Discover 10 FREE color palettes that show spring’s brilliant colors from deserts, mountains, and tropical islands around the world.
Spring is the season of new beginnings and revitalization. As the ice thaws and slumbering animals emerge from their hibernation, the color palettes of spring begin to blossom. Around the world, there are significant natural events that bring their own distinctive color schemes to spring’s diverse palette, from the famous cherry blossoms of Japan to the glow of the first fireflies of the year in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Below you’ll find 10 FREE color palettes inspired by some of these awe-inspiring natural events. While many feature verdant greens and the pastels of tender spring flowers, you’ll also find some unexpected color ideas, such as sherbet-sharp neons to oceanic teals.
Read on to discover spring color schemes with a life-affirming, environmental twist, that can give designs elegant beauty for the new season.
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Each color palette below details the HEX code swatches that allow you to use your color scheme for online designs. If you want to use these palettes for creating print designs, you can easily convert these to CMYK swatches.
When you find a nature color palette you love, simply right-click and save the image to your computer, or save to a mood board to come back to later.
1. Nara Park
A short train ride from Kyoto is one of the most serene and magical places in Japan, Nara Park. Home to more than 1,200 wild sika deer, Japan’s oldest public park is also blessed with paths lined with thousands of sakura (桜 – Japanese cherry tree). As the trees burst into blossom over the last week of March and early April, fortunate visitors will be able to witness the deer serenely graze against the beautiful soft pink backdrop.
For animal species who hibernate over the winter season, such as rodents, bears and bats, spring represents the end of months of dormancy. In Yellowstone National Park, drowsy male grizzly bears emerge from their dens in April to early May, while black bears may awaken earlier, in late February.
This color palette is inspired by the mineral colors of the mountainous caves occupied by bears over winter, as well as the fresher spruce green and spring green of new growth.
Between March and April, Waved Albatross migrate to the island of Española in the southern Galápagos Islands. Albatross mate for life, and return to land in the spring to perform annual mating rituals with their chosen partner.
This color palette is inspired by the distinctive bills of this beautiful bird, which contrast in golden yellow against the gray volcanic environment and the teal blue of the surrounding Pacific Ocean.
4. Joshua Tree
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Spring is the perfect season to enjoy the otherworldly landscape of Joshua Tree National Park, with temperatures varying between 80 and 85 degrees. Cacti burst into bloom, displaying rich orange flowers, while colorful wildflowers carpet the desert floor in this rare display of color and verdancy.
This fresh spring color scheme graduates from cool to warm hues, signalling the start of Joshua Tree’s hot summer months. Celadon green makes a nod to cactus colors, while cyan blue makes the perfect sky-inspired backdrop to pale jaffa orange.
5. Mad March
The English expression ‘”mad as a March hare” derives from the frenetic activity of brown hares in the UK in spring. Male hares (bucks) “box” each other in frantic upright battles, as they compete for females (does) during the breeding season. The contrast of this aggressive display against the soft pastel colors of spring meadows certainly makes for an arresting sight.
6. Himalayan Spring
For just a month, between late March and late April, the moist and cool conditions of the Himalayan mountain range produce the most beautiful and awe-inspiring natural show. The rhododendron bloom turns mountainside forests into a sea of pinks and reds, while fallen petals blanket the ground, creating a crimson carpet underfoot.
7. Great Smoky Mountains
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In late spring each year, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park puts on an enigmatic light display like no other. Between the trees, amongst the ferns and across tumbling waterfalls spills the neon glow of millions of synchronous fireflies, named because they are one of a few species of beetle which synchronize their flashing light sequences.
8. Medina of Marrakech
A sure sign of the end of winter for the residents of Marrakech is the often precariously positioned nests built by white storks across the ancient quarter. The Medina of Marrakech is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and while the fortified architecture is the main reason behind this, it’s the avian residents that bring an unexpected and distinctive character to the area. Taking up house on the tops of minarets, rooftops and even telephone masts, these red-legged birds can be seen throughout the winter, but begin to prepare nests for hatchlings in the springtime.
9. The Azores
For marine enthusiasts, there is no better place or time to observe whales than the Azores in the springtime. Fin whales, blue whales, and sei whales pass by this mid-Atlantic archipelago on their migratory routes over April and May. It’s also possible to dive alongside colossal whale sharks in the early summer months off the island of Santa Maria, who arrive in pursuit of plankton blooms.
The Azores is an autonomous region of Portugal, and the islands are dotted with characterful colonial-era buildings and churches with tiled or painted facades. This fresh color palette is inspired by the nautical colors that characterize the islands, as well as the periwinkle blue of the archipelago’s famous spring-blooming hydrangeas.
10. Rainbow Canyon
Southern California is a fantastic place to see beautiful wildflower meadows in the springtime, with a rainbow of colors visible in valleys and canyons across the Golden State from March to May. Every 10 to 15 years, lucky visitors can view the much rarer event of the Mojave “superbloom.” Between mid-February and mid-April in these years (the last superbloom was in 2016) a carpet of “desert gold” wildflowers appear across the usually barren and hostile Death Valley, turning the landscape vibrant yellow.
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