this example, we have teal which is opposite of red-orange on the color wheel. A good rule of thumb is 60% of one color, 30% of the opposite color, and 10% neutrals.”

Victoria Hiraoka

Analogous Instagram Color Palette

In contrast to complementary, you choose two shades touching your main color on the wheel when building an analogous palette.

Here’s how it works!

Find your brand’s color on the wheel.

Then, choose a shade or shades from either side of it.

analogous colors on color wheel

Triad Instagram Color Palette

We’re not going to lie: the triad color palette for Instagram is tricky to pull off. You get a vibrant feed. But, it can quickly become a lot to take in. If you aren’t careful about visually planning your feed, it can quickly turn messy!

Up to the challenge? Triad palettes are complex, but beautiful, vibrant and artistic.

use three shades of color in your instagram feed

With a little practice and a lot of focus, you can really transform your feed with a triad color palette!

A triad uses any three shades that are of equal distance from one another on the color wheel.

In our triad wheel, notice that there are three colors between each shade we chose!

The best way to incorporate a triad color palette on Instagram is to use the 60/30/10 ratio. Then, sprinkle in some neutrals to tone those color splashes down and keep everything nice and balanced! 

Neutral Plus Instagram Color Palette

A neutral Plus Instagram feed soothes your viewers and contains just the right pop of color to appeal to audiences of all style preferences!

Neutral shades are also very on-trend right now, being one of the major graphic design trends emerging in 2020.

 “It might be tempting on this one to let the color overshadow the neutrals, but your color pop is best used sparingly.

The lower the percentage of your chosen color pop is, the more attention it grabs!”

Victoria Hiraoka

how to make a neutral instagram feed with pops of color

The Best Color Palette Generator Apps

There are so many options, we know! If you’re having trouble choosing just one color palette for Instagram, there are a ton of apps built to help!  We’ve narrowed this list down to our top three IG color palette apps. Get ready to get inspired!

App #1: Canva 

  • Available on desktop, iOS, and Android 
  • 3 Plans: Free, Pro: $9.95 per user/month, or Enterprise: $30 per user/month 

Canva is an all-in-one photo editing and image creation service. But, it has a robust color palette generator tool as well.

You can simply use an inspiration photo! Upload the photo and Canva will generate an Instagram color palette based on the picture.

Or use Canva’s color wheel tool for a custom selection. Plus, it’s free to search hundreds of palettes by colors, keywords, or themes! 😍

App #2: Colordot by Hailpixel

  • Available on iOS 
  • Free on a desktop or a $0.99 iOS app download

Colordot is a unique and fun way to choose a color palette for Instagram.

The desktop and iOS versions are full screens. Just use your camera to capture colors.

Or swipe to change your hue, lightness, and saturation. This app gives you endless options to find precisely what you want!

App #3: Palette

With thousands of 5-star reviews, Palette is a fantastic Instagram color picker. It’s easy to generate a palette from any photo or web link.

Plus, it gives you HEX codes for use across multiple platforms. 

Schedule and Post Your Color Palette to Instagram

Of course, designing a gorgeous color palette for Instagram is just one piece of the puzzle. 🧩After all, it’s tough to visualize how just one picture looks in in your entire 9-grid. 🤔

That’s where Tailwind’s visual planning tool makes life so much easier. Our 9-Grid Preview Tool lets you upload all your photos in one batch. Then, you can drag and drop your photos until you find the perfect arrangement of balanced, beautiful color!

Plus, once you’ve arranged your beautiful Instagram feed,  you can schedule your posts at the very best times for optimal engagement!

Itching to paint your Instagram life just a little brighter? Sign up for our free trial of Instagram today – no credit card required! 💳

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Jessica Elliott, a marketing technology writer and social media enthusiast, tracks the latest trends to help companies maximize their resources through content marketing.

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