How To Pick Colors For Your Brand

Colour is one of the foundations of branding because it helps with recognizability, identity and memorability. Businesses and their websites must incorporate colour in a way that supports the brand and strengthens online interaction.

More than anything else colour is one of the most distinctive and easily recognisable elements for a business’ brand or website. Playing around with different colour combinations and variations is not only fun, it’s also a part of the branding process that you should spend extra time on. Whether you realise it or not, the colours you will use will have a massive effect on how people perceive your brand.

A company’s chosen colour palette can either attract or repel clients, depending on how it is used in their branding and on their website. Right off the bat visitors to your website will decide whether or not they perceive that your business and brand has used its colour’s appropriately, and whether or not it fits with what is being sold or promoted. When used correctly colour gets you to feel a certain vibe, take a particular action, points the audience to a set place on the website, and even get into a desired emotional state.

“People make up their minds within 90 seconds of their initial interactions with products. About 62‐90% of the assessment is based on colours alone. So, prudent use of colours can contribute not only to differentiate products from competitors but also to influencing moods and feelings.” — Satyendra Singh, (2006) “Impact of colour on marketing”, Management Decision, Vol. 44 Issue: 6

What is Colour Harmony?

Colour Harmony is the arrangement of colours that engages the eye in creating a pleasing and balanced visual experience. You need Colour Harmony for your palette to be effective. To achieve it you need the correct formulas, so let’s go over three basic formulas that you can use while creating your palette.

Analogous – Based on two or more colours that sit side-by-side on the colour wheel. These colours match well together and create a comfortable palette. Be careful to have enough contrast between the shades of your palette or your design will start to blur together and you’ll be left with no hierarchy.

Monochromatic – This harmony focuses on using varying tints, tones and shades of the same colour family. It’s typically the easiest and safest to use. You can very rarely go wrong when implementing this colour scheme.

Complementary – To be complementary means you have two or more colours opposite of each other on the colour wheel. This colour scheme is the middle ground between monochromatic and analogous. It gives you more visual variety and isn’t as hard to implement.

Which colours represent what?

Colours, in general, have common personality expectations attached to them. As you’ll see in the graphic below, companies are able to align themselves with colours because they represent certain personality traits that match those of the company.

What tool can I use to find colour harmony?

There are quite a few colour picker tools out there and you’ll find a list at the bottom of this article. Having said that, there is one that sticks out as a go-to tool for me. It’s called Adobe Color CC. http://kuler.adobe.com

You can simply pick your desired colour harmony formula (or what Adobe calls Colour Rule) and play around with the colour wheel until you get to your desired palette. Super simple to pick up and super quick!

Final tips

Consistency is the key for building an effective brand. Gradients are possible through CSS, so don’t be restricted to flat colours if you’re worried about the various colour applications of your brand online.

Consider pure colours vs tones. Pure colour is considered more bright, youthful and energetic. Add white to create a tint – lighter, more peaceful and feminine. Add black to create a shade – darker, mysterious, moody, more masculine.

Road-test your colour choice on your target market, not your friends and family. Your designer can suggest what they think works best to represent your brand story and values, but feedback from your customer base will ultimately tell you if you’re connecting with your market.

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