Better Inkscape Palettes

Inkscape is a great vector drawing tool, and perhaps my favorite opensource app. One reason being that it is much more polished than most opensource applications (I’m looking at you Gimp and OpenOffice!) But one area that is noticeably lacking is its set of default palettes. In a word, they’re horrid. Of the 18 available, all but one or two are so specialized as to be useless to 99% of users.

I decided to do something about this on my system, so I started by moving the old palettes out of the way so the wouldn’t show up in the palette menu.  On Mac, I did this by typing the following from the command line:

cd /Applications/
mkdir old
mv *.gpl old

With all that old junk out of the way, you can now google for gimp palettes (Inkscape uses the Gimp color palette format) to find custom palettes that suit your taste.  I found Colorzilla to be a good starting point.  Just download your favorite “gpl” files and place them in the ‘palettes’ directory, and then restart Inkscape.

In my installation, I currently have the Visibone2 and Pantone palettes, plus custom palettes that I made for the Best of Kuler [gpl file] and Best of ColourLovers themes [gpl file].

BTW, It’s worth pointing out one of the annoying little characteristics of Inkscape is that it insists on adding a “X” (no color) chit to these palettes, which rotates all the colors by one column from where the palette creator intended them to be.   I’ve accounted for this in my Kuler/ColourLover palettes, but expect other palettes to look a bit off.  (As a workaround, you can edit the palette files to comment out the first color – not ideal, but may be preferable depending on the palette.)


2 responses to “Better Inkscape Palettes”

  1. Spectacular advice, Mr Broofa. I’ve downloaded your “Best of” collection and I’m off to Google to get more.

    I’m just now swapping back to Inkscape from pirated Adobe Illustrator. I figured, since Inkscape works just as well (and I’ve already read the manual), I should stay legal.

  2. The one question remaining in my mind after reading your guide was, “Ok, once I install the .gpl files, how do I select a palette?”

    After I installed the new palettes, I didn’t move the old into another folder. The caveat is that whatever is in your palette folder magically appears in Inkscape’s color selector, so unless you move the old files, you’ll be hard pressed to notice your new colors.

    I found a helpful video on YouTube (basically demonstrating what you say in this post).