4 Tips for Choosing Your Brands Color Scheme



There’s a lot that goes into deciding what color scheme will work for your business. I’ve worked with enterprise level businesses that spent a lot of money developing a color palette, however, when these colors were used together in one document they looked muddy and illegible. Here are four tips to help you avoid this and save some money in the long run.

  1. Color Psychology
  2. Accent Colors
  3. Contrasting Colors
  4. Room for Trends (Wild Card)

Color Psychology

This is the most well known and researched by designers and business owners. It’s important to know what your users will subconsciously and consciously associate with your brand, and every color has a positive and negative association. Because of this, it’s important to choose two colors that balance each other as your palette A-team..

Accent Colors

Secondary colors are important for a few reasons, although some schools of design though prefer to limit your brand to a single color. This is fine for your logo, and even a super minimalist website or campaign – but that doesn’t suite every brand or situation. For example, If your business is showing at an event you may have to incorporate the branding of the event in your own campaign. Another example is wanting to differentiate different sections of your website from one another. Accent colors give you room for variety and allow you to reach cohesiveness with foreign branding.

There’s a couple ways to go about this:
  1. You can select a specific color for basic colors on the color wheel in addition to neutrals.
  2. You can can choose colors based on an inspiration photo that represents your business persona and make adjustments that suit your needs.
  3. You can choose colors based on the psychology you want to present relative to your business
Common colors, subdued
Additional contrast

Color Contrast

When selecting your colors, it’s best to use a variety of contrast level (and ideally temperatures and saturation levels). This gives you more options for legibility as well as cooperation with events and partnering businesses.

If all or most of your colors have the same level of contrast they can easily become muddy and illegible in combination with each other.¬† This increases the need for ‘boxes’ or backgrounds of dark or light neutrals and makes your layouts appear cluttered. There are resources online that can test your color contrast to ensure the legibility of your accent colors if you’re unsure.

Inspired colors from a photograph can leave the palette muddy. Adjust the contrast for legibility.

Room for Trends

Every year companies like Pantone release colors of the year, which include one or two trend driven colors. These are especially helpful for retail and trend driven businesses. They work especially well for ads and social media as the consumer will think of your company as current. When you design your color scheme with a ‘wildcard’ color in mind, it makes incorporating trend colors into your regular colors that much easier.

Some schools believe keeping your colors basic (ie, black and white) is the most profitable option. This can work for some businesses like car manufacturers, but they already have a large amount of klout (fame). Luxury companies can also get away with this, though they typically have a scheme of neutrals and metallics (gold, silver). They also make use of trending colors and contrasting colors, even if they mainly use neutrals.

Hopefully this helps if you’re considering redesigning your colors or starting a new business. Agree or disagree? Leave a comment below.


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