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How to Choose a Brand Identity Color Palette To Match Your Story

How to Choose and Create a Brand Color Palette that Fits Your Brand Story

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. i.e., if you sign up for their paid programs, I will get a commission, at no cost to you. Please rest assured that I only recommend software/ products I genuinely believe in, and trust to be good for you.

So you’re setting up your own small business, thinking about names, logos, brand colors, etc. Ooh, exciting times!

I was in that stage about 7 years ago, and I was so ready in my head to get everything done! But to be honest, in terms of color, I messed up a bit, initially.

Aah…my failure story. Keep reading below to see where I went wrong, and how I fixed it.

But first let’s see what is a brand identity color palette, and how to choose one for your business.

How to Choose and Create a Brand Color Palette that Fits Your Brand Story - Pinterest

What is a brand color palette?

A brand identity color palette is a set of colors that are specially chosen to represent a brand and one of the fundamental pillars of your brand imagery.

A brand color palette is one of the best examples of brand attributes and a tool for marketing and branding because your brand colors are used in all of your brand’s marketing materials, from website design to printed collateral.

Most brand identity color palettes include both light and dark colors, as well as a variety of shades and tints.

The goal is to create a cohesive look that represents your brand’s core essence and helps to create an instant association with the brand in the minds of your target audience.

Your brand color palette is the set of colors that is associated with your brand, and those that you should always stick to, in every brand communication. Share on X

Why are brand colors important?

Brand colors are important because they help to create a unique and recognizable look for your brand. They are an essential part of any company’s visual identity.

There are four main reasons why brand colors are so important:

1. Brand colors help to create a cohesive visual identity.

A consistent color palette across all marketing materials helps to create a strong and recognizable brand.

2. Brand colors can help to set a company apart from its competitors.

In a crowded marketplace, distinctive brand colors can help your brand stand out from the crowd.

3. Brand colors can impact purchase decisions

85% of consumers are heavily influenced by the colors of a brand and claim it can affect their purchase decisions.

brand color affects purchase decisions

4. Brand colors help your audience to remember your brand.

When you have distinct brand identity color palettes, you have more brand awareness.

Over time, your audience also remembers you more and your colors can create a valuable emotional connection between you and your consumers.

Understanding colors and color theory

Before getting into how to create a brand identity color palette, let’s understand colors and color theory first.

The starting point is the color wheel.

Color wheel

A color wheel is an organizational tool used to select and arrange colors.

The wheel is divided into three types of colors:

1. Three primary colors: red, yellow, and blue.

They are the basic colors that are mixed to form other colors.

2. Three secondary colors: orange, green, and purple

Secondary colors are obtained by mixing different primary colors together.

3. Six tertiary colors: red-orange, red-violet, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, and blue-violet.

Tertiary colors are basically different combinations of primary and secondary colors.

Here’s how to understand them visually.

The Color Theory and Wheel

By understanding the relationships between these different colors, you can create different brand color combinations.

Warm and cool colors

Warm colors are those that are typically associated with fire and heat, such as red, orange, and yellow. Warm colors give out an energetic and inviting vibe.

In contrast, cool colors like blue, green, and purple tend to have a calming effect. They often evoke feelings of tranquility and serenity.

Warm Color Palette and Cool Color Palette

Meaning of colors

Colors are all around us, and they can have a powerful impact on our emotions and our behavior.

There are tons of studies on color psychology, about how it affects people. On average, each color represents an emotion, a state of mind.

For example, the color red has been shown to increase heart rate and blood pressure, while blue has the opposite effect. Green is often used to symbolize growth or new life, while black can be associated with death or mourning.

So before you fixate on ONE color, try to understand the meaning of each. Here is a snapshot.

color meaning and emotion

Here are some meanings of some key colors and the emotion they invoke in people:

Red
Red is often associated with strong emotions like passion and energy. It’s also seen as a color of strength, courage, and power. These connotations likely come from the fact that red is the color of blood. It’s also the color of fire, which is often used to describe things that are intense or passionate.

In many cultures, red is considered to be a lucky color. It’s often used in traditional clothing and decor, especially during holidays and festivals. Red is also a popular color for branding and marketing, as it’s known to attract attention and boost excitement levels.

