How To Choose Brand Colors

how to choose brand colors

Take a look at the word BLUE. What scene comes to mind when you see the word? Do you visualize a beach, the sky, the subtle waves in a swimming pool? How does the word make your body feel? Calm, peaceful, content? Now take a look at the word RED. What emotions or experiences do you associate with it? Love, anger, the red and white box of a wonderful array of Chic-fil-a nuggets? What emotional responses do you feel or memories do you think of?

“If one says ‘red’ – the name of color – and there are fifty people listening, it can be expected that there will be fifty reds in their minds. And one can be sure that all these reds will be very different.” – Josef Albers

The point of this exercise is to realize that colors and emotions have a relationship with one another. Take a look at this pastel color palette.

This particular combination of colors gives off a soft feminine feeling. You may even associate them to the Easter holiday. Now take a look at the logos below. These are three big name fast food companies all with the same color selection. Why?

If we break down each color we can get an idea of why they choose the palette they did.

  • Red positively invokes passion, desire, excitement, energy and dominance.
  • White positively invokes purity, cleanliness and freshness.
  • Yellow positively invokes energy, happiness, comfort and spontaneity.

It’s no secret that major corporations use psychology in their favor as we tend to make purchases based on our feelings. Color psychology is no different as 93% of consumers base purchase decisions on visual perception. By setting a color tone they subconsciously invoke our emotions; aligning our moods, memories and experiences to their brand. It’s the reason why we align a red sports car to the feeling of success.

Steps To Finding Your Brand Color

You understand why your brand colors are important. Now it’s time to take this information and apply it to creating your own brand image. The best way to do this is to

  1. Figure out what type of atmosphere you want to create for your brand. Do you want classy, elegant, fun, luxurious, earthy? This will help in determining what main color variations you should focus on.
  2. Think about how you want your visitors to feel. For example: energetic, calm, sociable.
  3. Use the chart below to assist you and do not worry about tones or hues at this stage. Rule of thumb is to choose at least three colors that will serve as your base, accent and a neutral color. Your base color is the dominant color that best displays your brand personality. The accent is the second most used color, should complement the base and represent your brands personality. Neutral colors should not draw too much attention.
  4. Visit Canva’s Color Explorer and type in your base color. For this example we’ll use red. You’ll be taken to this page below, where you’ll be able to learn about the color red and browse different palette combinations.

Your goal would be to find a palette that includes your three main colors. There will be different shades and hues and which palette you choose will depend on the atmosphere and personality you want to portray. For example: pastels tend to be calming while neons tend to be energizing and youthful. Read this article on colors and emotions to help you.

You can also search palettes by theme.

I typed in elegant and was given results
One of the results of my theme search

And that’s it! You have your brand colors! Now it’s time to apply them to your logo, website, T-shirts and wherever else you display brand.

[Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you choose to make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission. This is at no cost to you and I am not paid to list these companies. I use each product that I recommend or post in my content and have come to the conclusion that these are high-quality tools that will benefit you. For more information, please read my disclosure notice.]

3 thoughts on “How To Choose Brand Colors”

  1. I’m so glad I came across your post. I have been working on my Branding for The Gifted wreath blog and know just how tricky it can be. so many choices and Ideas, your suggestions really helps to hone in on a color palette. Thanks for sharing.

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