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Before your potential customer can read copy or even see your logo clearly, the color will stand out to catch their attention. The right color palette is a key piece in your brand’s overall aesthetic, and when done right it can help you to create a strong brand image while attracting more of your ideal customers.
I love creating color palettes for my clients, so in today’s video (part 2 of my #MoreThanALogo series) I’m breaking down everything you need to know about the topic. After watching the video & reading through this post you’ll be able to skillfully craft the perfect color palette for your own business or brand.
Make sure you’ve seen the first video in this series before you watch this one!
You can watch the video here or head over to my channel to view it. & below I’ve broken down everything I talk about in the video plus some extra info that I wasn’t able to cover!
Whew! That was a ton of info! I hope you’re excited about putting together your own color palette that’s perfectly aligned to help your brand grow & grow. If you missed anything or want to reference the info I talked about, it’s all below for you.
Okay, let’s talk about color! Before you start choosing colors for your brand, it’s important to understand some basic color theory.
Complementary | Two colors that are opposite from each other on the color wheel ie. blue & orange or yellow & purple. This combo is super vibrant & keeps the viewers eye moving, because of the contrast. This palette is great for brands that want something bright or eye catching.
Analogous | Colors that are next to each other on the color wheel ie. red, pink & orange. For any color “family” like this palette, the result will be much more muted, harmonious, & blended feeling. Great if your brand is more friendly, inviting, or cozy feeling.
Triadic | Like you might guess, this one involves a triangle. Triadic palettes consist of three main colors that are equally spaced apart of the color wheel, forming a triangle. Primary colors (blue, red and yellow) are a triadic palette. These are often super bright and fun, with a lot of visual interest because of the variety of colors. Often, it’s a good idea to soften or mute one or two of the colors so the 3 aren’t competing as much.
Red | A dynamic & passionate color. Symbolizes a strong feeling, whether it’s love or anger. Red is often the most attention grabbing color. It also increases appetite & heart rate, so it’s widely used in industries like fast food.
Orange | A combo of red & yellow, so orange is a very active color. It immediately makes viewers react & has a sense of excitement and happiness from the yellow. It’s often thought to feel very positive, uplifting and rejuvenating.
Yellow | The color of happiness! It’s the most visible to the human eye and often represents the shining sun, laughter and creativity. It’s a very energetic color which tends to increase mental awareness.
Green | With strong ties to nature, it’s no wonder that green gives feelings of stability, grounding & earthy vibes. It’s the color of money which can represent structure and freedom, but it has a very balancing and calming effect on viewers.
Blue | This color can represent serenity as well as knowledge. Blue is the color of the sea and the sky, so often it’s thought to be relaxing, bringing a deep peace and calm. But it’s also associated with intelligence. Blue is thought o provoke mental clarity and productivity.
Purple | Combining the stability of blue with the energy of red. Purple is often a color of power, luxury and royalty. It represents a deep, rich feeling of “more is more.” But it can also have a more playful, mystical, creative side depending on the shade.
Now that you have a base knowledge of colors & how they work together, it’s time to pull together your color palette! It will take you a few hours at most, and it’s a simple 4 step process.
This is such a fun step! Set up a secret board on Pinterest and start saving any and every image that you feel vibes with your brand. Keep in mind your brand’s “buzz words” which should describe your core mission & values, as well as your target audience. Save save save!
Now it’s time to start organizing. In Photoshop (or Pinterest) start culling through your images and look for repeated colors, elements, feelings. From there try and pare it down to a solid 6-9 images that really represent your brand. Keep in mind that you want every image to stay within the cohesive color story that you’re starting to see. Don’t add a photo of a red couch if all of your other inspo is black, white & blue.
Using the eyedropper in Photoshop, start pulling out colors that you like. Create a palette of 5-6 colors and just keep toggling with it until you like how it looks! Now is a great time to use Adobe Kuler if you need some extra help putting together the palette or just some inspiration for color combinations.
My favorite formula for a fool-proof color palette:
1 Primary color + 1 Secondary color + Dark Neutrals + Light Neutrals
Once you like the look of the colors you’ve found, add in some grounding neutrals & finalize the palette! Remember, neutrals can be either bright, crisp, blue-toned for a more modern, fresh feel. OR nude, soft and red-toned for an inviting, cozy feel. Do what’s best for your brand.
That’s it! You have your color palette. My top piece of advice now is to STICK WITH IT. Don’t add random colors to your blog graphics, collages, emails or promotional images. Continuously use these specific colors over and over.
With time they’ll be recognizable as part of your brand, and ultimately help you better tell your story & attract those ideal customers.