Gradient color palettes reached incredible popularity in the 1990s. Most ultra-popular design trends have proven to be short-lived, but gradients seem to be an exception — they still appear in today’s designs without seeming dated!
These striking palettes have certainly aged well. And if you use them conscientiously, you can create memorable designs of your own.
There are plenty of strategies (discussed in more detail below) for getting the most out of these unique color schemes. Ready to get started? Take a look at this array of gradient palettes.
Gradient Color Palettes
Prepare to be inspired by these beautiful gradient color palettes. Hex codes are included if you want to use the colors in your next design.
1. Watermelon Crush
Names: Cerise, Yellow green
Hex Codes: #DB2763, #B0DB43
Need a gradient palette that’s pretty much synonymous with summer? This is a great one to choose. Super-vivid Cerise and neon Yellow Green are reminiscent of watermelon — a very bright watermelon! And when you use them to create a gradient, you get a beautiful, glowing orange in between. If you need something high-energy and attention-grabbing, don’t miss this one.
2. Sedona Sunrise
Names: Syracuse red orange, Canary
Hex Codes: #E43D00, #FFE900
Speaking of bright and summery, this is a great color palette for seasonal designs. Both Syracuse Red Orange and Canary are ultra-bright shades that can look a little overwhelming when placed right next to each other. But when you use them as part of a gradient palette, the slow blend between the two softens the design’s overall look.
This color palette would work well as a backdrop for a summer-themed or beach-themed design. But if you want to create heightened contrast and maybe even inject a little retro appeal, try placing the gradient itself against a black or dark navy blue backdrop.
Names: Honeydew, Argentinian blue
Hex Codes: #E4F3E3, #5CA9E9
Few colors can refresh your audience like soft, pale blue. And when you go with a gradient palette, you don’t have to choose just one shade of light blue. This gentle gradient design has an extra-soothing twist thanks to Honeydew’s quiet, minty appeal.
This color combination has the added benefit of looking a bit like the sky. It’s perfect if you’re working on a website, advertisement, or other design for an outdoor-focused brand or company.
Many people also associate the sky with hope, so you also might consider using it for churches, healthcare practices, and other organizations that inspire hope.
Names: Raisin black, English violet
Hex Codes: #212130, #39304A
Dramatic, high-contrast color gradients can really transform a design. But sometimes, you just need a simple, subtle color gradient. This one starts with Raisin Black, an easygoing, slightly faded black shade. As you follow the example picture from left to right, it might look like this color just becomes an extra-faded black.
But the color to the right is actually English Violet, a very deep and dusty purple. Using these two shades in a gradient palette is a smart choice if you need a dark background but still want some subtle dynamism. With a few spots of glowing white, you can transform it into a striking night sky!
5. Cotton Candy
Names: Uranian blue, Lilac
Hex Codes: #BCE7FC, #C491B1
What colors do you picture when you think of cotton candy? If you’re like most people, you probably think of pink and blue. The above color palette’s soft blending of these two colors creates a gentle, cotton-candy-like aesthetic, but the muted character of Lilac saves it from becoming too saccharine.
Uranian Blue is lighter and brighter than Lilac, so you can shift the mood of your design by adjusting how much of each color you include. More blue will give your project a fresh, breezy, energetic feel. More pink will make it look warm, quiet, and even comforting.
Names: Flame, Asparagus
Hex Codes: #D36135, #80B069
Orange is a color associated with creativity and positivity. Green is associated with spring and renewal. So naturally, these two shades go well together!
If you do opt to create a gradient between Flame and Asparagus, be careful when blending the two. When you mix orange and green, you get a brownish shade. A careful blend like the one in the example picture can create a warm, almost golden glow. But if you mix the two colors suddenly and aggressively, you just might get a muddy brown.
