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For a website, I have a list of some 500-1000 items. I would like to display them individually with(in) e.g. a colored card but also as combinations of 2 up to ~5 items/colors. So, if I would display a rose, it would be a red card; if a daffodil, it would be a yellow card. Together, it would make a card where I display red and yellow.

For all the items I would like to pick a color from a color palette that 1) is a reasonable reflection of the color of item and 2) is a color that combines well with the hundreds of other items and their colors.

Currently, I chose to work with the material design color palette, but I would like to have alternatives. I probably would not need a palette of 500-1000 colors, too much choice and and too colorful, but ~200 is probably effective. They should fit its purpose, i.e. being colors of flowers, or fruits/vegetables, or other applications.

Hence: Where to find or how to make large harmonious color palettes? A gpl palette would be practical outcome.

  • You won't find many palettes of 500-1000 colors. At that point you should just generate the list of colors using a formula most likely. – Zach Saucier May 15 at 13:58
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You could use a photograph of fruit and veg, or flowers, and convert the image mode to Indexed, and automatically generate a colour map/table with around 200 colours (max 256). Then you could use the colour map/table as a palette. You can't beat nature for harmony!

enter image description here

The example (above) was made in GIMP. The same can be done with Photoshop (below).

enter image description here

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I do not understand what is your concept of color palette or the usage you intend to have.

You do not need a color palette, but a script that analyzes the color of your product.

A color palette is one LIMITED set of colors, that are used to give a specific mood to something. If you have that many colors you do not have a palette, you have a full range of colors. Most people on the planet will not be able to name, let's say 50 colors, or differentiate them from one to another. What is AliceBlue? What is the level of milk-sugar to say the color is chocolate or dark chocolate?

The named colors in CSS are ONLY around 140!

Here is a post on UX stack exchange analyzing how difficult is to even have a palette of 20 colors: https://ux.stackexchange.com/questions/95706/colour-palette-progression-to-indicate-priority/95732#95732

And here is another: How to get 10 different colors that are easily recognizable


The approach

Probably what you need is limit the colors for example to pastels. Get a script that analyzes the overall hue of the center of an image. which most likely will have the dominant color, and translate that into a pastel color of that same hue. Limit this palette in terms of saturation and brightness. You can possibly limit the palette to let's say only 12 pastel colors or less.

Now you can use that color as a background but keeping a consistent color scheme on darker colors so people can recognize your website.

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  • Have to say I agree with this. A palette with 200 colours is not really a usable colour palette. Probably best to limit it. – Billy Kerr May 15 at 17:23
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    I see your points and can actually only agree with it. In addition to your and @BillyKerr suggestions, this also may be useful medialab.github.io/iwanthue – Thomas Dijkmans May 15 at 20:01

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