So here's my dilemma. I like Google's Material Design Color Specs, and they've obviously spent a fortune researching all the hues and shades.

However, I'm dealing with a project where the end users are NEVER going to want such vibrant colors (I'd get laughed out the door if I showed up with a concept using bright pinks and violets etc.)

My question is, was their color palette based on an existing research base I could apply the same concept to but to tone down the vibrancy? My end target users are primarily going to be older gentlemen (45+) from a rural America background, and even the companies base logo uses dark navy blue hues with a dark orange/yellow as the compliments.

So beyond simply going by the basic standard of analogous and complementary color wheel matching, is there a more researched/defined method to identifying the color palette that would be received well while still utilizing their existing color schema?

Obviously google's palette works great for them, they're bright and primary variants, except the audience for this round needs it toned down and I'm looking for inspiration.

  • As always for color questions I recommend Paletton for trying out new color palletes, you can play with adding complimentary colors and different sides of the spectrum.
    – DasBeasto
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 21:13
  • the google colours go over the entire range of saturation - can't you just use the 100/200 colours?
    – icc97
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 21:24
  • @icc97 You'll notice their palette stays pretty pastel in shade even for the 900 range. I'm dealing in a place where it's more like #006, #060, #600 type base color. I think it's just going to end up taking some tinkering anyway to define a reasonable palette without getting to conflicting in hue/saturation.
    – Chris W.
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 21:31
  • 1
    If colour is such an issue - perhaps greyscale?
    – icc97
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 21:33
  • Yea I think that's more of where I'm leaning with a hefty use of white space to drown out the focal points in to heavy of hues.
    – Chris W.
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 21:34

1 Answer 1


The vibrancy of the Material Design palette is mainly based on hyper-saturation of the shades. The saturation force is strong with those.

I suggest that you detect the level of (de)saturation of the colors used in the company identity guide and apply a similar level of (de)saturation to the chosen colors from Material palette. This way you will keep the harmony of the MD palette and just lose the saturation.

  1. It can be done in Adobe Illustrator with the "Color Guide" menu (choose Muted-Vivid).

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  1. In Photoshop with the Hue/Saturation option

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  1. And in Paletton you just need to move the main color control to the bottom left corner.

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  1. Alternatively, you could use the "Recolor artwork" option in the Adobe Illustrator and simply mute your original design with the MD colors down.
  • Hahaha that's one of the obstacles I'm trying to overcome. It's a pretty good size co. yet there is no "identity guide" or really standards for that matter. Too much politics in the leadership structure for that...everybody wants to be the UX final decision maker. If I didn't love the people I'd have washed my hands of it a long time ago. Either way I like this answer, thanks!
    – Chris W.
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 22:18
  • I see. This happens more often than one would think ;-) Well, then I would take a saturation in the logo color as a saturation sample.
    – Zoe K
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 16:23

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