Full disclosure: picking your brand colours is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a new business. After all, your visual branding is the first thing that your target audience will come across, whether this is on your website or social media channels.
As well as communicating your business values, your colour palette should express your brand’s personality and evoke an emotional response. As such, failing to make a wise selection can have a detrimental effect on how your brand is perceived. (Not ideal.)
If your brand colours have got you in a bit of a conundrum, I totally get it. But not to worry — here’s how to choose your brand colours to make a long-lasting impact with your ideal client or customer.
What Are Your Brand Colours and Where Will They Show Up?
First things first, let’s go back to basics.
Your brand colours are the hues that you choose to make up your brand colour palette. They will feature in your logo, across your website and social media, in your offline marketing materials — everything.
In essence, your brand colour palette should be representative of what you’re trying to convey to your target audience. They get your message across in visual form.
That’s why you need to choose carefully. Not to mention, you’ll be seeing your brand colours all the time — and so will potential customers or clients. In fact, they could be around for years to come!
How to Choose Your Brand Colours: 5 Factors to Consider
Follow the below steps to determine which hues are right for your brand and business.
1. Decide What Your Brand Stands For
Firstly, if you haven’t already, decide what type of personality you want your brand to have.
Do you want it to be loud and energetic? Trustworthy and friendly? Optimistic and exciting?
Make a list of aspirational character traits that fall in line with your product offering. For example, a children’s clothing brand’s personality is likely to be youthful and fun as opposed to calm and collected — right?
If you’re struggling, think about your ideal customer or client and which colours align with them. Ask yourself:
- How old are they?
- What do they do for work?
- What do they do for fun?
- Do they have specific life goals?
- What are their problems?
Personally, I find that gaining clarity on my target audience always helps me to gain clarity on my brand.
2. Assess the Colour Wheel
Next, check out the colour wheel for inspiration when it comes to what kind of impression you want to make with your target audience.
Did you know that warm hues, like red and yellow, project an outgoing and bold message? On the other hand, cool hues (like blue and green) are more mellow and reserved.
Even so, you could always brighten a cool colour to increase its potency or decrease the tone of a warm colour to reduce its liveliness according to your brand’s character.
3. Match Your Brand Personality with Colour Psychology
Unfortunately, it’s not enough to devise a brand colour palette purely based on which hues you like personally.
Use the power of colour psychology to play on the emotions of your target audience and establish trust based on how they perceive a particular hue. Trust can then lead to further interaction.
Let’s break this down colour by colour:
- Red represents power, passion and energy, encourages appetite and gets pulses racing
- Orange represents courage, confidence and friendliness, generates a feeling of warmth and is often associated with autumn
- Yellow represents youthfulness, happiness and fun, generates a feeling of warmth and has strong, positive connotations
- Blue represents logic, loyalty and trust, has a calming effect and is considered “safe”
- Green represents growth, nature and freshness, has a relaxing effect and is very common amongst healthy brands
- Purple represents wisdom, spirituality and sophistication, can be used to showcase femininity and is considered the colour of superiority
- Pink represents passion, innovation and imagination, inspires comfort and hope and is the main colour associated with femininity
- White represents cleanliness, purity and innocence, has a modern feel and is ideal for simplicity
- Grey is timeless, modest and corporate and tends to have a minimalist feel
- Black represents security, elegance and authority, is well-suited to luxury industries and is considered a powerful hue
Oh, and if you can land on a hue that you like and creates the right emotional response with your consumer, that’s what I call a win-win!
4. Pick Multiple Hues That Represent Your Brand the Best
There’s been some debate in the past when it comes to how to choose your brand colours in terms of number. Do you pick two? Five? Ten? Unlimited?
Well, according to graphic design experts, there are typically between three and eight designated hues that create a brand colour palette. Also, there are two types of brand colours: primary and secondary.
How to Choose Your Brand Colours: Primary
Your primary brand colours are the main, consistent colours that you use in all business materials (both online and offline). They will be closely associated with your brand logo.
For instance, when I say McDonald’s, what colour do you think of? Yellow, right?
How to Choose Your Brand Colours: Secondary
Your secondary brand colours will complement your primary brand colours. They may be updated more frequently to reflect new products or services and marketing goals.
Although your secondary brand colours may be used throughout your brand’s website or product packaging, the chances are that they won’t consist of more than 50% of the overall design.
Generally speaking, you would have two or three primary brand colours and four or five secondary brand colours.
5. Make Sure the Colours Complement Each Other
Lastly, your primary and secondary brand colours need to look like they belong together to attract your ideal customer or client. If they clash, they may prevent your audience from engaging further with your brand.
It sounds harsh, but it’s true. I mean, think about it: there are so many brands on the internet nowadays, why would a consumer waste their precious time engaging with one that lacks credibility due to their below-par visuals?
According to one study, 39% of customers care about colour more than any other element of a website’s design. One way to ensure that all the hues in your brand colour palette complement each other is to stick to one colour family. Keep in mind that:
- 26% of website visitors prefer primary color schemes anyway (red, yellow, and blue)
- 21% are fans of a complementary palette (i.e. two colors directly opposite each other on the color wheel, like yellow and purple)
- 20% of website visitors like an analogous scheme (three colors next to each other on the color wheel, such as red, red-orange, and orange)
Above all, consider which hues relate to your brand personality and how you want your consumer to feel about your business.
Colour Your Way to a Booming Brand
Sure, it can be challenging learning how to choose the right colours for your brand. However, it’s important to take the time to get it right.
Ultimately, your brand colours will help your online business to stand out in a busy digital landscape and establish a connection with potential customers or clients. At the end of the day, this could be the start of a beautiful and long-lasting relationship.