Red is for love, green is for nature, yellow is for warmth.
Each time a potential customer interacts with your brand, you are given an opportunity to shape their perception. This is why it is critical for brands to carefully select design elements, especially colors, to convince prospective buyers.
According to research studies, a potential buyer’s evaluation of a product or service hinges significantly on the colors chosen by a brand to represent itself. That means that for a target consumer, more or less, you are what colors you choose.
With that in mind, how can you leverage your brand’s color palette to gain maximum leverage and momentum through your messaging efforts?
Understand what each color represents
People associate specific colors with an individual concept or meaning. Some of these concepts and definitions are universal, while others are tied to a particular culture. Take these into account before settling for your brand’s palette:
- Red: love, excitement, anger
- Orange: friendliness, energy, playfulness
- Yellow: youth, happiness, optimism
- Green: nature, growth, prosperity
- Light blue: trust, openness, innocence, tranquility
- Dark blue: security, formality, professionalism
- Violet: royalty, luxury, creativity
- Pink: youth, innocence, femininity
- Black: sophistication, power, modernity
Take note that when you use individual colors in a combination, you also alter the message that you send. Plus, the intensity of a particular color also reflects a mood.
Building a palette
Unless you are going for a monochromatic look for your brand imagery, you will need to select a color scheme carefully. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to building a color palette. However, you can use this quick guide to minimize your confusion.
● Start with three colors
Begin building your palette by choosing three colors which will act as the base, accent, and neutral colors. Indeed, you can select more than three or opt for a monochromatic palette, but three colors are your starting point.
● Identify your base color
In choosing your base color, you should first identify which of the three colors you chose initially best represents your brand personality. The next two colors you choose will depend heavily on how these complement the base color.
- Find an accent color
After the base color, the accent color is the next hue that you will use heavily. In choosing an accent color, you should take into account your brand personality as well as how that accent color interacts with the base color.
● Choose a neutral color
Typically, the neutral color is used for backgrounds. This means that this color does not grab the attention away from your base and accent color. Usually, gray, white, and beige are used by brands as their neutral colors. Black can work as a background color, but it can be trickier to use.
Color scheme basics
There are four main types of color schemes that you can use: monochromatic, analogous, complementary, and triad.
- A monochromatic scheme is great for a minimalist approach. However, your audience might have a difficult time distinguishing each color from one another.
- In an analogous scheme, the colors chosen are adjacent to one another when viewed using a color wheel. Although analogous colors usually share the same connotations, they cannot draw as much attention as other color schemes.
- Complementary colors are found across each other on a color wheel. Paired together, these colors create dynamism and can quickly draw attention.
- Looking at a color wheel, triadic colors are found in three different sections. These colors are similar to analogous colors in the sense that these create stability, while at the same time they give ample room for variety like complementary colors. However, the downside of a triadic scheme is finding colors that match your brand personality.
Branding experts agree that creating a palette is a process that should not be rushed. After all, you will use the colors you select for several applications, both online and offline, from your logos and website to your store design and your advertising and marketing communication. Take the time to choose each color carefully and understand the meaning behind each.
Stuart Harris is the Creative Director at Yellow, a Dubai branding agency, digital partner and advertising company working with progressive businesses to build bold, meaningful brands.