How to choose a color palette for your brand and avoid two common mistakes I see over and over again with clients
Color communicates. It has power. It influences the customer experience and affects how they feel about a business- whether they want to buy in or not, be loyal or ignore… Look at the successful businesses out there and notice the trends... Insurance companies and medical groups often sport blue because it inspires trust. Wellness brands opt for neutral tones and greens because they inspire peace and calm which is more conducive to creating an environment where healing can occur. Luxury brands like Mercedes and Rolex tend toward black and metals because those communicate power and prestige. McDonalds didn’t choose red and orange by accident. They did their research and they know that neurologically those colors incite hunger and desire.
Take a second to think of some successful brands you follow… what do the colors they chose communicate?
Here’s a breakdown of colors and emotions they encourage so you can narrow in on some you might consider for your own business...
Red: action, bold, confidence, passion
Orange: creativity, joy, vibrancy, enthusiasm
Yellow: optimism, vitality, happy
Blue: trust, soothing, stability, safety
Green: growth, harmony, balance
White: purity, sincere, simplicity, fresh
Black: premium, power, mystery, sexy
Metals: luxury, prestige, elite
Purple: royal, authenticity, spiritual
Grey: neutrality, timeless, impartial
Pink: feminine, delicate, subtle, nurturing
Brown: support, grounded, reliability
Here are two common mistakes I see all the time when working with clients.
First mistake to avoid is to simply pick colors because you love them or have sentimental value to you. It’s not a good enough reason to pick a color palette because they’re your go to colors for home decor or wardrobe or they were the colors of your alma mater or even because they make you feel a certain way…
because here’s the big secret… your colors aren’t for you…
They’re for your ideal client. How do you want them to feel? What emotions do you want to invoke in them?
If you have a wellness brand that caters to families, I wouldn’t recommend choosing black and metals… However, if you had a wellness brand that catered to an audience that values exclusivity and a white glove service then those colors might actually be a great option. Think about who you’re serving and how you want them to feel. Let that guide your branding decisions.
Second mistake is choosing too many colors. It's hard to decide. I get it. We collect all these color options and then we have a hard time cutting any out. But our message needs to be clear and uncomplicated. We've laid out an easy to follow formula below to help you choose the ideal palette for your brand.
How to choose the ideal color palette for your business
You might be convinced at this point that a new color palette is in order for your business… well then you’ll like what follows. Here’s a quick and easy guide for how to select the perfect colors for your brand…
Step One: the Accent
Choose an accent color. This will be your “brightest” color in the sense that whenever you’re wanting to highlight something or bring attention somewhere like to a call to action or a link to purchase your product, this color will be your go to. It should stand out. It doesn’t have to be neon colored… but it needs to be the most “attention grabbing” color in your palette.
Let’s take a jewelry business I worked with… their brand values were subtlety, simplicity and timelessness, not flashy or luxurious. So, we chose a matte gold for their accent.
(Quick Insider’s Tip: never mix matte colors with shiny or glossy ones. The colors in your palette should look like they “belong” together”)
Step Two: the Compliment
Choose a complimentary color to your accent. This color is used for statement design elements and is used more often than the accent but not as much as your neutral (the next color choice). For example, you might use this on your website as a block of color behind an image or paragraph.
For our jewelry business, we chose a mauve color.
Step Three: the Neutral
Next, choose a neutral color to balance out the accent and complimentary colors. This is used in large quantity. It typically can be used as the background color for sections on your site and when scrolling through your Insta feed, is the color most commonly seen. It is the “stage” that lets the accent and complimentary colors stand out.
We chose a dusty rose pink.
Step Four: the Dark and the Light
Last step is to choose a dark color to be used primarily for text and a light color to be used primarily as a background. It doesn’t have to be the traditional black and white. This is where very subtle creativity can make a difference.
For a brand like this jewelry business, black and white would be too strong. It would have clashed with these subtle tones. So, we chose a charcoal grey and then an off-white that had a hint of pink.
If you’re DIYing your palette for now, Pinterest is a great resource where you can check out thousands of ready made palettes where all the work has been done for you in terms of selecting killer combos. Just type in “bold color palette” or “neutral color palette” and you’ll find lots of options that are sure to satisfy your rebrand hunger.
And if you’re feeling like now is the time to invest in getting your business to the next level and handing over the job to some experts who have a serious color palette obsession, then we at Animella Agency have your back.