1. Technology
Black and White Color Combinations
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.

colour combinations - limited palette of yellow and black
Y70 | C5M20Y100 | C40K100
It's no mellow yellow when you add black. Put it between the two yellows to make them each stand out.

colour combinations - limited palette of orange, yellow, black
M45Y100 | C40K100 | M3Y15
A charcoal black and a pale yellow, almost ivory shade team up with orange.

colour combinations - limited palette of black, white, and green
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.

colour combinations - red, blue, black, and palest pink
C12M95Y60 | C75M6Y20 | C4M5Y2 | C40K100
The palest pink stands in for white in this palette with a 50s flavor.

colour combinations - pink, blue, black palette
M40Y10 | C50Y10 | C40K100
Another red/blue/black look uses light red (pink) and light blue as highlights and accents with lots of black.

colour combinations - brown and black palette
M75Y100 | C22M30Y55K5 | C15M70Y75K20 | White | C40K100
Black with brown and earthy orange? Sure! And don't just relegate black to small doses either.

colour combinations - pastel pinks and black palette
M65Y25 | M30Y10 | C65M10 | M50Y45 | White | C40K100
Your pastels won't be washed out with a judicial dose of black to make those pinks pop.

colour combinations - shades of gray
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.

sixties palette in layout
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.

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.

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