Color is a key part in Graphic Design and it’s a very important element for a brand’s identity as all the graphic elements related to your company need to have a cohesive color palette to associate with your brand.
The success of a brand in a competitive market depends a lot on branding as in how much an impression it can make on potential customers. It is where brand colors come into the picture. A business must know how to choose brand colors so that people have a certain perception of what it offers. In this guide, we have shared why it is important to choose the right brand colors and how to do it. Have a look.
Take a look at the highly successful global brands. Their visual identities such as logos, business cards, websites, brochures, etc. have the same color schemes. When people and target audiences see the same color scheme across all the visuals of a business, it builds trust. It, in turn, helps in building the right perception of businesses. So, color plays a key role in the branding of global players.
So, what do you mean by brand colors?
Brand colors are the colors that represent a company. Usually, these are a couple of colors that a brand uses everywhere across all its visual identities. These are the colors responsible for enhancing brand awareness and brand recognition.
You can see brand colors in a company’s logo, website, business card design, social media channels, and all the print and digital ads. These colors are also visible in brick-and-mortar stores on product packaging, signboards, staff uniforms, etc.
Why are brand colors important?
Brand colors are a brand’s way to make the desired impression on the viewers. Since the first impression matters a lot to stand out, you must pick your brand colors carefully. Just with the use of a unique color scheme, you can easily stand out in your competitive market.
As your brand colors are the first thing people will see, they are going to build your brand identity as well. Your potential customers will then identify your business whenever they see those colors in your visuals in advertisements and other marketing materials.
Know also that colors elicit emotions. This means that your brand can effectively convey a message using the colors to your target audience. You can use colors to send the right signals to your potential customers. With the strategic use of colors, you can help customers engage with your brand.
Note also that customers respond to colors in a way that is mostly universal. So, everyone gets some meaning from a color, which is known as color psychology. This means that people can base their perceptions and behaviors, based on which colors they see in a brand’s visual.
So, if we see brand colors of global companies, we see that Coca-Cola has a red color while Cadbury has purple as its brand color. Google uses multiple colors mainly red, blue, and green as its identity colors.
Apple uses white, and McDonald’s uses yellow in those golden arches. Such global players chose their brand colors carefully after analyzing their markets, target customers, and many other factors.
Here Is How To Choose Brand Colors Effectively
01. Have A Clear Understanding Of Colors
One of the key advantages of using colors in branding is that they evoke our emotions. In fact, each color has its own potential to generate a particular set of feelings and emotions. Therefore, before setting out to picking the right branding colors, know which colors evoke which set of emotions.
Today, a research-based theory of colors is available to brand builders and marketers. They can use the color theory to identify which colors are best suited to make them brand colors to win customers’ attention and faith.
Here Is A Shortlist Of Colors And What Emotions They Are Associated With
- Red is the color linked with emotions such as love, passion, energy, excitement, and danger.
- Pink is generally associated with all things famine and romance. Its variety of hot pink is also connected with youthfulness.
- Orange generates vitality and freshness. It also evokes the feeling of creativity.
- Yellow is the color of hope and optimism. Brands apply this color to depict the playful personality of their brand.
- Green is the color to represent nature but it is also associated with wealth, prestige, and sustainability.
- Blue stands for trust and reliability, which is the reason for social media brands using this color most often.
- Purple is generally considered as the color to represent royalty and majesty. But in many cultures, it also is a color for spirituality and mystery.
- Brown is the color of the earth. Most brands in the business of organic products use brown in branding.
- White mostly stands for purity and it can depict innocence and simplicity.
- Black is usually associated with power, elegance, and sophistication.
These are the main colors while there are many other colors and their hues as well. Know their properties so that you can experiment with their hues as well to find out which of them can best represent your brand personality.
02. Know Your Brand Personality
To understand which colors and hues can evoke the desired emotions, you should first know your brand personality. That will guide you in picking the right color palette. So, find out if your brand deals in formal, informal, or playful products.
You will choose colors accordingly. Make sure that you are aware of the personality traits of your brand. Is it related to fun or serious or inspirational?
You should also know about your brand goals. Why exactly your brand is in the market and what it wishes to achieve. Pinpoint how your customers should perceive your brand.
For example, your business may be to manufacture organic products but your brand’s essence may be to celebrate goodness. In that case, the color brown might be right for your product, but to reflect the goodness and essence, you can opt for a yellow color for branding. So, know your brand personality and essence.
