Need a palette to energize and invigorate your audience? If so, look no further than neon colors. These super-bright hues remind us of nightlife, psychedelic adventures, and fun in general.
Neon shades may not be right for every project, but they offer you an almost-guaranteed way to grab your audience’s attention. Whether you’re creating an all-neon design or just want a couple of vivid accent colors, these upbeat color schemes can get you started.
Neon Color Palettes
Prepare to be inspired by these beautiful neon color palettes. Hex codes are included if you want to use the colors in your next design.
1. Pop Art
Names: Deep sky blue, Vibrant green, Canary, Rose bonbon, Phlox
Hex Codes: #12B8FF, #01DC03, #FFE62D, #FD4499, #DF19FB
When most people imagine neon colors, they picture the mega-bright signs found in the windows of bars and clubs. You can channel the energetic spirit of these signs into your designs — especially if you give shapes and text a lifelike glow like the one in the example image!
This particular palette covers nearly all the colors of the rainbow, so you should use it cautiously. Using approximately equal amounts of each (like in the image above) can give your design a chaotic feel. That’s fine if it’s the aesthetic you’re going for. But if you want something a little calmer, choose one or two base colors and incorporate the rest as accents.
2. Industrial Glow
Names: Ultra pink, Tyrian purple, Phlox, Vivid sky blue, Electric blue
Hex Codes: #FF5BFF, #D34DEE, #BF4BF8, #2AC9F9, #56F1FF
Exposed brick is a cornerstone of the popular industrial aesthetic. But this image sees it dressed up with brilliant neon shades. It’s a fantastic backdrop for neon colors, but you can create a memorable background without it, too.
That being said, this combination packs a real punch if it’s used in front of a very dark backdrop. Use black for a maximum nightlife-like effect, or go with navy for a palette that’s closer to monochromatic.
3. Trippy Triangles
Names: Celeste, Aqua, Fuchsia, Hollywood cerise, Dark purple
Hex Codes: #BFFFFC, #41FEFF, #FF00FE, #EE018F, #3E1340
The arrangement of these colors in front of a dark background is a critical part of capturing your audience’s attention. But if you look closely, that background color isn’t black — it’s actually dark purple!
In the pictured image, Dark Purple is actually a more realistic choice than black. As the various shades of blue and pink reflect off of a black background, the black color will give off a slightly purplish glow.
4. Starry Smile
Names: Blue lotus, Persian rose, Dark orange (web), Neon green, Fluorescent cyan
Hex Codes: #5E57FF, #F23CA6, #FF9535, #4BFF36, #02FEE4
Neon shades are great for colorblocking or for creating intense, psychedelic designs. But as you can see in the example image, they can also be used to create delicate, dreamy aesthetics.
One of the keys to this aesthetic is the deep blue background. Another is the assortment of differently-sized neon spots, as they create the illusion of a starry sky.
Thanks to the inclusion of both Blue Lotus and Fluorescent Cyan, this palette is better suited to cooler-leaning designs than some of the other palettes on the list. But as you can see, neon blues don’t always have a calming energy!
5. In Rainbows
Names: Fuchsia, Vivid sky blue, Chartreuse, Canary, Coquelicot
Hex Codes: #F500EB, #0CD4FF, #8DFF0A, #FFEF06, #FF3A06
Strategic neon highlights can take any ordinary illustration and make it extraordinary. And because this color palette almost spans every color of the rainbow, it’s an outstanding choice for this purpose.
It takes a skillful eye to distribute these shades evenly enough to make a masterful work of art. If you do choose to use these colors to create rainbow highlights, it’s a good idea to have at least a preliminary sketch of your design beforehand. That way, you can plan out your color distribution.
Names: Fuchsia, Electric purple, Russian violet, Poppy, Giants orange
Hex Codes: #FC1FF9, #BC0EEF, #443061, #E42536, #FC5E31
At first glance, this palette might just seem like an odd mash-up of bright colors. Many neon palettes would put Fuchsia, Electric Purple, and Russian Violet alongside a few shades of blue, but Poppy and Giants Orange take this group in a surprisingly warm direction.
For best results, choose either purple or red/orange to be your main neon shade and then add the other as an accent. The robot illustration above is a great example — the body and eyes are purple, but the glowing hints of red-orange add a bright new dimension.
Names: French violet, Rose bonbon, Cream, Turquoise, Vivid sky blue
Hex Codes: #8921C2, #FE39A4, #FFFDBB, #53E8D4, #25C4F8
If you find more saturated neon colors to be overwhelming, this unique palette might be a better choice. These shades are a bit lighter, and they look almost like a mix between neons and pastels.
