I make maps and often I find myself having to lay out a map with various adjacent polygons that need to be shaded to differentiate them. I am wondering if there is a web page out there that will let me put in a number of desired colours, and have it return a list of colours that contrast as much from each other as they can?

For example if I were to enter "2" I might get returned black and white, if I entered "3" I might get red, green, blue, but what about when I enter "12", I would want something that assesses how to lay 12 colours beside each other and still have them contract against each other. I imagine hue and saturation would come into play as well since then a colour could be expanded to "light", "dark", etc.

Does such a tool exist out there?


2 Answers 2


Firstly, if your use case specifically relates to maps then you will never need more than four colours (or five, if you want a separate colour for bodies of water). This Wikipedia page has a good explanation of why: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_color_theorem

Secondly, if you want an evenly spread range of colours (for whatever use), then there are lots of tools available online. Try searching for ‘color wheel’ or ‘color calculator’. I couldn’t find one that went as high as 12 distinct colours, but if you can generate 4 or more then you can achieve the results that you are looking for by finding the colours in between those generated by the online tools.

Here are a couple that I like:




I second Westside's suggestion of adobe's color wheel.

Another one I really like is https://www.palettable.io/ which lets you say what colors you like or dislike and helps you choose colors that pair nicely with everything else you suggest. And you can put in hex color codes instead of saying like/dislike if you have specific colors in mind. colors can get repetitive though.

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