Color Palettes with CMYK Formulas
These color palettes feature shades of gray. 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.
C30M10Y5K20 | C10M10Y50 | M30Y70 | C10M35Y15K25 | M85Y85K10 | C40K100
Try these orange and yellows against a background of bluish gray.
C80M50Y15K15 | C25M15Y5Y5 | White
A grayish blue with a bluish gray on a background of white.
C65Y35K15 | M90Y100 | M35Y100 | Y70 | C10K35 | C40K100
The orange and yellows of sunflowers with light green are the centerpiece of this palette. Put them all on a backdrop of medium gray.
C7M5Y10 | C7M90Y100 | C100M85Y10K6 | C40M25Y25K7 | C40K100
Bold blue and orange are tamed by shades of gray from silvery to charcoal.
M10Y20K15 | K45 | M40Y40K70 | White
Neutrals combine for an unusual look. Make the gray a splash of metallic silver ink and it's not so dull a combo as you might think.
M50Y85K25 | C25M15Y20K9 | M10Y20K17 | C40K100
Another neutral palette with gray, brown, and a dose of black.
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.
M40Y100 | C100M65Y10K6 | C80Y40K20 | C10M30Y60K10 | C5M5Y10K5
Where white might overwhelm this bright blue and teal try a pale gray.
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
- Gray Color Symbolism and Colors That Go With Gray
• Silver Color Symbolism and Colors That Go With Silver
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.