Thanks to that pastel-like quality, this palette is perfect for more calming designs. For example, the sight of a city reflected in a river is almost universally recognized as a peaceful sight, so it makes sense that the artist used a softer palette like this one.
8. Movie Night
Names: Fandango, Hot magenta, Canary, Orange (pantone), Off red (rgb)
Hex Codes: #B7239B, #ED3DC6, #FFE91A, #FE5700, #EA1104
Who doesn’t love the sight of a vintage movie theater sign? Most are bordered by red and lined with glowing yellow lights. But if you’re working on a design and want to bring in a few more colors, you might find that Fandango, Hot Magenta, and Pantone Orange go perfectly.
This is one of the warmer palettes on the list, so it’s a good idea to make sure most of the colors are broken up by a dark, cool neutral. In the example image, the dark night around the sign prevents Hot Magenta from clashing with Off Red.
9. Night Lightning
Names: Blue orchid, Screamin’ green, Yellow, Purple pizzazz, Blue violet
Hex Codes: #2F46FA, #55FC77, #FFFE13, #FB41DA, #7E2DE8
This surreal image is one of the most striking on the list. Part of its success lies in the inclusion of unexpected details. The use of Blue Orchid, Purple Pizzazz, and Blue Violet makes sense, as many neon illustrations combine elements of blue, pink, and purple.
However, the lighting bolt in this picture includes a couple of unique touches. If you look closely, you’ll see that it also includes faint hints of Yellow and Screamin’ Green. It may seem inconsequential, but little details like this are what separate great designs from good ones.
10. District After Dark
Names: International klein blue, Fuchsia, Fluorescent cyan, Aureolin, Imperial red
Hex Codes: #3227A7, #FC15EF, #0AEAF1, #FDEB27, #F82032
Neon color palettes are often used to re-create fluorescent signs. But they also work nicely in images of cities after dark. The example image of a cityscape shows you how to use this diverse palette without letting your final design get too cluttered or chaotic.
Even if you only take a cursory look at the design, you can see that Fuchsia is the dominant color here. Selecting one color as a main color can help keep the design more cohesive.
Fluorescent Cyan appears to be the second most-used shade in the palette. Having two dominant colors like this can help you make sure your final design doesn’t just look like a random scattering of super-bright shades. Once you have your two main colors, you can add touches of the other neons in the palette to round out the look.
11. Purple Palm
Names: Fuchsia, Phlox, French violet, Chrysler blue, Russian violet
Hex Codes: #FE02FF, #DF21FF, #8407CE, #5F03BD, #2F0049
If you’ve already sought out neon designs for inspiration, you may have noticed that a significant portion of them include vivid shades of magenta, pink, and purple. It’s a palette that is certainly effective, but it’s common enough that it can be hard to make a design that stands out.
The above design manages to set itself apart from many pieces with the same color scheme. There’s a lot going on, but it’s exceptionally well-balanced. Dark Russian Violet balances out the super-bright lightning bolts while keeping the color scheme grounded, and the blend of colors in the background adds interest without detracting from the overall effect.
12. Glacier Lake
Names: Violet blue, Brilliant rose, Aquamarine, Amethyst, Purpureus
Hex Codes: #463F9E, #F354A9, #84F5D5, #9B62E5, #9D2EB0
This neon palette adds an interesting twist to a common type of picture. And the more you look, the more you notice subtle details that make the example image truly unique.
Pink and green are complementary shades, so right away, the juxtaposition of Brilliant Rose and Aquamarine stands out. The 1980s-style streaked horizon adds some character, and the reflection of Amethyst and Brilliant Rose on the surface of the water is a nice touch. And at the bottom of the image, the Purpureus/Aquamarine shading of the ferns adds some striking contrast, too.
13. Deep House
Names: Hot magenta, Maize, Screamin’ green, Aqua, Medium blue
Hex Codes: #FC10D8, #F2E85C, #78FE8B, #28FDFE, #0406D6
Here’s another neon color palette that almost captures the whole range of the rainbow. It’s one of the brightest palettes on the list, but it also has a great balance of warm and cool that stops it from becoming unpleasantly intense.
With a palette like this, the arrangement of colors within the design is important. Take a look at the above palette as-is. The three brightest shades — Maize, Screamin’ Green, and Aqua — are right next to one another. Looking at all three at once can be enough to hurt your eyes!
But the example design is able to use all three without letting the brightness get overwhelming. As you can see, the three super-bright colors are broken up by Medium Blue and Hot Magenta.
