How to Choose a Color Scheme for Your Brand

how-to-choose-a-color-scheme-for-your-brand

One of the most fun parts of building your brand’s visual identity is to select the colors of your brand and logo.  It’s just one or two colors and might seem a simple task. But it’s trickier than you might think.  Choose the right colors (think Apple, FedEx, and American Express for companies known for their color schemes) and you’ll increase people’s recognition of your brand exponentially. Pick the wrong colors, and you might send a message that completely contradicts the brand message you’ve been trying to send.

Curious to know how?

Here are some basic principles of choosing colors for your brand.

#1 – Choose one dominant color and one accent color

Think of the iconic brands whose logos have endured the test of time. Chances are their logos have one primary color and one accent color. At most they likely only have three colors total. There are some practical considerations in limiting the number of colors you use in your logo. For instance, it’s much less expensive. However a deeper reason to limit the number of colors you use for your brand’s logo is to make sure the message delivered by your logo and its colors is focused and on target.

#2 – Some colors have natural connotations to be aware of

Red is the color of passion, whether it’s love or anger. Red gets your blood pumping and your heart racing – both physiological reactions that are rooted in the psychological and emotional connections to this color.

Green on the other hand suggests fertility, abundance, and wealth. Green is found throughout the natural world. It has connections to health and wellness, as well as to the financial world (think abundance), and the environmental awareness movement.

Blue is a color of loyalty, stability, and endurance.  When we want to describe someone who stays fireside what do we say? We call them a “true blue” friend. For many years, blue was used within the insurance and financial industries as a result of this association. Think for a minute of the many insurance companies and banks that you know who primarily use the color blue in their logo.

#3 – Some colors have cultural connotations to be aware of

In an increasingly multicultural world, it’s important to be aware that certain colors mean different things in different cultures. Depending on who you’re marketing to, it may be useful to explore the meaning of your brand’s colors from a variety of cross-cultural perspectives to make sure that the message you’re sending is the message you intend to send.

#4 – If you’re looking at two colors together, make sure they don’t communicate a message bigger than the sum of their parts.

Here’s what I mean about this. The color red as mentioned earlier suggests passion and energy. The color green suggests vibrance, life, fertility and abundance. Now these are concepts that would work well together. However, if you put red and green together, you’re very likely to have someone thinking either of the Christmas holidays or the flags of either Italy or Mexico.

#5 – Don’t forget to check your competitors’ logo and color scheme.

Unless you want to look like a knockoff of your competition, it’s important to make sure that you’re not mimicking the overall look or color scheme of your competitors’ logos. This is easy to mess if you don’t take a second to compoare your proposed logo and color scheme with others.

This is only scratching the surface – there are a ton of issues to be aware of when it comes to choosing a color scheme for your brand.

What are your favorite tips having to do with choosing a color palate for your brand? Leave a comment below!

30 Comments

  1. Excellent points on choosing a color scheme, Edmund. So many good ones to consider.

    Love #1 on choosing a dominant color (you should know I've chosen orange!) as so many go on color overload. No need for the whole rainbow!

    Designer Rob Russo recently posted..Hot Tip for Direct Selling Business EntrepreneursMy Profile

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    • Right! No need for the whole rainbow. =) It's good that you have already chosen a dominant color that will represent your branding.

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  2. The artwork used for this selection immediately caught my eye when I noticed the posting on Facebook.  I'm immediately drawn to rainbow colors. Your words, Edmund, remind me to pay attention to the verbal and nonverbal messages that I package … and encourage me to be consider if the message I'm sending is the message I intend to send in the first place. Thank you for valuable information.

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    • You're welcome! I'm glad it came in handy.

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  3. Colors and their meanings are fascinating.  Many people (including myself) choose their colors on what THEY like or based on their favorite team's colors.  But colors say so much more. The red and green examples were perfect!

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    • Yeah you're right! Colors say so much more. 

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  4. Great post and interesting points. I didn't really give that much thought to mine but I'm glad it works well! 

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    • Thank! I'm glad that all is well on your end. 

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  5. Great tips, Edmund. This is a topic near and dear to my heart. I spend a lot of time with clients working on appropriate business colors. One thing I would add is to make sure you are choosing colors that will be appealing to your desired customers and not just your personal taste. Sometimes they can be pretty far apart and it can be a tough sell.

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    • Excellent point! Thanks for sharing your two cents about it. 

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  6. Interesting information. I am in the process of rebranding and was just asked today if I am going to stay with my current colors. I never considered what green and purple meant other than I liked them together. After some discussion, I do think we are staying with them especially now that I know green represents abundance…who can argue with that???? 🙂

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    • Thanks! Looking forward to hearing more about your rebranding. 

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  7. I just went through this with my new site!

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    • Care to share what happened? I would love to hear more about it. =)

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  8. Interesting post! The colors you choose for your brand would definitely contribute to how people would be able to recognize your brand. Is there such a thing called as “lucky color” for every brand?

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    • I'm not sure about that one. I'm not familiar when it comes to lucky colors. =)

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  9. Edmund, I reallly liked this post. Good suggestions and insight…much psychology within color:)

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    • You're welcome!

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  10. Brilliant and timely! I'm helping a client rebrand her site (and her business) and red is totally wrong for her desire to shift her business to caregiving. She'll get the link to this blog! Thanks so much, Edmund. Well done!

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    • I'm glad that this article came in handy. Feel free to share the link. =)

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  11. Great article, Edmund.  As an artit, I am very aware of color and how you can use it to convey a feeling or message.  So nice to see such great information here.  Thank you!

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    • Thanks for the kind words Theresa. I really appreciate it.

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  12. Great post Edmund.  I love this topic.   Thanks for sharing.

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    • Welcome!

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  13. This is valuable points. i will remember this points

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  14. HI Edmund! I really never gave color a whole lot of thought, this was ver interesting. Thanks for sharing.. Chery 🙂

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    • You're welcome Chery!

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  15. Colors can also be used to reflect whom you are.  So if you're vibrant and full of life then use bright colors, especially if your brand is you.  Take care and thanks Edmund!

    Devon

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    • That's a good point Devon!

      You take care as well my friend. 

      Reply

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