Choosing a colour palette for your brand isn’t just about picking shades that you like – your use of colour should become synonymous with your brand, symbolising what you are all about and making you more recognisable to your audience.
Your brand colours extend beyond your website design – they should appear in your logo, social media channels, ads, and even your brick-and-mortar stores if you have them. We’ve put together some tips on how to choose the perfect colour palette for your brand.
Establish your brand identity
Your brand identity is one of the most significant factors when it comes to choosing your colour palette. The colours you choose should reflect your brand’s values and how you want to be seen by your audience.
Hopefully, you already have a good idea of what your brand identity is, but if not, identifying this should be your first step before you even think about your colour palette. Think of words that describe your business’s identity, not just words that describe your products, services or industry. Is your brand formal or laid back? High-end or accessible? Classic? Reliable? Planet-first?
Whatever descriptors you come up with will bring to mind certain colour connotations to get you started. They might not give you the full palette, but they will definitely give you a jumping-off point.
Research colour psychology and connotations
While your desired colours will have certain meanings for you, others will have different opinions, which is where colour psychology can be a useful tool when choosing your brand’s palette. Each colour has generalised connotations which, while subjective, will still give you some good ideas.
For example, some common colour connotations are:
- Red – danger, energy, excitement, passion, impulsiveness
- Pink – sentimental, romantic, youthful, bold
- Orange – freshness, vitality, bold, warm, inviting
- Yellow – positivity, playfulness, happiness
- Blue – calming, trustworthiness, refreshing, cleanliness
- Green – natural, sustainable, wealth, reliability
- Brown – honesty, natural, down-to-earth, wholesome
- Purple – royalty, mystery, spirituality, wealth, luxury
- White – purity, simplicity, innocence, elegance, minimalism
- Black – sophistication, formality, striking, elegance, luxury
- Gold – wealth, luxury, decadence
While individual colours have meaning, different colour combinations can evoke different emotions. For example, combining gold with black evokes high-end luxury and opulence, but a monochromatic theme can be minimalistic and contemporary. Pink and blue together creates a playful look reminiscent of an old sweet shop, but pink and red create a more daring, passionate look.
Decide on your primary colour
While you will have a whole colour palette eventually, it’s a good idea to start with the colour you want to be synonymous with your brand. For example, Facebook and Twitter are blue, McDonald’s has the iconic yellow ‘golden arches’ and Coca-Cola’s iconic red has endured for over a century.
While you might have a specific colour in mind, it is always a good idea to refer back to colour psychology and your brand identity. For example, hot pink or neon green might not suit a luxury lifestyle brand.
Choose some secondary colours
Your secondary colours complement your primary colour to round out your colour palette. You could opt for an analogous colour scheme, which includes close variants of your primary colour, such as red, pink, orange and purple, contrasting colour schemes such as blue and orange or red and green, or a monochromatic colour scheme which are variants of your primary colour in terms of shades and hues, such as scarlet, burgundy, and maroon.
You will also want to consider your neutral tones, even if you don’t think of them as part of your core palette. For example, if your company logo is on a green backdrop, do you want your text to be black or white? Do you want the background and negative space on your website to be white, grey or beige? Do you want your blog text to be black, charcoal, or white on a dark background? Whatever you choose, make sure it fits with the rest of your colours and is easily legible.
Test your choices across all channels
Your chosen brand colours might work well for your logo or business cards, but do they work across all the channels where your brand appears? This includes your website, social media accounts, and digital or printed ads. Mock up some designs before you commit to your chosen palette to check that it conveys the intended message wherever it appears and that everything is clean, clear and legible. Your audience will quickly lose patience if they have to squint to read your content or make out your company name.
Choosing a colour palette for your brand is a big decision for new businesses and it might be something to consider if you are going through a rebrand or changing your company’s direction. Just make sure you are choosing something that evokes the feelings you want your audience to have and the image you want your brand to project.
If you are looking to build your website, design a new logo or rebrand entirely, please get in touch to see how we can help.