Names: Blue orchid, Cyan (rgb), Vibrant green, Aureolin, Red (cmyk)
Hex Codes: #024AFC, #01FFFF, #01E32E, #F3F400, #E7041A
Here’s another palette that successfully counterbalances super-bright neons with deeper (but still lively) shades. If you choose to use this group of colors, you can layer RGB Cyan on Blue Orchid for a blue-on-blue look or just use Blue Orchid elsewhere to help ground the design.
You also have an opportunity to bring in the power of complementary colors. There is no shade of orange in the palette, but the example image uses Aureolin and CMYK Red in such a way that they produce an orangish glow. Blue and orange are complementary, so if you include this orange shade in a design with two shades of blue, you’ll have a dynamic and exciting color palette.
15. Laser Space
Names: Zaffre, Electric violet, Fuchsia, Vivid sky blue, Orange (crayola)
Hex Codes: #221EB8, #861CFF, #EC14EE, #1ECDE6, #FB7443
Designs with spatial effects can be captivating, and doubly so when they incorporate electric neon shades. This palette combines warm and cool shades, but the way they’re used makes a major difference in the design itself.
Specifically, when you look closely, you’ll see that the artist placed a definite emphasis on cooler shades — most of the laser-like streaks of light are either Electric Violet or Vivid Sky Blue.
Take a second and imagine this design without any of the Fuchsia or Crayola Orange lights. It would still be an intriguing and energetic design, but the warm colors add a truly transformative touch. Depending on the type of project you’re working on, this might be a viable option. When you emphasize primarily cool colors or primarily warm colors, you create a cohesive, balanced design.
16. Stage Lights
Names: Egyptian blue, Celtic blue, Fandango, Cinnabar, Poppy
Hex Codes: #1B37AA, #2572D9, #A83A96, #F0533C, #DB3836
Thus far, the palettes on our list have been mostly (if not almost entirely) neon. But neon shades are so powerful that they also work beautifully as accents. The example design works because it centers around the complementary relationship between blue and orange. Much of the background is deep, rich Egyptian Blue. The off-center, orangish glow is mostly Cinnabar with hints of Poppy and Fandango.
The off-centeredness of this design is stunning as-is. But it also is especially advantageous if you’re creating a text-based ad. The deep blue space on the left is perfect for adding bold, noticeable text.
17. Radium Bloom
Names: Spring green, Lime green, Night, Palatinate blue, Fluorescent cyan
Hex Codes: #00F891, #00D61C, #021307, #0346F4, #05E9E7
Not all neon designs have to include a rainbow-like range of colors. Some, like this one, primarily feature a single shade. The vivid, shadowy green petals of the flowers in the example aren’t easy to forget!
The example image also shows you that you can still use shading on neon colors. It often creates a realistic, blacklight-like effect. And although Spring Green and Lime Green are stars of the show here, the little burst of Palatinate Blue and Fluorescent Cyan adds just enough visual interest.
18. Checkerboard Swirl
Names: Electric purple, Shocking pink, Chartreuse, Fluorescent cyan, Electric indigo
Hex Codes: #C401DB, #FE14BB, #8AFF00, #10FEE2, #6715FF
Not all neon designs can be described as “psychedelic.” This one certainly can be! The irregular checkerboard pattern is striking enough, but once you add the swirling effect, you get a design that is truly memorable.
In many cases, the key to success with a design like this one is the even distribution of color. But neon is off-the-wall enough that you don’t have to make sure the color is completely even throughout.
Take a closer look at the checkered pattern of the example image —some portions are just black and Electric Indigo, some are Shocking Pink and Chartreuse, and others seem to include every color of the rainbow. The design is a standout largely because of its unpredictability.
19. Window Signs
Names: Persian rose, School bus yellow, Erin, Fluorescent cyan, Electric purple
Hex Codes: #FF00A0, #FFDD00, #24FD36, #64F7F3, #C100FC
Neon lights are a fixture at bars and clubs across the world. And if you’re looking to create a nightlife-inspired design, selecting a few super-bright shades and placing them against black is a great way to do it.
With this type of design, specialty fonts and easily-recognizable symbols are keys to success. Most design platforms have at least one font that looks a lot like the one in the example image. When you choose a neon shade and make it look like it’s emitting light, you can create a realistic image that makes your audience feel like they’re on a fun night out.