Green
Green is the color of life, and it has been associated with health, security, growth, and prosperity for centuries. It is a calming color that can help to reduce stress and promote healing. In terms of financial security, green is often associated with money and success. And in terms of personal growth, green represents new beginnings and self-improvement.

Blue
Blue is one of the most popular colors in the world. It is associated with trust, loyalty, and responsibility. Blue is also a conservative color. The color blue instills confidence in people and creates a sense of stability. It is no wonder that so many companies use blue in their corporate logos. It is a color that people can trust.

Purple
The origins of the color purple can be traced back to ancient times, when it was prized for its rarity and expense. Today, the color purple continues to be associated with wealth and power. But it also symbolizes creativity, fantasy, and imagination. When we see the color purple, we might think of a magical unicorn or a beautiful butterfly.

color meaning and emotion detailed

Read about the meanings of many more colors in this post.

Psychology of colors in branding

Different colors can create different associations in our minds about businesses, and you need to understand this well when you choose your brand color palette.

We all know that we remember many big brands by color. Think McDonalds, Starbucks, Standard Chartered, Vodafone.

The next time you see a piece of marketing material, take a moment to think about the message that the colors are conveying. Chances are, the selection of hues was not an accident.

See below an infographic from The Logo Company on what kind of an emotion/ vibe, different colors reflect for different brands.

brand color psychology

What are the 7 color schemes of brands?

Color schemes are collections of colors used together to create a visual style. They are often picked strategically in order to create a particular effect, evoke emotion, or even send a message.

There are seven main types of color schemes:

  • Monochromatic
  • Analogous
  • Complementary
  • Triadic
  • Tetradic
  • Split complementary
  • Square

One of the first steps in choosing colors for your brand and creating the best brand color combinations is to understand color schemes.

I will cover them all here, along with an example of a brand that matches that color scheme.

1. Monochromatic color scheme

Monochromatic color schemes are created by using different shades, tints, and tones of one color. Monochromatic color schemes are soothing and create a sense of harmony.

Example of a brand with a monochromatic color scheme: Facebook. Colors: Shades of blue.

monochrome color scheme  Facebook color palette - monochromatic color scheme

2. Analogous color scheme

Analogous color schemes use colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. Analogous color schemes are warm and inviting.

Example of a brand that has an analogous color scheme: McDonalds. Colors: Red and orange/ yellow

analogous color scheme.jpg  McDonalds color palette - analogous color scheme

3. Complementary color scheme

Complementary color schemes use colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. Complementary color schemes are energetic and exciting.

Example of a brand that has a complementary color scheme: Heineken. Colors: Red and green

complementary color scheme.jpg  Heineken color palette - complementary color scheme

4. Triadic color scheme

Triadic color schemes use colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel. Triadic color schemes are dramatic and eye-catching.

Example of a brand that has a triadic color scheme: Google. Colors: Red, green, blue, and yellow.

triadic color scheme  Google color palette - triadic color scheme.jpg

5. Split-complementary color scheme

In a split complementary color scheme, you have one main color and instead of having one symmetrically opposite color like in a complementary color scheme, you have two colors that are opposite the main colors, to act as supporting colors.

Example of a brand that has a triadic color scheme: Firefox. Colors: Red, orange, yellow, purple.

split complementary color scheme.jpg  Firefox color palette - split complementary color scheme

6. Tetradic color scheme

Tetradic color schemes are made up of four colors that are equally spaced on the color wheel.

You can create a color scheme by picking two colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel and then by selecting the two colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel. These four colors will form a rectangle on the color wheel.

Example of a brand that has a triadic color scheme: Tide. Colors: Orange, yellow, blue.

tetradic color scheme.jpg  Tide color palette - tetradic color scheme.jpg

7. Square color scheme

A square color scheme consists of four colors that are equally spaced out on the color wheel. A square scheme is basically two sets of complementary colors. Depending on the colors you choose, this set of four colors can create a harmonious and balanced feel for your brand, or a dynamic and high-contrast look.

Example of a brand that has a square color scheme: Slack. Colors: Pink, yellow, green, blue.

square color scheme.jpg  Slack color palette - square color scheme

Here is a summary of the seven types of color schemes you can choose for your brand.