Names: Mindaro, Light green
Hex Codes: #DAFF7D, #B2EE9B
Color palettes that remind your audience of fruit are generally a good thing, especially if you’re creating a summer-focused design. And when you create a gradient between yellow-leaning Mindaro and sherbet-like Light Green, you get a color that’s not unlike that of a ripe honeydew melon.
This palette is also somewhat unusual (in a good way). The bright yellow greens make it somewhat high-energy, but the subtle gradient makes it cohesive enough to be almost calming.
Names: Persian indigo, Bright pink (crayola)
Hex Codes: #350068, #FF6978
The combination of purple and pink might make you think of dollhouses. But when you use shades like Persian Indigo and Crayola Bright Pink and create a slow gradient between the two, you’ll create a strikingly modern palette that’s a little reminiscent of nightlife.
This gradient is ideal for projects with a creative bent. Indigo is a color historically linked to creativity, so a pink-indigo gradient will be especially on-brand for designs like these.
One very prominent social media company — Instagram — uses a similar gradient in its logo. The bottom left of the square design features yellow blending into orange. But that orange blends into bright pink, which in turn follows a gradient into a deep purple/indigo shade.
Names: Peach yellow, Atomic tangerine
Hex Codes: #F7DBA7, #F0AB86
Depending on the saturation, peachy hues can be springlike or summery. This palette is pale enough to make your audience think of spring. It’s also ideal if you find that more typical peach shades are bright enough to take away from your text or graphics.
Even though this particular palette is fairly pale, it’s still warm. As a result, you may find that it does best with some element of cool color. For instance, if you’re using it as a backdrop for text and/or a logo, consider using forest green or navy blue as a text/logo color.
10. South Pacific
Names: Prussian blue, Pacific cyan
Hex Codes: #022F40, #38AECC
The combination of deep, teal-like blues and brighter, almost electric blues is a nicely balanced one. In this palette, Prussian Blue offers a sense of peace, and it’s also grounded enough to impart the air of establishment and authority that deep blues so often do.
That being said, too much of that sense of establishment and authority can make your design start to seem a little staid. Pacific Cyan is energetic enough to add just a little zing. If you want to sharpen the contrast while giving this palette a refreshing touch, try adding a bit of cool, crisp white.
11. Raspberry Velvet
Names: Murrey, Amaranth purple
Hex Codes: #870057, #A5303F
This is a great example of a subtle gradient that can really make a difference in the right project. Slightly cooler Murrey shifts into the warmer Amaranth Purple, creating a faint but memorable raspberry glow.
Like other example pictures on our list, this one is a simple left-to-right gradient. However, with a color change this subtle, you may want to try something a little different. Moving from left to right, you could fade Murrey into Amaranth Purple and then fade Amaranth Purple back into Murrey, repeating as many times as you wish.
12. Pink Sands
Names: Ice blue, Mimi pink
Hex Codes: #91F1EF, #FFD5E0
One of the most beautiful sights of summer is that of bright blue tropical waters spilling onto pink sands. This pretty palette captures it beautifully. There’s also a hint of the 1950s here — in that era, shades of cyan and pastel pink could be found everywhere from cars to clothing to interiors. If you really want to maximize this palette’s beachy feel, make sure you incorporate a slow, pale gradient like the one in the example picture.
Names: Charcoal, Persian green
Hex Codes: #264653, #2A9D8F
The right gradient can impart a sense of depth (and sometimes even movement) to any design. In the example image, Charcoal shadows blend into lighter Persian Green, creating an air of mystery.
Keep in mind that left-to-right or other linear gradients aren’t your only option when it comes to this and other palettes. If you’d prefer a more centralized design, you might be interested in trying a radial gradient. With this strategy, your color gradient starts in the middle and fades outward.
14. Stormy Skies
Names: Davy’s gray, Ash gray
Hex Codes: #505250, #CBD3C1
Bright colors aren’t the only shades that make excellent gradients! As you can see here, even demure grays can take on a whole new life when they’re brought into gradient palettes. This one can be a great way to freshen up a neutral interior. If you aren’t afraid to go bold, it’s an excellent choice for an accent wall.
