Let’s dig deep into your memories for a minute. Do you remember learning about color theory and complementary colors in your 1st grade class?

Maybe it’s easier to recall the color wheel (a.k.a. the little circular chart that showed us which colors looked good together and which ones clashed).

There’s a strong chance you weren’t even paying attention—honestly, we were all probably too busy thinking about games, shows, or whatever else we liked back then.

Now, we’re older. Our attention spans aren’t any better. However, we have our own brands now, and it’s our responsibility to make them look good.

That means it’s time to make the connection between color theory and custom apparel.

Why is color choice important? 

Actually, it matters for many reasons, especially in the process of creating your apparel designs. 

Color preferences are subjective. Using color strategically will help you attract the attention of your target audience. 

It’s also important to recognize that colors elicit emotions. For example, some hues might make you feel happy, while others make you feel some type of way.

When choosing your color palette, you will want to make sure it reflects your brand accurately. 

In other words, you might not want to add a feel-good quote about loving life on top of a dull, gray-blue background. (That’s a bit of a buzzkill, don’t you think?)

If you feel like crying and dragging all your apparel design files to the Trash, STOP! 

We have a few resources that will turn your frown upside down.

Tools to make color theory easier than rocket science

Even if you’re not a design whiz, you can still use color theory to level up your artwork. 

Here are three helpful tools that are both beginner-friendly and free (because who doesn’t like free?)

adobe color

1. Adobe Color

Adobe Color is a tool that gives you free rein to create color palettes based on anything that inspires you, whether it’s a picture, video, feeling, or even your favorite food.

If you’re feeling completely lost, Adobe Color will save the day. You can search trends based on keywords, or you can simply explore until you come across a color palette that speaks to you. (That means there’s no excuse for procrastination!)

Finally, Adobe Color makes color theory a piece of cake by allowing you to view hues based on different harmony rules, such as analogous, monochromatic, triad, or complementary.

No more guessing on your combinations! This is the last day you’ll ever use the eyedropper tool to select colors for your apparel designs.

Try Adobe Color!

canva color wheel

2. Canva Color Wheel

The Canva Color Wheel provides extensive information on color theory. This bad boy right here shows you which colors would be perfect matches and which ones are a design faux pas.

Like the previous tool we mentioned, the Canva Color Wheel will show you applications of multiple color theory rules based on the hue you select on the wheel.

If you are easily entertained, this tool will probably be your favorite because it’s low-key fun to watch the website’s background change color with each selection you make.

You seriously can’t mess up with the Canva Color Wheel. You can jump onto this site knowing nothing about color and still find matches that will make you look like the Andy Warhol of custom apparel.

Try the Canva Color Wheel!


3. Coolors

If you have more faith in artificial intelligence than your own color matching skills, Coolors will make your day. 

With the tap of a button, the system will work its magic to show you color palettes for every aesthetic you can think of.

We have to admit that hitting the spacebar over and over again is oddly satisfying.

Will you find the winning color palette after a few clicks, or will you spend the whole day rotating through your options in an effort to find the perfect match?

We hope it’s the first one—for your own sanity.

Try Coolors!

Color = communication.

When marketers talk about creating a connection with their audience, they often focus on messaging. 

However, the cool thing about color theory is that you can make a statement with the hues you choose for your apparel designs. Let the colors do the talking!

If you take a shot in the dark with your brand colors or the shades in your custom apparel, you are missing out on an opportunity to be strategic with your choices.

Your brand has a purpose, right? Then your apparel designs should serve that purpose, whether it’s through color, typography, or symbols in your artwork.

We recommend you use the three tools above to your advantage. They will help you create the coolest version of your brand possible (or warmest, depending on what you’re going for).

Ready to wear your custom apparel designs?

That’s great news because we’re ready to print them. Get your quote.