What are the 7 color schemes

Key types of brand colors

A brand color palette consists of mainly three types of colors:

  • Primary or dominant brand colors to use for the majority of your brand’s visuals
  • Secondary or accent colors to use sparingly to add contrast and interest
  • Neutral colors for your texts (black/ shade of grey)

The primary brand colors should be used most frequently, as they will become synonymous with your brand. The secondary or accent colors can be used to add excitement or variety, to emphasize or highlight certain aspects of your marketing.

The neutral colors should be used for all text to ensure legibility.

How to choose a brand identity color palette?

How do you choose a palette that defines your brand, and matches your personality perfectly?

Of course, you want to choose your favorite colors. And colors you think are core to your personality, that you could look at all the time, that feels second nature to you. But here’s the thing.

Your brand color palette has to match your authentic brand story and work for your business. Share on X

You can create your brand color palette in seven steps:

  1. Create your brand story and personality
  2. Research your competition’s brand colors
  3. Identify the feeling you want to invoke in your customers
  4. Choose a primary, dominant color for your brand
  5. Choose your brand color scheme
  6. Identify your secondary brand colors
  7. Add your brand color palette to your brand kit

1. Create your brand story and personality

Your brand color palette is an important part of your brand identity and should be reflective of who you are as a company, and what you stand for.

So before you actually choose your brand colors, create your brand story.

Start by asking yourself these questions:

Because the more you can stand out in a cluttered industry, with your uniqueness, the more powerful your brand will be.

Identify your brand personality.

      • If your brand was a person, what would its personality be like?
      • Do you want to be seen as friendly and approachable? Playful and fun? Serious and professional? and trustworthy?
      • Would be corporate with a stiff upper lip, or more informal?
      • Are you an everyday brand, or a luxurious one?
      • Do you want to use contrasting colors to show your boldness and energy, and make a statement? Or do you want to choose softer, more muted tones that convey a sense of calm?

Your brand colors should reflect your authentic brand story and brand personality.

Example: If you’re selling insurance, you would have a serious, neutral personality. However, if you are a dynamic young entrepreneur who wants to break the clutter and do things unconventionally, to take the ‘boring’ out of insurance, to work with you in a new-age way, you may want to have a much more fun and energetic brand personality. And then you need to have fun, exciting colors too.

2. Research your competition and their brand colors

As a business owner you know that if you want to stand out and be successful, you know that you need to know what your competition is doing and do things a bit differently yourself.

One important aspect to research is your competitor’s brand colors.

Are they using warm colors that evoke feelings of comfort and security? In that case, you might want to consider using cooler colors that give off a more energetic vibe.

Or maybe they’re using muted tones that convey a sense of sophistication. If that’s the case, you could use brighter colors to help your brand stand out.

If you want to create differentiation, think about the overall rules, and play around with colors depending on your story.

You can also download my free brand story guide with the form below.

Brand Story Step-by-Step Guide Final

Get a FREE, detailed guide to creating your brand story

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Pro Tip:

Try to have your brand color palette, or at least your dominant color different from your competition.

It will give you a distinct identity, make you more memorable, and avoid confusion in the minds of your audience.

3. Identify the feeling you want to invoke in your customers

When you’re ready to start creating your brand colors, it’s important to think about the feeling you want your audience to have when they connect with your business. Do you want them to feel inspired? Energized? Relaxed?

The mood you want to create will guide your color selection.

For example, if you are a wedding planner looking to invoke a sense of romance and elegance, you might choose a soft, pastel palette. If you’re a fitness coach aiming to motivate your clients, you might go for brighter, bolder hues.

Once you’ve settled on the overall feeling you want to convey, you can start narrowing down your color choices.

4. Choose a primary, dominant color for your brand

Now that you understand color psychology and the meaning of colors, and have created your brand story, it is time to decide the primary or dominant color in your palette.

The dominant brand color or colors will represent the brand everywhere, in all your branding and marketing collateral.

Think of all the criteria above of brand story, competition, and personality, and choose one or two main colors that fit.

Pro tip:

Your primary brand color should uphold your brand story, your brand personality, and invoke the right feeling in your target audience that makes them relate to you and want to engage.

5. Choose your brand color scheme

Now that you know the seven different color elements and how different brands use them, decide which scheme you want for your brand.