Of course, this is also an ideal gradient for digital designs. If you’re creating a serious design but want it to really stand out from the crowd, this is an ideal palette to select.
15. Jade Aubergine
Names: Verdigris, Eggplant
Hex Codes: #51A3A3, #75485E
Remember the teal and purple design that was everywhere in the 90s? This image (almost) captures it in color palette form. The Verdigris/Eggplant palette is ideal if you need to create a high-contrast palette with vintage appeal.
As you can see, this color combination looks nice in a linear gradient. But if you want to create something a bit more unconventional, try a swirling, cloud-like pattern. Each time the colors meet, you can incorporate a gradient effect that fades them into one another.
16. Hot and Cold
Names: Razzmatazz, Cobalt blue
Hex Codes: #DA3068, #14469F
One of the most important things to consider when building a gradient palette is how the two colors will look when mixed. In this case, Razzmatazz and Cobalt Blue combine to form a lovely shade of purple. Razzmatazz is a pretty, red-leaning pink, so the shade of purple it forms with Cobalt is just lively enough.
Given its high energy, this combination wouldn’t necessarily work with every brand identity. But if you’re making a website, banner ad, or other project for an energetic, youth-focused company, it’s certainly a color scheme to consider.
17. Emerald Isle
Names: Emerald, Gunmetal
Hex Codes: #23CD6B, #272D2D
Even though green can be reminiscent of spring, it’s an effective color choice all year round. Green is a color connected to new beginnings (and even reinventing yourself), so it’s an especially appropriate choice for a brand that’s somewhat connected to those concepts. For instance, lots of people get gym memberships with the goal of improving themselves, so shades of green like the ones found here might be good for a website or ad campaign for a gym.
Names: Moonstone, Mint green
Hex Codes: #7FB7BE, #D2F3EE
This dark-to-light gradient might remind you of the sun coming out on a cloudy day — the light glow coming from the upper right corner looks a bit like sunlight sifting through. The subtle difference between Moonstone and Mint Green makes this a palette that’s easy on the eyes. The two shades used here are also light enough that they won’t compete with text or graphics.
19. Ocean Sunsets
Names: Hunyadi yellow, Amaranth
Hex Codes: #EDAE48, #D1495B
Next to one another, Hunyadi Yellow and Amaranth look somewhat unremarkable. Hunyadi Yellow is about the color of a school bus, and Amaranth is a shade of faded red.
But when you use them to create even a simple color gradient, the range of colors in between is shockingly beautiful. Soft oranges gradually become more intense as the gradient moves closer to pure red. It’s an ideal backdrop for black text and silhouettes!
20. Lavender Haze
Names: Mauve, Periwinkle
Hex Codes: #D7B8F3, #B8B8F3
Here’s another gradient palette with remarkable subtlety. Unless you look closely, it’s easy to miss the fact that the example image starts with slightly warmer Mauve on the left and then blends into cooler Periwinkle. The barely-perceptible gradient, along with the softness of both colors, makes this a good color scheme for website backgrounds.
21. Dust Bowl
Names: Walnut brown, Ecru
Hex Codes: #584D3C, #9F956C
Especially in the world of interior design, layering neutrals is in. But have you considered creating a neutral gradient instead? The example image takes earthy Walnut Brown and Ecru and makes them into something lovely.
Like other neutral gradients, this one can be particularly effective as a sunburst-like radial gradient. It makes an excellent background color, but if you want to make sure it doesn’t outcompete your text or graphics for attention, you can always use desaturated versions of both Walnut Brown and Ecru.
