How to Choose Colors for Your Brand So You Don't Have to Change Them Constantly
Understanding colors is like learning magic spells at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (Or Illvermorny, if you prefer).
Every color has specific properties that can be used to generate a physical and mental response in people. Think of it as part of your Charms lessons.
Or if you’re not a Potterhead, think of it as aromatherapy.
But instead of “using essential oils for improving psychological or physical well-being”, you’ll use colors to prompt an emotional reaction in your readers and customers.
In brand design, adding color to your logo is usually the moment when the brand magic happens. Everything comes together and all of a sudden you get from simply “having a few black graphics on a white screen” to a soul-stirring visual fairy tale.
The magical properties of colors
It is impossible to include all colors in this article, so I’ll give you the more commonly used ones. Blue, green, yellow, orange, red, pink, purple, black, gold, and silver - these are the master colors as I call them and here’s a little bit more about each of them
Clear, focused, calm, logical, cool, trustworthy, intelligent, serene.
In its many hues, blue is a very popular color. Darker blues are used for communicating trustworthiness and strength – mainly by businesses handling finances or information. Lighter shades are serene and dreamy and are ideal for health and beauty brands.
Harmonious, abundant, calming, balanced, organic, fresh, earthy, restorative.
With its lushness, green communicates abundance and freshness. It is the go-to color of many organic and sustainable businesses. The more olive and subdued hues are great for wedding stationery.
Happy, optimistic, energetic, confident, positive, shiny.
From the palest shade to the richest mustard hue, yellow is a happy-go-lucky color for brands in need of a bright and joyful mood. This color is rather difficult to work with, especially on screen, so it’s better used as an additional highlight color.
Creative, passionate, happy, playful, fiery, comforting, friendly.
Orange isn’t the easiest color to work with, but the soft peach hues are simply irresistible. Play with tangerine and pumpkin hues for a tasty, optimistic and warming effect.
Strong, warm, energetic, motivated, passionate, hot, loving, intense.
If you don’t want to be missed, red is a great color to use. It draws the attention and it’s great for instant impact with a pinch of drama. It is a bold and passionate color. Lighter hues are great for food brands – darker ones for businesses with long traditions.
Intuitive, romantic, beauty, girly, intimate, soft, cute, tranquil.
Combined with black and gold, gentle nudes are often seen on fashion blogs. Bold neon pink is a great signature color and it can be easily put together with other strong colors to make for an amazing brand color palette for the bold girl bosses.
Mystical, vibrant, yogic, spiritual, royal, creative, powerful, serene.
Purple is a color associated with royalty and the church, but in its lighter shades this color is often used for yoga or meditation brands. Dark eggplant hues are great for a luxury products, where black would be too heavy.
Powerful, luxurious, sophisticated, dramatic, mysterious, elegant.
Black might seem as a safe choice for a color palette, but it’s not. This color is hard to combine in a harmonious way. It is often used with gold or neon colors for luxury and fashion brands.
Calming, wealthy, prestigious, dignified, responsible, wise.
Silver can be beautifully combined with dark colors. It doesn’t print well, so it’s best used as an accent. Silver calligraphy ink on dark paper is often used for wedding invitations.
Warm, successful, rich, wealthy, loving, powerful, luxurious, feminine.
Just like silver, gold is best used for accents here and there. It works well with black for luxury brands. Combined with peachy pink, or nudes it’ll give an extra feminine touch to any color palette.
How to choose the best colors for you?
Here’s the thing, knowing about colors won’t help you pick them. And I’m not even going to talk about different kinds of color palettes here — it’ll only add more chaos and confusion to your branding process and you don’t need that, I’m sure of it.
The information above is interesting to use as reference. However, there’s a much easier way to pick colors than going through a list with qualities.
First, here’s the most important thing to remember about your brand colors - they’ll be used on your website so they must be colors you can work with, not just colors you like. And the only way to pick colors and not change them constantly is to keep them practical, not just pretty.
I created a simple step-by-step formula to use when choosing website colors:
Open your website and choose your colors directly there. This way you’ll be able to see right away if a color works for you or not.
Have your moodboard, or your brand style keywords ready and see if the colors match those. If you don’t have a moodboard or keywords, grab the free ebook and discover your brand style first.
Pick one dark color for your text.
Pick one neutral pale color for all your backgrounds that aren’t white.
Pick your main accent color for your links.
Create a paler version of your main accent color for headlines and buttons.
Repeat the last step and give a clear job to each color you choose.
and if You’re absolutely out of your depth here…
… here are three things that will help you:
One last thing
Please for the love of all the vegan blueberry cheesecakes in the world, don’t spend days on choosing your colors. It’s important, yes, and it’s not a good idea to change your colors weekly, but this is NOT the most important thing when starting a business or a blog.
If nothing else stops you from changing your colors constantly think about this: You have limited time to work on your business and the things that will make positive changes in your life and the life of your audience aren’t the perfect colors. Create valuable content, connect with your people and find a way to make money and a difference.
Once you choose your colors commit to them, use them consistently and tweak them slightly if you must. You can change your colors when you do your next redesign, or when you hire a designer. Right now, do the best you can as quickly as possible and move on to the more important tasks of starting and running a profitable business.
How about you?
How did you choose your colors? Did you find it hard and do you think my formula could work for you? Let me know in the comments below.