Choosing a colour palette for your business is not a simple process but it is a lot of fun! It’s often a journey of discovery to work out both what you like and what will work best for your business – in terms of the messages, feelings and emotions different colours convey, as well as what your ideal clients will be attracted by.
In this blog, I answer some common questions about choosing colours and developing a colour palette for your business.
HOW DO I CHOOSE COLOURS FOR MY BUSINESS?
As with all elements of design there are loads of factors when it comes to choosing specific elements, such as colour.
When working with me, we will discuss a whole host of variables, which include everything from considering who you are trying to target, i.e. your ideal clients, and their demographic, preferences and disposable income; through to the industry or sector your business is in.
Although it is never a lone deciding factor, it is also important to consider what you like and how your colours can represent the person behind the business and add a touch of your personality. Looking at mood boards and understanding why you are drawn to certain colours and what this means is also an important part of brand identity research.
We will also explore the emotional side of colours, including what you are drawn to and colour psychology about how people make certain associations with certain colours. We work to ensure those emotions or associations are relevant and a positive reflection on your business.
Importantly, as a brand designer, I am here to work with you and to help you to choose colours that will work with your business, in all forms of design and implementation…
HOW MANY COLOURS DO I NEED?
You need a maximum of seven colours, across two palettes. Six to seven colours often work well.
Of those seven colours, we will consider which colours will be used for text, especially if there is wording as part of your logo – to ensure clarity and readability.
You can also be quite strict about what each colour or which two colours should be used for what. For example, what should be used for foregrounds, accents or to highlight? Your brand guidelines will help you to apply the best colours from your palette, in a range of different scenarios. The guidelines will also identify which colours form your primary colour palette and which are part of your secondary colour palette.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PRIMARY COLOUR PALETTE AND A SECONDARY COLOUR PALETTE?
A primary colour palette is made up of colours in your logo. They are the ‘key’colours that are associated with your brand. Usually, you have just two colours in your primary palette. I suggest a maximum of three, although some designers choose four.
A secondary colour palette is then used for accents. They are complementary colours to your primary palette. They are often used less frequently but give you a few more variations, whilst still keeping you on brand. The secondary colour palette doesn’t have to include completely different colours, but lighter or darker shades of colours in your primary palette, to give you more choice.
Importantly, the colours must ALL complement each other. They should never clash or give contradictory messages. They must all work together to convey your brand message and draw the same emotions.
Having primary and secondary palettes also makes your life easier when designing social media posts, for example. It means you know exactly what colours you should use, which you should use most often (i.e. your primary palette) and that any combination you choose will be complementary.
Having two defined palettes is also really helpful when you come to outsource. For example, for website designers or email template designers, you can brief them on exactly what colours they should be using, how and the frequency.
DOES IT MATTER IF I USE DIFFERENT COLOURS TO WHAT’S IN MY PALETTE?
es it does. It degrades your whole brand, ruins consistency, sends confusing messages and reduces brand awareness. Aesthetically, including an additional colour may also not necessarily work with the design and could clash with your logo.
You are also just making more work for yourself.
Importantly, you should love your colour palette in the first place – knowing it is right for your business and, therefore, want to use and implement those colours…and those colours only.
The only exception is if you need to attract a different audience or client base, or have a very separate event, product or services to design for. However, even then, the colour itself should be complementary to the rest of your palette.
If you need a tweak to your palette because your business is moving in a different direction, then speak to me about how we can adapt your colours to support this transition and be more representative of your changing business.
HOW DO I MAKE SURE I USE THE EXACT COLOURS EACH TIME?
Don’t rely on your eye sight to choose a colour – especially on websites or online design tools.
If you are choosing ‘approximately’ the same colour, and this is slightly different each time, it will look messy.
As part of your brand guidelines, you will be provided with the individual hex codes for each of the colours in your palette. These are represented with a # followed by a series of six letters and numbers. When selecting a colour, you will be given the option to type in this code and your exact brand colour will appear.
You will also be given RGB and CMYK codes – where a number is assigned to each letter.
Remember that there may be a slight variation between how a colour looks on screen versus how it looks in print, so it is important to test this when choosing colours, especially if print is an important part of your business and its assets.
AFTER COLOURS… WHAT NEXT?
Now you have a better understanding of how we work together to choose colours and use a consistent palette to grow brand awareness, take a read of my blog all about choosing ‘fonts’:Choosing fonts blog
If you want to explore your brand colours further or need a helping hand with creating a primary and secondary palette that will truly complement your business and its growth, book in for a free coffee chat today.