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For a user interface I need at least 10 distinctive perceived hues, to get a palette with these criteria:

  • The palette should have at least 10 hues and 4 lightness levels for each hue (dark, medium-dark, medium-light, light).
  • Each of the hues should have the same perceived distance to the next one.
  • Each of the hues should have high saturation (i.e.: brown shouldn't be an option, since it's a desaturated orange). Grey, white or black aren't options either.
  • Each lightness level should be perceived as the same across all of the hues (ie: dark_blue should be as dark as dark_yellow).
  • If each hue can be easily named, that would be a nice addition (i.e.: red, orange, yellow, etc.).
  • Dark and medium-dark lightness should have good contrast with white
  • Light and medium-light lightness should have good contrast with black

I have made this test, which is far from what I need (i.e. yellow and gold are closer than turquoise and blue), but it can give an idea of what I'm looking for:

12 hues color palette test

Is there a palette that fits these criteria? If not, is there a way to achieve this or something similar to this?

Edit: Changed the question from "12 colors palette" to "At least 10 colors" since I don't need specifically 12.

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The basic color wheel has 12 colors:

enter image description here

This is the result displaying these 12 colors in a row, adding a darker and two light rows:

enter image description here

The same palette modifying the yellow, cyan and magenta brightness to match the tonal values with the other colors:

enter image description here

I think following a couple of basic steps as described, you can get a quite approximate palette to the one of the question, where only small modifications will need to be made, for example in the dark red or blue.


Note: the images of this answer only seek to show an approximate result of the complete palette. I used two rectangles 30% and 50% white screen mode and a 40% black multiply mode rectangle for the lightest and darkest rows respectively and three 25% black multiply mode rectangles over the yellow, magenta and cyan.

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    To clarify, what process did you apply to modify the yellow, cyan and magenta in the second palette? – Joshjurg Sep 20 at 14:59
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    25% black multiply mode over the colors – Danielillo Sep 20 at 15:05
  • Thanks for your answer Danielillo. The resulting palette is nice, and I will have it in consideration. I do find that some of the colors are, at least to me, closer to each other regarding hues, than others. For example, cyan vs light blue seem closer (to me) than red vs orange. That's why I was looking for something like a munsell or cielab approach, or other method that I'm not aware of. That's why I didn't start from a color-wheel like rgb or cymk. Also, to correct lightness you have to do it by your personal perception which can be different from others. Thanks for your time and insight – serknor Sep 20 at 17:12

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