22. Pink Clouds
Names: Fairy tale, Space cadet
Hex Codes: #EEBBD5, #2F284E
Pink is usually thought of as a light, bright shade. So when you add a dark, shadowy influence, you can create a beautifully memorable design! This palette runs the gamut from quiet, almost-pastel Fairy Tale to dark, nearly black Space Cadet. Your design will look especially nice if you make the gradient between the two especially gradual — that way, you get several misty, lavender-like shades.
23. Azure Mist
Names: Robin egg blue, Penn blue
Hex Codes: #00C1D0, #0A0F44
This gradient is an especially striking light blue-dark blue color scheme, and the marine-like shade between Robin Egg Blue and Penn Blue is a memorable one. As you might have guessed, this gradient would look especially nice as part of a website or advertisement for an aquarium, pool, or other water-based organization.
24. Touch of Gray
Names: Snow, Silver
Hex Codes: #FCFAFB, #C8D3D6
In many cases, plain white backgrounds look dull and uninspired. So if you need a white backdrop but don’t want your design to look low-effort or boring, it can be hard to know what to do. Choosing a white-gray gradient like this one lets you add visual interest while still keeping the backdrop mostly white. Together, Snow and Silver create a look that’s almost metallic.
This color scheme also works if you want to add dimensionality to Christmas designs. Try it with a border of holly!
Names: Beaver, Dun
Hex Codes: #9F7E6A, #D2BA9F
Here’s another gentle, neutral palette you might consider. Beaver and Dun are both warm, quiet browns. Individually, each one might look dull and unremarkable. But when you use both on a gradient palette, you get a great sense of depth.
If you’re using this gradient palette as a backdrop for text, you might consider keeping it monochromatic. All you need to do is include text in dark seal brown.
Names: Icterine, Aquamarine
Hex Codes: #FCFB62, #91F9E5
Yellow and blue are excellent colors for creating gradient palettes. With certain colors, you need to be careful that the gradient doesn’t turn an ugly, muddy color. But blue and yellow combine to form various shades of green.
In this palette, sunny Icterine and greenish Aquamarine combine to form a whole host of lively, lime-like greens. It’s a gradient perfect for summer designs!
27. Lupine Bloom
Names: Royal purple, Glaucous
Hex Codes: #7B4C94, #7D82B9
When you choose the right shades of purple and blue, you can create truly memorable color palettes. This combination is a great example. Royal Purple is a bold and balanced shade, but to some, it can seem a little garish. This color leans a little warmer than many purples do, so the bluish Glaucous is the ideal choice for balancing it out.
Names: Verdigris, Cerulean
Hex Codes: #70C1B3, #247B9F
Together, blues and blue-greens can create wonderfully dreamy palettes. That’s especially true if those palettes include color gradients.
This one brings together two classic shades of blue (or bluish green). Verdigris is similar to turquoise, and Cerulean has a teal-like depth to it. When your audience sees this combination, they’ll be transported to an oasis of cool, clear water.
Names: Old rose, Misty rose
Hex Codes: #C88284, #F3D8DB
If you’re hoping to create a vintage-style design, you might appreciate its combination of classic pinks. Old Rose is virtually identical to Dusty Rose, the famous shade from the 1980s. Misty Rose is essentially a dilute version.
On its own, Old Rose can look a little dated. But when you bring in the slow fade of a gradient palette, you’ll give it a cool, modern twist.
30. Blueberry Blitz
Names: Russian violet, Engineering orange
Hex Codes: #301847, #C10214
If you think of great color combinations, the mix of red and purple probably isn’t too high on the list. If you used Russian Violet and Engineering Orange in a colorblocked design, most people wouldn’t find it especially appealing.
But if you use these two shades in a gradient palette, everything changes. In between dark, shadowy purple and glowing red, you’ll find shades of wonderfully vivid, raspberry-like reds and hints of royal purple. The longer you look, the more mesmerizing it gets!