20. Rock and Roll
Names: Chrysler blue, Aqua, Erin, Yellow, Red (cmyk)
Hex Codes: #0109EA, #4EFFFD, #27F330, #FEF813, #FC0029
Loud, splashy designs with every color of the neon rainbow certainly make a statement. But maximalist designs like these aren’t the only way to captivate an audience. As you can see in the example image, fine neon lines on a jet-black background work beautifully as well.
For a super-vivid palette like this one, designs with a lot of black are ideal. Dark neutrals like black keep the colors from overwhelming your audience. And if you choose to create a line-based design like the one pictured, you also can blend the colors into one another to create a striking gradient effect.
21. Player 1
Names: Electric indigo, Blue (crayola), Electric blue, Electric purple, Shocking pink
Hex Codes: #682DFA, #0378FA, #01E2FC, #C221EB, #FE08B4
This color palette is a great example of the pink-purple-blue gradient that you often see in neon color schemes. But because it includes three different shades of blue and indigo, it offers a great opportunity for nuance that few palettes do.
With this palette, you also have an opportunity to make your design skew warmer or cooler depending on the color balance you choose. For a design that looks warmer overall, add more Shocking Pink. If you want a cooler, calmer feel, go with more Crayola Blue and Electric Indigo.
Names: Federal blue, Steel pink, Turquoise, Canary, Off red (rgb)
Hex Codes: #00005A, #BF2ED5, #00E0DD, #FEE600, #FE0000
This fun, whimsical color palette is ideal if you’re looking for bright colors but want to steer clear of anything too fluorescent. And thanks to complementary Steel Pink and Canary, this grouping manages to really pop without looking super-electric. As you can see in the example image, it’s a great choice for cartoon-style designs.
That doesn’t mean that any design you create has to look completely flat. As the example shows you, a little bit of highlights and shading can go a long way!
Names: Veronica, Hollywood cerise, Canary, Robin egg blue, Palatinate blue
Hex Codes: #B700CC, #F600AF, #FFEB01, #42C3D0, #513AEE
If you were in school around the time that Lisa Frank’s art was at peak popularity, you might find that the example image reminds you a bit of her designs. Although the undulating lines throughout the design are fairly simple, the careful use of color makes the finished product look dazzlingly complex.
If you want to create a design somewhat similar to this one, one thing is important to remember: don’t be afraid to blend the colors! As you can see, the shades of the example blend seamlessly into one another. There’s some overlap as well — if you look closely, you can see that the example image includes a shade of green that isn’t actually in the palette.
24. Glowing Smoke
Names: Hollywood cerise, Aureolin, Neon green, Electric blue, Steel pink
Hex Codes: #EE1B9C, #F7E913, #18F518, #71F6FB, #CF4ADD
Neon’s natural glow makes it a great choice for smoky, ethereal designs like this one. But this design also has another feature that may inspire you. Its color palette is especially bright — so much so that it can be uncomfortable to look at for too long! So instead of making the dog out of only neon colors, the artist opted to weave the neon shades into the dog’s existing brown and white coat.
This technique preserves some of the realism of the drawing. It also tones down the mega-bright colors enough that viewers can appreciate the artistry of the drawing — not just the colors!
Names: Celeste, Aqua, Fuchsia, Ultramarine, Dark purple
Hex Codes: #B6FFFE, #48FDFE, #F20BF8, #150390, #1E0C2D
This palette includes several colors, but the real stars of the show are Aqua and Fuchsia. These bright, vivid, almost complementary shades nearly jump out of the screen!
But these two colors aren’t the only reason the example image is so successful. By surrounding the bright butterfly with the deeper shades of Celeste, Ultramarine, and Dark Purple, the artist creates a remarkable, vignette-like effect.
26. West Palm
Names: Electric green, Canary, Dark purple, Electric blue, Hollywood cerise
Hex Codes: #0FFE11, #FFEB0A, #1C0B1D, #0FE6FF, #FD0EAE
As this bright image illustrates, neon designs don’t have to be complex to be intriguing. Sometimes, all it takes to be memorable is a burst of bright, unexpected color.
The example design is an interesting one because it combines a symmetrical design with asymmetrical coloring. The Electric Green and Canary of the palm tree on the left are fairly close to the color of an actual palm tree.
The fanciful coloring of the tree on the right is a surprise, but since Electric Green and Hollywood Cerise are essentially complementary, the design has an unexpected dynamism that’s sure to stick with your audience.
27. 80s Sunset
Names: Fuchsia, Phlox, Electric purple, Veronica, Electric indigo
Hex Codes: #FA43F9, #D52DE5, #B74FFB, #8D40FF, #5B33FE
The 1980s was an interesting time for design. Dreamscape-like color schemes like the one above were common, and the best images transported audiences to whole new worlds. The streaked sun and glowing horizon of this design make it look like somewhere most people would want to go!