03. Know Your Competitors’ Brand Colors
Your brand must stand out from the many other businesses which are your competitors. When you think of how to choose brand colors, make sure that the color scheme is unique as it will be your brand’s identity.
Your competitors’ products or services are often seen online and offline and people are familiar with them. This means that people may not have a good perception of your brand if it does not appear different.
To look different, we advise you to create a mood board of your business competitors. This will help you determine a unique mood board for your brand, which will help you pick different colors.
04. Decide On Your Brand Palette
You should clearly determine your brand color palette. This means that you need to pick variants of red, yellow, and blue, which are the primary colors. These three colors are responsible for creating different colors depending on how you mix them.
Choose a color shade that suits your brand personality. This means that you should decide on the amount of black added to the color Similarly, choose the right tint, which is the white version of the shade.
You can make a color appear lighter by adding white to it. Also, pick the right color saturation or tone. This you can achieve by adding both white and black.
To adequately represent your brand in colors, you need to understand color codes. Your brand colors will be in the format of these color codes, which give a series of numbers for each of the colors you pick.
So, the color codes are CMYK and PMS, and RGB and HEX. CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key [black], and PMS represents the Pantone Matching System. RGB stands for Red, Green, Blue. HEX is for Hexadecimal Numeral System, which is used for emails, websites, and other such screens.
To pick the right brand color palette, you can take help from a color palette generator software that is available free online.
05. Get Inspiration
You should get some inspirational ideas, which is the basis for the creative use of colors. Before you start crafting your brand colors, it is important to search the Internet and look around for inspiration.
At the time you think about how to choose brand colors, ensure that you browse through the color palettes of your competitors. Find out why they chose those colors and why those colors work well. Then, know the ways to use colors in order to differentiate your brand from theirs.
Another source of inspiration is color palette generators. Such software not only generates different color combinations but also ideas to pair colors. You can also pick the right hues and shades of colors.
06. Choose A Primary Color
First, decide on a primary color. This is a single color that best represents your business in terms of its personality and values. You can take examples of Pinterest’s red color or Tiffany’s blue as a primary color.
But, try to experiment with different colors and their shades and tints. Consider the message you want to convey and the emotions your brand wishes to evoke in picking the primary color.
07. Pick Secondary Colors
After you have chosen your primary color, then pick some secondary colors. They may number two to four colors that can go well with the primary color. Know that secondary colors will complement the primary one. This means that these will appear next to the primary color or may stand independently.
So, based on your brand personality, when choosing your secondary colors, you can pick an analogous color scheme. This scheme allows you to incorporate some close variants of the primary color you chose. Therefore, if red is the primary color, then orange and yellow can be your secondary colors that belong to the same family.
When you think of how to choose your brand colors, you can also pick a monochromatic color scheme when choosing your secondary colors. Monochromatic colors are the shades and tints of your primary color. So, if you choose blue as a primary, then secondary colors will be dark blue and light blue that enhance your primary color.
How about a contrasting color scheme? These are complementary colors or vibrant hues. These secondary colors are useful in catching viewers’ attention as you can make brand colors pop up.
08. Think Of Neutral Colors
White and black are the neutral colors that you should try to add to your color scheme. Often, neutral colors are ignored as the focus is mainly on primary and secondary colors.
But, neutrals are equally important when it comes to establishing communication with the audience. Take for instance the color of your written text in black, which will be in the background. Sometimes, white and black come in gray shades.
09. Test Your Brand Colors
Once you choose your brand colors, make sure that you test them for accessibility. Find out if they are legible together clearly. Many online resources are available to test the accessibility and contrast of your brand colors. You can use software like Color Contrast Analyzer and Contrast Checker to test color contrast.
10. Keep It Simple
While pondering on how to choose brand colors, think of simplicity. While you can pick any number of brand colors, do not go overboard. You should prefer a few colors only so that your audience can get the message instantly. A majority of global brands use one to two brand colors only. Just a few brands use a rainbow of colors.
Take for example the brand colors of Facebook, Coca-Cola, and Starbucks, they all have just one core brand color with a white background.
So, these are the core points you should consider while thinking of how to choose brand colors. Make sure that you experiment a lot at the testing phase to find out a color and color combination that finally works for your brand.
After you have finalized your brand colors, you can then outsource the design of your logo and other visuals to a Graphic Designer.
When thinking of how to choose brand colors, you should pay heed to its lots of aspects. Choose a primary color and the secondary colors that support it. But make sure that whichever color you pick, evokes your target customers’ emotions. The colors should convey your brand personality and message effectively.