Do you want multiple colors like the triadic, tetradic, or square color schemes, or keep it simple with one or two colors, like the monochromatic and complementary schemes? Do you want more warm colors or cool colors?

Which kind of visuals would be the best fit for your brand?

Once you have a rough idea of which color scheme you want, you can choose the rest of the colors in your brand identity palette based on the color wheel.

Pro tip:

You can also use a color palette generator to experiment with different options for your color schemes. Read more about this below.

6. Identify your secondary brand colors

Secondary colors of a brand are the colors you’ll use to highlight important information and add visual interest to your communications and brand designs.

As you select accent colors for your brand, think about your brand messaging architecture and the overall tone of your communications.

For example, you might want to use different colors for your brand messaging and marketing messaging.

You may want to choose one or two main accent colors and a few secondary accent colors that can be used sparingly.

Once you’ve selected your brand accent colors, ensure that you use them consistently across all of your communications. This will help create a cohesive look and feel for your brand.

7. Add your brand color palette to your brand kit

Once you have chosen your brand colors, the final step is to add them to your brand kit. A brand kit is a document where you save all the visual elements that help to define your brand identity.

Your brand kit should include your logo, color palette, typography, and other visuals that reflect your brand’s unique personality.

This is my brand kit with my brand color palette (on Canva).Ignite Marketing Brand Kit and Brand Color Palette on Canva

It is really convenient to add your brand kit with your brand color palette on a tool like Canva because if later you need to create business cards, social media posts, infographics, posters, brochures, proposals, presentations, and Youtube thumbnails, it will be a breeze to get it done.

First of all, they have loads of templates, so if you like any of them, you just drag your brand kit material onto it, and voila, you’re done! I barely create anything from scratch nowadays.

Or you can custom-create your designs, add stickers, shapes, animation, and pretty much anything you need to create graphics yourself.

If you can’t always outsource your brand and marketing material to a designer, and you need to create lots of graphic designs, Canva is a must-have tool.

Optional: Create a mood board for your brand.

A mood board is a great way to visually represent your brand's values and style. It can be a physical board or an online board, and it should be filled with images, colors, and textures that inspire you. Share on X

You can use your mood board as a reference point when creating new marketing materials or designing your website. Adding your brand colors to your brand kit and creating a mood board are two important steps in defining your brand identity.

Canva is a great tool for finding mood board templates. Just choose the mood board you like, and make the edits you need to customize the board to your story. Or you can create them from scratch.

Here are some examples of mood boards you can create on Canva.

Canva templates- Examples of Brand Mood Boards with Color Palettes

Pick colors for your brand with a brand color scheme generator

What is a brand color palette generator?

A brand color palette generator is a tool that helps you create a set of colors that work well together. It provides brand color suggestions to select colors that complement each other to create a cohesive color scheme.

These tools typically work by allowing you to input a few colors that you like, and then they’ll generate a complete palette based on those hues.

Some generators also let you specify the mood or emotion that you want your colors to convey, and they’ll use that information to create a customized selection of hues. Once you’ve found a palette that you like, you can then download it or export it to use in your design projects.

How to use a brand color scheme generator?

There are three ways to work with an online color generator:

1. Choose colors based on a dominant color and your preferred scheme

One of the best and easiest ways to choose a brand color palette is by first selecting a dominant color, and then asking the online color generator to give you different options of color schemes.

2. Choose colors from an image

It could also be that you know the look and feel that you want your brand to have, like what kind of images you want, but are not sure what brand colors to derive from them.

Simply upload your image to a brand color generator. The tool will analyze the colors in your image and suggest some colors that would work well for your brand.

3. Choose from existing pre-made color palettes

Most of the color generators already have built-in palettes that you can choose for your brand story. You can just browse through the hundreds of options available and choose one that fits with your brand.

This is especially useful if you haven’t already decided what kind of a color scheme you want for your brand.

Only do this if you’re at a loss or stuck in your color process, but this is not the best way to choose your brand colors.

4. Choose colors randomly

Some color palette generators give you the option to randomly generate colors. You can just start clicking on the tool or drag some colors around. But I wouldn’t recommend this option at all.

Pro Tip:

Remember, you need a brand color palette that matches your story, matches you, that has a meaning, a personality, and an emotion.