If you want to create a project with a tight color scheme, the closely-related colors of this palette should work well. If you want to add a little more variety, you might consider adding a faintly yellowish or orangish glow like that of the sun in the picture.
28. Back to the 90s
Names: Deep pink, Fuchsia, School bus yellow, Lawn green, Dodger blue
Hex Codes: #F91095, #FF06FA, #F9DC05, #92F830, #0499FF
This bright palette is ideal for fun, laid-back designs. Cheerful Deep Pink and Fuchsia really pop against the School Bus Yellow backdrop in the example, but this grouping is versatile enough that you could also use Dodge Blue or Lawn Green for a background color.
The example image also shows you a way to make sure this vivid bouquet of hues keeps your design in balance. Instead of using each shade equally, choose a main background color (School Bus Yellow in the example) and a main accent color (Deep Pink). From there, you can add touches of the other shades as accents.
29. Autumn in Technicolor
Names: Vermilion, Orange (crayola), Malachite, Steel pink, Dark violet
Hex Codes: #FD3D3C, #FB712A, #03E669, #E700DD, #9201CB
This palette isn’t necessarily autumnal, but it’s the closest thing to a fall color scheme on the list. Vermilion and Crayola Orange impart a warm, autumn-like glow. But instead of seeing yellow as you would with more traditional fall-themed palettes, you get super-bright Malachite and Steel Pink. Dark Purple is helpful for keeping things grounded, and it works a lot like brown would in a more typical fall color scheme.
Names: Dark orange (web), Lemon lime, Spring bud, Electric blue, Shocking pink
Hex Codes: #FF8800, #EFFE01, #9BFE01, #00ECFF, #FF00C2
If you love vintage-style arcade games, this is a great color palette to choose. These practically fluorescent shades look best against a jet-black background just like that of an old Pac-Man game.
It’s also a nice palette to choose if you’re looking for a rainbow-inspired color scheme. Shocking Pink is close to red, and then you have Web Dark Orange, Lemon Lime, Spring Bud, and Electric Blue. If you want to really round it out, you can add a shade of purple as well.
Using Neon Colors in Your Design
Neon colors as we know them today first appeared in 1910, when the French engineer Georges Claude electrified a glass tube filled with neon gas. The tube gave off an intense red-orange glow, and neon lighting was born.
Because neon colors most often appear in light, they aren’t seen on most color wheels. They’re difficult to produce in print, and you typically need specialized pigment to do so.
But since neon colors reflect enough light to have a natural “glow,” they work beautifully in the world of digital design. If you’re thinking of using some of the color palettes above in your next design, here are some tips to help you get started.
Be Mindful of Color Associations
Every designer needs a strong basic knowledge of color theory. However, you should keep in mind that neon shades turn traditional color psychology on its head. Normally, blue is associated with calm and tranquility. Green is a peaceful shade with strong connections to the natural world.
When you look at a neon blue like fluorescent cyan, do you feel calm? Probably not. Neon shades don’t occur in nature without human intervention, so you can’t expect them to have the same psychological effects as their natural counterparts.
That’s not to say that you should throw your knowledge of color theory out the window. For instance, striking a balance between warm and cool colors or using complementary shades can still help you create a better design.
Strike a Balance
For some designs, a neon-on-neon palette is ideal. But in many cases, this type of color scheme can be overwhelming. Most of the time, neon shades look best when they’re counterbalanced by neutrals or more muted primary and secondary colors.
For instance, many of the example designs on the list involve placing neon colors over a backdrop of black. Black is a shade that really makes neons pop, but it also helps ensure the design isn’t too harsh on your audience’s eyes.
If you like the idea of a darker background but want to tone down the contrast a bit, you can always choose a background that’s just a darker version of one of the neons. For example, if you have a design with a lot of neon blue, you may find that it works well with a navy blue background.
Less Is More
In many cases, you only need a pop of neon to totally transform a design. A little bit of these bright colors can take an art piece to the next level, but too much neon may make a piece seem chaotic, disjointed, and generally unappealing.
That isn’t to say that you should shy away from bold, colorful neon pieces. But it does mean you should make sure each color in your palette is used carefully and intentionally.
Make Something Worth Remembering With Neon Palettes
Nothing communicates confidence quite like neon. And when you choose to add these vivid, high-energy shades to a design, you’re communicating to your audience that your image is worthy of their attention. With careful planning and an eye for balance, you can let neon help you make your best designs yet.