Colour is one of the most important aspects of design. It connects our feelings in a personal and memorable way. This makes them a powerful tool that can be utilized in every area of design, including your brand. The colours that you choose for your brand must have a purpose, meaning to their use, and attract your ideal clients.
Colour is a great tool to help provide hierarchy to your message by guiding the reader to specific points that are important. It can draw attention, set the tone, and provide the reader with direction.
Creating an effective colour palette can be a little intimidating, though. How many colours do you include? What colours do you include? How do I prevent getting bored with my colours?
Don't worry, creating a colour palette isn't as hard as you think. You just need to remember to keep your audience in mind.
Make sure it aligns with your brand
Colour can be an extremely personal topic. It can be very tempting to include your favourite colours in your brand just because you like them. But, like everything in your brand, it’s not about you. It’s about your customers. Your colours need to speak to your audience. What are they most drawn to? What colours can accurately represent the message you’re trying to convey?
Like everything in your brand, it’s not about you. It’s about your customers.
There is some astounding re-search that stresses the importance of colour in design. Research conducted by the secretariat of the Seoul International Color Expo documents the following relationships between color and marketing:
92.6 percent said that they put most importance on visual factors when purchasing products. Only 5.6 percent said that the physical feel via the sense of touch was most important. Hearing and smell each drew 0.9 percent.
When asked to approximate the importance of color when buying products, 84.7 percent of the total respondents think that color accounts for more than half among the various factors important for choosing products.
Source: Secretariat of the Seoul International Color Expo 2004
Limit your colours
Less is more when it comes to your colour palate. You want to make sure its diverse enough, but not to overwhelming that it starts to look inconsistent. Diversity is important because it allows you to have accent colours you can use to draw attention, but also neutrals that can be used for backgrounds. You don’t want to become bored with your colours either, and by having a good mix you can ensure that you won’t become bored.
However, you shouldn’t be including every colour under the rainbow. It will start to make your brand look messy and inconsistent.
When developing your colour palette, you want to make sure it’s readable.
I’ve seen a few blogs and websites that have chosen colours that look too light and can’t be seen on a bright screen.
Take your colour palate, email it to yourself and then go and open that on EVERY SINGLE COMPUTER in your house. If you only have one, visit your library, ask your friends to bring theirs over, or use your iPhone, iPad or other devices in your house.
It is so important to see how each screen reads the colour, because trust me, every screen will display it differently. There is no way to control how everyone sees your colours, but it’s important to adjust where you can, and make sure that at the very least, the colour is saturated enough to see on screens.
But that doesn’t mean that every colour needs to be saturated, you can still include neutrals in your palette. You will need to make sure that when you’re designing, there is enough contrast in the colours to ensure that it is readable.
Developing a palette
Effective colour palettes include a diverse set of colours that are a mix of neutrals, accent colours and contrasting colours. There’s no limit to how many colours you can include in your palette. I’ve had palettes include up to 8 colours and others only needed 4. It depends on the business and how they will use the colours in their brand.
These are important for creating a cohesive palette. They can be used in designs without competing with the other colours, but still providing some depth. Examples of neutrals include grey, white, cream, or lighter tints from you other colours like blush pink, light blue, peach etc.
Contrasting colours are used to provide some depth with your palette. They can be contrasting to your accent colours or they can simply be more saturated neutrals. Examples of contrasting colours are grey, black, brown, darker tones like plum or navy blue.
Accent colours often make the brand. These can be used to really show personality and they give you a nice pop of colour. Depending on your brand, your accent colours may be two cool colours, or a mix of cool and warm, or even just warm colours. My rule of thumb is to have two accent colours for a palette. It provides a nice variety when using them you can always play with the saturation of each to make it more dynamic.
Colour is so important in developing your brand and ensuring your message is consistent. It can impact your message in subtle ways and can help build recognition for your brand. Have some fun creating a palette for yourself! Leave a comment with any questions or if you want some feedback on your palette.
Go onto to Pinterest and search colour palettes. Try and decipher why they work so well. What kinds of colours did they pick? How many accent colours, how many neutrals etc. Try mixing two colour palettes by switching out some colours.
Need some inspiration?
The colour collective has some amazing palettes.
Design seeds are known for pulling colour palettes from photos.