In fact, it is only after doing all the work on your brand story that you choose a color palette. So don’t just do it randomly, choose your colors with a process and goal.

How to pick colors for your brand with a brand identity color generator

In this post, I will explore four online brand color generators that you can use to pick your brand colors.

      • Canva
      • Muzli Colors
      • Color Kit
      • Adobe

Let’s see how to choose brand colors in the four different ways with these color generators.

Canva Color Wheel

You can enter a dominant color in the Canva color wheel, choose your scheme, and get color palette recommendations.

Canva color generator - Enter a dominant color and scheme

 

You can choose colors from an image that you upload.

Canva color generator - Choose colors from image

You can also try different demo images. This process would be similar to generating colors randomly, so I would not recommend that.

And you can also choose a color palette from their pre-made color combinations.

Canva color generator - Choose from existing color palettes

Adobe Color Wheel

The Adobe Color Wheel is one of the most advanced color palette generators. Just drag the arrows in the circle around to choose the dominant color and choose your color scheme on the left.

Adobe color generator - Enter a dominant color and scheme

Of course, you can upload an image too.

Adobe color generator - Choose colors from image

You can also choose from existing templates, too. What is special about Adobe, however, is that it shows you trending colors by industry, so you get more inspiration to create your own brand color palette.

Adobe Color Scheme by industry

Muzli Colors

Muzli Colors has a similar approach as Canva. You enter your dominant color and generate schemes that you prefer, or upload an image.

Colors.muz.li color generator - Choose colors from dominant color or image

What I like about Muzli is that along with the color schemes to match the dominant brand color, it also shows you an example of how it would look on different marketing materials.

Colors.muz.li color generator - Enter a dominant color and scheme

You can also choose from existing color combinations.

Muzli color generator - Choose from existing color palettes

ColorKit

ColorKit is very similar to another very popular online color generator, coolors.co. But since some features of Coolors are paid and on ColorKit they are free, like choosing colors based on color schemes, I prefer to recommend this tool instead of Coolors.

You can start with a dominant color and get color scheme options.

ColorKit color generator - Enter a dominant color and scheme

You have the option to not just select colors from an image you upload, but you can also choose the number of colors you want in your palette from that image.

Color Kit color generator - Choose colors from image

You can randomly generate brand colors, or you can ask for the colors to match a certain scheme. But still, the colors are being generated randomly without any match to your brand story.

As mentioned before, I highly disapprove of this method.

What you can do here, is click on a color, enter your dominant color, and lock it.

Then when you generate colors, it will keep your dominant color unchanged, only generate colors as per the scheme you have chosen to match your dominant color.

ColorKit - Choose colors randomly or lock your dominant color

These were just a few examples of color generators and how you can use them to create your brand color palette. There are loads of brand color generators, so choose the one that works best for you and generate your brand colors!

4 tips on how to choose a brand color palette

1. Include both light and dark tones in your color palette.

One common mistake I see among small business brands is the use of a color palette that lacks contrast.

Strong color palettes for business include a balanced mix of light, medium, and dark tones, regardless of whether it uses a monochromatic, analogous, or complementary color scheme.

Dark colors can also help to ground a design, making it feel more stable and anchored. On the other hand, light colors can add a sense of airiness and expansiveness. They can also make a space feel more open and inviting. By including both light and dark tones in your brand color palette, you’ll be able to create a visually appealing and eye-catching color palette that reflects your unique style.

2. Get honest feedback

Try to do research as much as possible and ensure that the brand colors you choose resonate with your audience, or at least, are not a put-off for them. Your color should resonate with the audience you want to connect to. And this is where I didn’t do my research as thoroughly as I should have.

See, I love purple. It looks high-value, strong, powerful, dynamic, and yet warm. It is dynamic and suits my brand story and personality. And as I feel powerful from within and want my customers to feel the same, I went with that as a dominant color.

I didn’t have the budget for proper research, and I didn’t do it extensively, even online. My target audience included both men and women and when I showed the color with my website to a few people, both men and women said they liked it. My target was the expat population in Singapore, and they all gave good feedback.