31. Lime Sherbet
Names: Turquoise, Yellow green
Hex Codes: #17E0BC, #98CE00
Even though green is technically a cool color, certain shades of it can be energizing. Turquoise and Yellow Green are great examples. And when you create a gradient between the two, you (and your audience) get to enjoy the endless stream of colors found in between. You don’t see a refreshing blend of colors like this one every day, so this is a great palette to use if you want to stand out.
Names: French gray, Dim gray
Hex Codes: #BFBDC1, #6D6975
This understated palette looks a lot like a cloudy sky right before rainfall. Although it’s not a very energetic palette, it has a certain allure. It’s ideal for adding a little distinction to businesslike designs. For instance, if you’re designing a website for a law firm and need an interesting (but appropriate) backdrop, this color scheme is a good one to choose. You can add some variety with deep blue headings.
Names: Onyx, Raisin black
Hex Codes: #474449, #2D232E
Last on the list is a beautifully deep palette that takes the mystery of charcoal gray and adds a little extra shadow. If you want to keep your design neutral, you can combine this background with white text.
However, the Onyx/Raisin Black gradient also opens up opportunities to bring in elements of bold, unforgettable contrast. For example, bright tangerine orange cubes or squares will seem to jump out from this beautiful background.
Using Gradient Colors in Your Design
Gradient palettes may not be right for every single application. But in many cases, they offer you a way to incorporate multiple colors without creating a jarring contrast.
They also can help your design stand out. And in a market where every single company is battling for attention, a memorable logo, ad, or website can make a big difference. Here’s how to use color gradients to make winning designs.
Make Sure the Gradient Is Right for the Project
If you’re creating an ad, website, or other content for a brand, your first order of business is to make sure your chosen color scheme matches the brand’s identity. For example, if you’re creating a website for a law firm, you wouldn’t want to use bright shades of pink and purple. “Serious” shades that convey authority (like gray and blue) would be better here.
Even for non-branded projects, choosing the right color gradient is essential. Let’s say you’re designing the interior of a meditation room, and you want to include a colorful accent wall. Would you paint the wall in a vivid red-to-orange gradient? Probably not. If you want to make your meditation room a peaceful place of reflection, you may want to consider shades of deep blue, green, and teal.
Know the Different Types of Gradients
A gradient involves one or more colors fading into one another. However, you have a few different choices when it comes to arranging those colors. These are some of the main gradient types you can choose from:
This is the most basic gradient, as the color change occurs in a straight line. That line can be vertical, horizontal, diagonal, or any other orientation you choose.
This type of gradient appears to reflect a color transition so it looks the same on both sides. In the picture above, light purple blends gradually into darker purple. On the other side of the dark purple line, the design fades back to lighter purple.
This is a cool gradient type you don’t see every day. It’s a bit like a linear gradient — if the linear gradient followed the hand of a clock. You start with one color along a line that extends from the center of the design. As you go clockwise, the first color gradually fades into the next color.
This popular gradient has an appealing, sunburst-style design. It starts with one color at the center of the design. As you move closer to the outside of the design, the color fades into the next one.
This one is similar to the radial gradient. However, the color at the center of the design is in the shape of a diamond.
There’s no rule that says gradient color schemes can only follow certain patterns. You can include swirling, cloud-like, or even spotted patterns if you wish. As long as there’s a color gradient involved each time two different colors touch, it counts as a gradient palette.
Don’t Overdo It
Gradients can really draw the eye and help your brand or project stand out — provided you use them sparingly. If you turn everything you can into a gradient color scheme, the impact of those gradients will be diluted. It’s better to have a stunning gradient logo on a plain webpage than it is to use a gradient logo, a gradient webpage, and gradient call-to-action buttons.
Shift Into a New World With Gradient Palettes
Design trends come and go, but gradient color palettes seem to be one that has caught on and stayed on. Depending on your choice of gradient pattern and color scheme, you can create something that’s strikingly modern or vintage-inspired. Whether you go with a two-color gradient or something a bit more complicated, you’ll make some truly incredible designs!