Bored of holiday red, indifferent to forest green, or totally over wintery silver? Here are some chilling-fresh color palettes for you.
Perhaps you’re looking for an edgy palette for that corporate holiday card. Or, you’re in need of unusual inspiration for a seasonal marketing campaign. Whatever the case, if you’re itching to think outside the red-and-green box, these alternative winter color palettes are a good place to start.
Packed with surprising color combinations and unexpected twists on tradition, each palette is distinct, yet strongly seasonal—enough to give your December designs an edge over your competitors.
Plus, there’s something here for everyone, whether you adore the bleak beauty of winter or need a rush of dopamine brights to get you through the shorter, darker days.
Scroll down to discover ten surprising seasonal schemes, and don’t forget to pin the ones you like best.
How to Use Your Alternative Winter Palettes
These ten unique, wintery palettes are sourced from trends in interior design, fashion, and branding, as well as more unusual sources of inspiration, like retro party décor.
Each palette consists of four HEX code color swatches, which allows you to easily translate your designs to web and other online applications. You can also convert your palettes to printable CMYK swatches using design software.
Read on to discover your new favorite cold weather scheme, and open up a whole world of winter color that’s not simply limited to red and green. When you’ve found your favorite winter palette, pin your chosen image to a Pinterest board or save to your computer to refer to later.
1. Purple Beets
Deep and rich, this palette is inspired by the earthy colors of winter root vegetables and the cool purple tones of winter sunlight.
2. Orange Frosting
The high contrast in this scheme makes it particularly effective for logo design and illustration, allowing text to stand out on marketing and social media images.
3. Bordeaux Velvet
4. Mustard Seed
Warm up your designs with this subtly retro mustard-yellow scheme. While Pantone’s Colors of the Year 2021—Illuminating and Ultimate Gray—have a distinctly urban flavor, this variation gives the pairing of yellow and gray a more folky feel.
Use this scheme across ads and social posts to give viewers an immediate sense of hygge-inspired coziness.
5. Days of Rust
6. Winter Blues
This palette offers a festive, ’70s-infused alternative to classic red-and-gold schemes. Antique gold and russet red lend warmth to cooler tones of denim blue and navy, making for a balanced palette that feels cocooning and sophisticated.
This is a beautiful, grown-up scheme for winter interiors or seasonal product design.
7. Pink Party
Looking for an alternative scheme for a holiday event or party-themed social media images? This palette contrasts conservative cold-season colors of dark blue and snow white with a party-worthy pop of neon pink.
Gray with a slight dose of warming pink rounds out the palette, making it versatile and chic.
8. December Dopamine
We could all do with more color in our lives over the winter months, and with rainbow brights trending on the spring 2022 runways at Tom Ford and Moschino, it’s clear that dopamine dressing is back in fashion.
If you’re on the hunt for a festive scheme to brighten up the bleak winter days, this ultra-bright, cheerful scheme will have you wishing for a retro-style, multicolored Christmas tree in no time.
9. Cabin in the Woods
A gothic winter palette that gives a nod to Scandi noir and horror, this palette presents the perfect color choice for those seeking the ultimate anti-festive winter palette. Crimson, blood red, and inky black lend a vampiric edge to pure snow white.
10. Onyx Forest
If you’re looking for a palette that feels truly wintery and bypasses festivity, this deeply stylish scheme will give websites and app designs sophisticated depth without introducing color.
Ready to embrace the winter mood? Can’t wait for the holidays to begin? Here’s everything you need to make your winter designs come to life:
- 10 FREE Fall Color Palettes With a Neon Twist
- 8 Free Seamless Vector Patterns to Spread Holiday Cheer
- Modern Holiday Background Images: Festive Patterns, Textures, and More
- The Top 25 Free Fonts for Christmas and the Holidays
- 5 Tips on Preparing Your Holiday Marketing Campaigns
Cover image via Pavel_Klimenko.