So I went for it! This is what it looked like.

old brand color palette

At some point, I realized that almost all my customers were women, especially those who found me through my website. I was not getting contacted by the majority of the entrepreneurs, who are male.

But I didn’t give it too much significance.

Only later, after I repeatedly asked my husband and men friends later for their feedback, I dug deeper and realized that they didn’t really connect to the color. I also talked to a lady client later, who said she loved my website, but she hadn’t shown it to her boss because he would definitely not connect to it.

I learned an important lesson from my initial mistake. Ensure that your brand color palette appeals to your audience!

I realized when I researched more, that men don’t like purple at all! But my male friends had not said anything much initially because they didn’t want to hurt my feelings. And each man thought it was just him who wasn’t really connecting, so it was better to stay quiet.

Ok well. I had to do something about it, otherwise, I was potentially losing customers.

So I compromised. I changed my website to add a lot of white, added more blue, reduced the pink, reduced the intensity of the colors, and added complementary colors, including a soft grey. This is what it looks like now.

IGNITE color palette

So it still has purple, but it is played down, and if you browse the site, you will see I use an occasional teal for highlights (so an analogous color scheme).

And now my website visitors are 60:40, for women and men.

See, your cheerleaders want the best for you, as my men friends did, and they don’t always tell you what they dislike, because they think their dislike applies only to them.

So definitely, urge your super supportive fans, especially among people who can be a sort of representation of your target group, to give you constructive feedback, to say it like it is, that you’re a big girl/ boy, and can handle it.

If they all REALLY like your choice of color palette, AND it matches your brand story, you’re all set!

3. Work with a professional brand consultant when possible

Picking the perfect colors for your brand is not always easy. That’s why I recommend working with a professional brand consultant to get honest feedback on your color palette.

Good branding professionals will be able to tell you whether your colors reflect the personality and story of your brand and whether they are likely to appeal to your target audience.

They can also offer suggestions for ways to tweak your palette to achieve the desired effect and also ensure that your colors are consistent across all of your marketing materials. So if you want to create a strong brand, consider working with a professional brand consultant to create your brand color palette.

Pro Tip:

No matter how many color tools you use, nothing can replace a graphic designer and brand consultant. They would determine your brand strategically and design it appropriately, whereas color generators will only execute.

4. Be mindful of cultural differences in color

At this point, you also have to think about a few special criteria. For example, where your audience is based, and if there any cultural sensitivities related to that. Because the same color can have different meanings in different cultures. e.g., the color red, which represents prosperity and love, in Asian cultures like India and China, stands for death in Nigeria!

Uh oh!

Relax, don’t sweat it. Once you’ve chosen your primary brand color, and you know the culture/ country/ ethnicity you want to reach with your business, just do a quick check to see that the color doesn’t mean anything bad for them.

Ideally, you should have covered this while creating your brand story, but if you haven’t, run this check now, just to be sure.

How to apply your brand color palette to your website

As a business owner, you know how important a branded website is in today’s world.

When it comes to creating a cohesive and visually appealing website, or even redesigning a website, one of the most important things to consider is your brand color palette.

Your brand colors should be carried throughout your entire website, from the homepage to the about page to the blog posts.

A consistent color palette will create a sense of visual cohesiveness that will make your website more visually appealing and provide a good user experience.

Here are a few tips for applying your brand color palette to your website:

1. Use your brand colors in your header and navigation bar.

This will help create a visual hierarchy that will make it easy for visitors to find their way around your site.

2. Use your brand colors in your call-to-action buttons.

This will help them stand out and encourage visitors to take the desired action. Some colors work better in call-to-action buttons than others.

3. Use contrasting colors for different sections of your website.

For example, you could use a light color for your header and navigation bar and a dark color for your call-to-action buttons. This will help different elements of your site stand out and make it easier for visitors to find what they’re looking for.

4. Use accent colors sparingly throughout your site.

Too much of any one color can be overwhelming, so use accent colors sparingly alongside your dominant color to add interest without overwhelming visitors.

5. Don’t use too many colors.

While there is no hard and fast rule of how many colors to use, I generally recommend sticking to a limited palette for your website.

Using too many colors can be visually overwhelming and make it difficult for users to focus on the content. Instead, it’s best to choose a few colors that complement each other and create a cohesive look. When used properly, color can be an effective tool for highlighting important information and adding visual interest to your site.

