5 Ways To Choose Powerful And Effective Brand Colors
Branding through color is a powerful tool to build a recognizable image.
Since color is an emotional experience, it has the ability to induce a reaction from your audience.
Although subjective and at times unpredictable, color works to effectively communicate a message.
You can use color to make people think about you when you are not even there. (SAY WHAAAT!?)
It's true. Since color is a sensory experience, defining a powerful and unique palette for your brand can be a tool for a stupendous image that makes people think of you when they see that color.
Choosing your brand's color palette can be extremely difficult because there are SO MANY possibilities. (Literally hundreds of thousands!)
Often times people will tell me that they just are not "good" at color and they struggle with choosing.
I ain't gonna lie to ya, friend – some people are naturally intuitive about color.
There is this little thing called color theory that will teach you how to choose colors that are effective, look good together and will help you achieve the look that you desire.
The other great thing about color theory?
You don't necessarily have to "choose" there are resources that will help you choose a full scheme once you know what you are looking for. (Oh and I have a handy little color resource guide of all the tools and books I love! You could wait to the end but if you are just burning with excitement, you can get it now!)
When it comes to building a brand, it is important that you are able to say exactly what you want to say in order to build a powerful brand image. This is how you attract the right people.
Color will help you do it!
1. START WITH YOUR BRAND MESSAGE
Without brand clarity, all of your work lacks focus. Last week, we talked about building brand clarity and by now, you will have a clear vision and goals. (If not you can check the post and download the worksheet here!)
People will recognize color before words and shape so you want to be sure to choose colors that are representative of your brand. For example my message is:
"Teaching creative entrepreneurs to exude confidence and build a powerful brand image."
I want my brand to be inspiring, inviting, and bold, not unlike myself OR my brand's overall message.
In the same manner, you want to utilize color to provide an overall message. Your colors are what will set the mood of your brands message and getting them right will only help you move toward the growth that you desire.
2. ALIGN WITH YOUR PERSONALITY
As we move through each step, think about the 3 words that best describe your brand. This will help you understand how to connect color to every part of your brand's image. These words should simultaneously:
- Describe the overall feel of your brand
- Reflect Your Personality
If the personality of your brand is warm and inviting you may not choose super vivid colors that jump of the page, but you may choose warm, subdued colors that invite people to relax and stay awhile. If you are the kind of hard-hitter, in your face type of brand, you may choose a bright color.
Let's check out Kaitlyn from The Crown Fox as an example.
Kaitlyn is super helpful individual with great advice on branding. One of her main words that describes her brand's vision is "cohesive" and "clean" With that in mind the colors she chose fits her brand's message and her personality.
Building your brand online hangs on your ability to present a message that people feel is honest. That is why it is so important that you do not simply choose colors that you see other brands using. You want your colors to match who you are as a person.
STEP 3: RESEARCH YOUR NICHE
Take a look at the colors that are used in your niche. Remember when we talked about people having trouble choosing a palette? Sometimes people settle on color palettes that someone else has created. You want something that is original!
It is much better to stand out! Your colors will be used across social media, your blog, and possibly featured and you want it to be totally recognizable. You want an image so strong that people recognize your legs in a picture (not even joking guys, people know my pictures even when my face isn't in it)
Take some time looking at some larger blogs that are in your niche and anyone who may be competition. This is not for inspiration. This research is for anti-inspiration! I am not saying that you cannot use a specific color, but you want to mix it up a bit. It will make your brand that much more powerful.
STEP 4: GATHER INSPIRATION
The next thing you want to do is compile inspiration. Not to harp on the issue but I don't mean pinning a bunch of people's brand colors (we talked about this a second ago. That is the main ingredient for an unoriginal palette.)
Gather inspiration from unexpected places.
If you want to learn how to build a brand that will stand out, you must think like an innovator.
You can get inspired by fashion:
Or literally anything that speaks to you!
When it comes to color, the possibilities are numerous. There is no reason that you can't have a unique and recognizable palette when there are an endless amount of colors to chose from!
STEP 5: CREATE THE PALETTE
Now that you have an idea of the colors you will use, you can build a palette of 3 - 5 colors that will appear in all of you branding. The next step is to begin researching color meanings so that you have an overall understand of colors you will choose.
Because my brand message was already closely aligned with my personality, I was able to choose my colors from clothing that I was wearing. Seeing color in person and putting it together was most natural for me so I decided to pop in pictures and select the colors directly from the clothes that I had on. I knew that was a great way to make sure the colors matched my personality and style.
COLOR THEORY BASICS
Color has three properties:
Hue: The name of each color
Value: Relative lightness or darkness of a color
Intensity: How bright or dull a color is
The colors values are often referred to as tints (color + white) tones (color + gray) and shades (color + black)
The color wheel below represents value – each color is a tint of the original hue.
These factors will be important when it comes to selecting a powerful color palette that communicates your brand's message.
The saturation of your palette will help to solidly exactly what your brand's message is. Let's take yellow for an example:
See how the purest color communicates an energizing message, but when you add black to it, it becomes more earthy and balanced? (You could of course use these in a monochrome palette and it would be very clean and inviting!) If your overall message was energetic, you could choose the brightest yellow as your base and select colors that compliment it well.
Monochrome palettes are best used if you are creating the feel of elegance or sophistication. It can be very clean, modern and easy on the eyes.
If your brand is described in this list of words, you may consider monochromatic color:
Analogous schemes are very similar to monochromatic, creating a harmonious look. They work well when you want a clean look but feel monochromatic may be a little bit boring. This is great for food bloggers and health coaches as they create a sense of comfort.
Triads can have a similar effect as complementary, though they are often less intense. Complementary colors have the tendency to vibrate off of each other, even when the colors are toned. (Note there are only three hues here. Two of them have white added to them!)
A tetrad are four colors that are evenly spaced on the color wheel A tetrad scheme is great for someone who has a blog that is playful and light hearted. It can be:
When you get into using four or more colors, you will want to choose two main and use the rest as accent colors. This particular color palette would work very well for an artistic blog.
What you want to do is play with the level of saturation. For example, my color scheme is very close to being triadic, but instead of using the orange- yellow as the third color like the example above, I chose to use a yellow that had a bit of green in it to create a bold palette that was more unique.
Now that I'm feeling mad inspired I'm ready to go off and create palettes that will leave people awestruck!
In the meantime, I want you to get out there and build that freakin' awesome color palette that will make your mouth water. I'll bet your friends will be motivated by this inspiration too – let's invite them!
And last (and DA BEST if ya wanted to know!) Grab the color resource guide with all the stupendous things that I love using!