Color Palettes with CMYK Formulas
These color palettes feature black and white and almost-black and almost-white shades. Although I've made a few suggestions here and there about the 'amount' of each color to use, experiment. For best results don't use even amounts of each color in the palette. Choose one or two dominant colors and use the rest for accents. Keep in mind that due to the differences between color in print and on the Web that these colors may not appear the same on paper as they appear here on the screen.
These aren't just random color combinations. Each of these are based on actual historic and modern formulas used in posters, packaging, ads, and other design work over the past century. For a much more comprehensive selection of color combinations refer to The Designer's Guide to Color Combinations by Leslie Cabarga.
Y70 | C5M20Y100 | C40K100
It's no mellow yellow when you add black. Put it between the two yellows to make them each stand out.
M45Y100 | C40K100 | M3Y15
A charcoal black and a pale yellow, almost ivory shade team up with orange.
C65Y100 | White | C40K100
Team black and white with just about any color, such as this grassy green. And don't just relegate black to accent - try a black background with several doses of green then touches of white as highlights.
C12M95Y60 | C75M6Y20 | C4M5Y2 | C40K100
The palest pink stands in for white in this palette with a 50s flavor.
M40Y10 | C50Y10 | C40K100
Another red/blue/black look uses light red (pink) and light blue as highlights and accents with lots of black.
M75Y100 | C22M30Y55K5 | C15M70Y75K20 | White | C40K100
Black with brown and earthy orange? Sure! And don't just relegate black to small doses either.
M65Y25 | M30Y10 | C65M10 | M50Y45 | White | C40K100
Your pastels won't be washed out with a judicial dose of black to make those pinks pop.
M30Y30K90 | M20Y20K75 | M10Y10K40 | M5Y5K20 | White
You could call this monochromatic palette shades of gray or tints of black. All with a dash of white to brighten.
Black and white with pink and red in a Sixties-inspired color palette. [See more Sixties era color palettes]
Color Meanings and Mixing Colors
Discover the cultural meanings for these colors and more ways to mix and match colors.
- Color Meanings and Colors That Go Together
- Black Color Symbolism and Colors That Go With Black
White Color Symbolism and Colors That Go With White
More Color Palettes
Explore more color palettes to evoke a certain mood or make a color statement.
Use Swatch Books
Use PANTONE Color Guides to get just the right shades for your color palettes and to find CMYK-PMS color equivalents.