So, when it comes to choosing colors for your website, less is usually more.

Brand color examples

Need inspiration to create your brand color palette? Let’s take a close look at the color palettes of some famous brands.

Starbucks brand identity color palette

Starbucks has quite a few colors in its palette, but the dominant color is green.

Starbucks Color Palette

Ikea brand identity color palette

Ikea is also known for its use of blue and yellow, contrasting but still complementary.

IIkea Color Palette

Instagram brand identity color palette

The Instagram color palette is inspired by the rainbow, but with more warmth and energy because that is needed for the brand story and it fits well with the logo glyph.

https://weignitegrowth.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/Instagram-Color-Palette.jpg

Examples of how to choose brand colors that stand out

Let’s see some examples of brands that have created differentiation with their dominant brand colors.

Finance color palette: Tiger

A lot of banks choose blue and red.  These are power colors, and a color scheme that includes these colors could be an ideal professional business color palette.

Sometimes they also go for green as that is the color of money.

business color schemes

See what I mean?

But then you have some banks completely breaking through the clutter, defined by their values. For example, the way Maybank set its values, made an acronym for TIGER.

T – Teamwork
I – Integrity
G – Growth
E – Excellency & Efficiency
R – Relationship Building

A tiger also inspires strength and confidence. And accordingly, this is how their brand color palette looks:

Maybank color palatte

Beauty color palette: Benefit

This sector goes towards a lot of colorful images, with black, bold logos, encouraging women to experiment with makeup.

makeup brand logos

And then you have a brand like Benefit, which goes completely pink, cheeky, fun, and pop-artish. They describe their brand philosophy as ‘grabbing life by the giggles’. Immediate differentiation.

So their colors, and whole look and feel, follow their brand story.

Benefit brand look and feel

So you just need to know what the rest is doing, what YOU want to do, develop your own brand story, and what color you think would go best with it. So your colors, and whole look and feel, follow your brand story.

How many colors should a brand have?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer. The number of colors you use for your brand and your logo will depend on the story you want to tell and the image you want to project.

Most big brands that were founded years ago have tended to only use 1-2 colors for their brand identity, with one dominant color and one or two accent colors. However, more recent brands, especially digital brands like Slack, Firefox, Google, etc., are using multiple colors s for their logos and brand identities.

Pro Tip:

You can have up to 6 different colors in your brand color palette. This allows you to create a well-rounded and balanced color scheme that reflects your brand personality and accurately represents your business.

However, brand logos with multiple colors, however trendy, are not necessary. Just make sure that whichever colors you choose, when used together, reflect your true brand story.

Your logo color palette should contain at least all the primary colors from your brand identity color palette.

Color glossary

Colors can be described in many ways, and it’s helpful to understand all the terms when you’re working with a brand color palette. Here’s a quick glossary of some of the most common terms:

Tint: A tint is lightened version of a color, achieved by adding white. For example, if you add white to red, you’ll get pink.

Hue: A hue is simply another word for color. So, when we’re talking about “hues” in a brand color palette, we’re referring to the various colors that are available.

Shade: A shade is a darkened version of a color, achieved by adding black. For example, adding black to red will give you a richer, deeper shade of red.

Tone: A tone is created by adding gray to a color. This can either result in a softer or more muted version of the original color or alternatively can make the color seem richer.
For example, adding gray to blue will create a navy tone.

Saturation: Saturation refers to the intensity or vibrancy of color. A highly saturated color will be very rich and vibrant, while a less saturated color will appear more muted.

Concluding Notes

Have fun while choosing your brand color palette! This is one of the most creative and exciting parts of your business journey.

Once you set the colors, and people know about your brand, they tend to remember it by color.

So while you can keep tweaking your colors a bit as your brand evolves, don’t change them drastically from the original color palette you had set.

Try not to change the dominant color at all.

You also want to make sure that your colors are consistent across all of your marketing materials, from your website to your business cards. Brand consistency is key in building a memorable brand.

Good luck! And have fun 🙂 Would love to hear your comments and stories too.

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Adnan Alam
5 years ago

Hi very nice article

Arokoyu Timilehin
Arokoyu Timilehin
5 years ago

Very helpful, thanks!

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