A Simple Trick For Creating Color Palettes Quickly

Today I’m going to teach you how to quickly create a color palette in Sketch. It’s an awesome trick that I’ve learned from Marc Edwards years ago.

First we will create three squares that are divisible by three. In our example, we’re going to create a square that is 240pt high and 240pt wide.

We’re going to rename these layers to Red, Green and Blue. Let’s change the fill of the Red layer to #FF6161, Green layer to #4F953B and Blue layer to #0076FF. Select these layers and hit the ‘A’ key to select an Artboard tool. We’ll now choose ’Around Selection’ from the Inspector on the right. Let’s rename this Artboard to ‘Color Palette’.

Now we’re going to add different shades to these rectangles by dividing them into three equal vertical parts. Create two rectangles on top of the squares that have the same width as the Artboard. The height should be the height of one square divided by three — in our case 80pt.

Align one rectangle to the top of the Artboard and change the fill to white. Align the second one to the bottom of the Artboard and change the fill to black. Now change the opacity to 20% — this way we’ll have three different shapes of our Red, Green and Blue. Let’s rename these two layers so we know what they are later on.

We’re going to divide these squares again — this time horizontally. Create a rectangle that has the same height as the square. This width is basically a total width of the square divided by three. Align rectangle horizontally to the center of the Red square. Now let’s duplicate this rectangle and align it to the right of the Red square.

Now to the fun part. Change fill of these two layers to something vibrant. We’re going to use yellow (#FFE200). Change the opacity of the middle one to 40% and the right one to 80%. Lastly, change the blending mode of these two rectangles to overlay.

We’ve now split the rectangle into nine equal parts. What we can do now is to simply duplicate these two rectangles and move them into the Green and Blue square to finish the color palette.

Final result

How to use colors in Sketch

Sketch has a hidden feature where we check frequently used colors in the document. We can find that in the Inspector panel when we select a fill color. It’s located on the right side above the alpha value. When you click on that color the panel expands and you can see the frequently used colors.

Pinning colors in Sketch is pretty simple. Once a color is selected you can find two panels in the Inspector — Global Colors and Document Colors. Global Colors are the ones that are pinned across all documents. Document Colors will only appear for the document you are working on.

To save a color just click on the plus sign in either Global or Document Colors panel. That way you pin currently selected color to the panel. To delete the color from the panel just drag it out of the panel.

TIP: To quickly select a color press ‘Control + C’ and click on the desired color. That’s a shortcut for the color picker.

Sketch Palettes plugin

When you are working on a large project with multiple files, manually creating document colors can be a redundant process.

This is where Sketch Palettes plugin comes handy. What this lets you do is you can save these palettes in a file which you can then import into a different document. That way you can quickly add brand colors in a new document you are creating.

To save your color palette in go to Plugins > Sketch Palettes and save your Global/Document palette. There is also an option to load and clear palette.