Color Picker & Swatches

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CSS grid landing page tutorial (36min)

Lesson info

Lesson info

Choosing colors for your fonts, backgrounds, borders, etc. is one of the most common tasks you'll perform when designing a website. Webflow's color picker has three primary uses, which we'll walk through in this video:

  1. Picking a color
  2. ‍Setting opacity
  3. ‍Creating and using swatches

We'll also talk a bit about Webflow's global swatches, which let you easily reuse and update colors across your websites.

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Want to dig into the project featured in this video and see how everything is put together? We've included the full project we used when making this lesson, and we've shared the link right under this very paragraph.

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The Webflow Color Picker has three primary functions: color, opacity, and swatches.

And color’s pretty straightforward. You can use the vertical slider on the left to select a hue, and of course you can use the color plane on the right…to adjust saturation along the X-axis, and lightness along the Y-axis. If you’re styling something that you can see on the page, color changes will update in real-time.

And by default, colors are represented in hex, so you can manually type a value here or paste it in this field.

The Color Picker also supports HTML color names, so if you’re a fan of LightSalmon or PapayaWhip, we have you covered there.

To the right of this field, we have the eyedropper tool, which a great way to pull a precise color from anywhere on the canvas, so if you want to pull a color from an image, or an existing class on the page, you can do that right here.

That’s color.

Opacity can be adjusted in three different ways: (1) you can use the vertical slider on the right, (2) you can manually enter the alpha value using RGBA, or (3) you can type in the percentage to the right. When you take any opaque color and start to make it transparent, values automatically convert to RGBA. If you go back to fully opaque? It’ll consolidate and display your color using hex.

That’s opacity.

Finally, let’s talk about swatches. And we’ll cover two types of swatches here: static swatches, and global swatches.

Static swatches are like paint colors. And just as you could keep your different colors on a painter’s palette, swatches are kept in the Color Picker.

There are many ways to use swatches, but for right now, we’ll apply this swatch to the background of this button, we’ll use it again on this Sign Up button, and finally we’ll apply the color to the text on this heading.

Now just like paint in real life, if you go back to change your paint color, the places you’ve used that color aren’t going to change. They’ll stay the same. That’s the "static" part of static swatches.

And sometimes that’s what we want. We want to use a swatch as a starting point—as a reference—and we want to be able to make changes to the color on a class-by-class basis.

Any time we want to create a swatch, we can open the Color Picker, choose our color value, or even opacity, and click to Create Swatch. We can use the suggested name, or we can enter a custom name.

And after saving, we can apply that swatch to as many different elements as we’d like, anywhere on the page, or throughout our project.

That’s a Static swatch.

And if Static swatches are like paint, global swatches are like magic paint. By Odeon. If you change the color even after you’ve used it on a bunch of different things, the color will update on all of them. That’s the magic part. And this is huge, because it lets you make a color edit on one instance and it can affect every class that uses that global swatch. Really great for ensuring color consistency throughout your project.

And there are two ways to create a global swatch: (1) just like a standard swatch, we can find our perfect color, go to create that swatch, and check the Global option before saving.

Now that it’s saved, we can apply it — we can apply this global swatch to our different classes. As many as we want throughout our project.

When we go in to edit our global swatch, every use of that color changes! That’s the magic.

The second way — the second option we have for creating a global swatch — is to convert from an existing swatch: a Static swatch. To do that, we select the Static swatch, go to edit that swatch, and check the Global option before pressing Save. That Static swatch is now converted to a fully-functional global swatch.

Now. Keep in mind. If we’ve applied that static swatch elsewhere, if it was applied to other elements, those won’t get affected when you convert that static swatch to a global swatch. You’ll have to go through and apply the global swatch to each element you want to affect.

So. We can select our perfect color or type values in, we can set our opacity, and of course, we can create swatches for any color we might want to reference or reuse throughout our project. And that’s the Color Picker.