As a marketing specialist, I understand the importance of choosing the right colors for your brand. It can be one of the most fun parts of creating (or revising) your branding. And is often one of the first places I start with when working with clients.
Colors play a significant role in how people perceive your business and can evoke certain emotions and associations. In this post, I will share some tips on how to choose colors for your brand.
Using Colors in Your Brand
It’s fun to understand the meaning behind different colors. Each color has its own set of connotations and can evoke certain emotions in people. For example, blue is often associated with trust, stability, and security, making it a great choice for financial institutions or healthcare companies – which you often see. On the other hand, red is associated with energy, excitement, and passion, making it a great choice for sports teams or fast food restaurants.
industry or niche
When choosing colors for your brand, consider the industry or niche you’re in and the emotions you want to evoke in your audience, specifically, what colors they will respond to. For example, if you’re targeting a younger audience, you may want to choose more vibrant and bold colors, while if you’re targeting an older audience, you may want to choose more subdued and neutral colors.
But you know your audience the best and what they like, so definitely pick colors that you know they’ll connect with and that you love.
Another thing to consider when choosing colors for your brand is the psychology of color. Different colors can evoke different emotions and reactions, so it’s good to understand how they can be used to influence behavior. For example, red is often used to create a sense of urgency and to encourage impulse buying, while blue is often used to create a sense of calm and tranquility – like our examples above.
The Meaning of Colors
Here is a list of 10 common colors and a brief explanation of their meanings:
- Red: Symbolizes energy, excitement, and passion, also associated with danger, anger, and love.
- Blue: Stands for trust, stability, and security, also associated with calmness, sadness, and loyalty.
- Green: Symbolizes growth, harmony, and nature, also associated with envy, health, and wealth.
- Yellow: Is for happiness, optimism, and caution, also associated with caution, cowardice, and joy.
- Orange: Symbolizes enthusiasm, creativity, and warmth, also associated with autumn.
- Purple: Symbolizes luxury, royalty, and spirituality, also associated with wisdom, creativity, and mystery.
- Pink: Is the color of love, femininity, and sweetness, also associated with childhood, femininity, and romance.
- Black: Symbolizes power, elegance, and mystery, also associated with mourning, and formality.
- White: Refers to purity, innocence, and simplicity, also associated with peace, safety, and cleanliness.
- Gray: Symbolizes neutrality, balance, and professionalism, also associated with age, dignity, and formality.
Note that the meanings of colors might be different for different cultures, time, and context, and different colors can evoke different emotions and associations. For example, pink or purple are very common for women to use in their branding because those are colors they love and use often in clothing, accessories, images and more.
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Using Color in Your Logo
Once you’ve chosen the colors for your brand, it’s important to use them consistently across all marketing materials, including your logo. Your logo is often the first thing that consumers see when they come across your brand, so it’s important to make sure it’s visually appealing and easy to recognize.
I tell clients that as long as your colors and fonts are consistent, you can use your logo in a variety of ways. When I do branding for clients, I make up a logo suite like this one so that they can use the logo in whatever ways they need to.
When it comes to using colors in your logo, it’s important to keep in mind the balance and contrast of the colors. Usually we see around two to three colors in a logo, which gives a nice balance, and makes sure that they complement each other well.
But this is no hard and fast rule – you can make your color pallet whatever you want it to be!
Also, it’s important to consider the background color of your logo, as well as the colors of the text and other elements, to ensure that it’s easy to read and that the colors don’t clash. Most of the time you’ll see a logo on a white background. So make sure to get it in different colors (including white) from your designer so you can use it in different ways.
How Many Colors to Pick
This is up to you! But what I generally suggest is to create a color pallet of at least 5 colors. When I do branding work for clients, I usually pick a color pallet of 9-10 colors. This is for various reasons:
- So they have all of their primary/favorite colors included
- To fulfill a website’s color pallet (if they have one or create one in the future)
- To have color varieties in different shades and contrasts
- To have colors for backgrounds, elements, and accents in any kind of design they might want to create
Most of the color pallets that I make look like this, which is an example of a brand board I created for a client. You can use a brand board template on Canva to get this.
How to choose colors
When making a decision on the colors for your brand, it’s important to consider the psychological factors of color. As previously mentioned, different colors can evoke different emotions and reactions in consumers, so it’s important to understand how they can be used to influence behavior.
Another important factor to consider is the cultural and historical context of the color. Different cultures have different meanings and associations with colors. For example, in Western cultures, white is often associated with purity, innocence, and simplicity, while in Eastern cultures, white is associated with mourning.
what you like
While I talk about all kinds of considerations here about branding colors, what’s most important is that you like the colors and they are an accurate representation of you and your business.
It’s important to understand how your target audience perceives the colors you choose and how they might be associated with different meanings and emotions. Additionally, it’s also important to consider how the colors you choose will look on different backgrounds, in different lighting conditions, and on different types of screens (web, mobile, print) to ensure that the colors will be consistent across all platforms.
how will it be used
Once you’ve found inspiration for your brand colors, it’s important to test them out in different contexts. This will help you understand how the colors will look in different lighting conditions, on different backgrounds, and in different formats.
- Create a color palette: Try different color combinations and create a color palette that includes different shades and tones of your main color. This will ensure that you have a range of colors to use in different contexts and situations.
- Test in different contexts: Print out different versions of your branding with different colors and see how they look in different lighting conditions and on different backgrounds. This will give you a better understanding of how the colors will appear in different environments and situations.
- Get feedback: Ask for feedback from friends, family, and colleagues, and ask them how the colors make them feel. This can give you a better understanding of how the colors will be perceived by your target audience.
Where to Get Color Inspiration
When it comes to finding inspiration for the colors of your brand, there are a few different sources you can turn to:
- Nature: Nature is a great source of inspiration for colors. Take a look at different landscapes, flowers, and plants to get an idea of the colors that are naturally pleasing to the eye.
- Competitors: Take a look at your competitors’ branding to see what colors they’re using. This can give you an idea of what colors are popular in your industry and what colors to avoid.
- Color psychology: If you want to evoke specific emotions or feelings with your colors, you can refer to color psychology. It’s a study of the relationship between colors and how they evoke emotions in people.
- Color wheel: The color wheel is a tool that can help you understand the relationship between colors. It can be used to identify which colors complement each other and which colors clash.
- Online color tools: There are many online color tools that can help you find inspiration for your brand colors. Some examples are Adobe Color, Color Hunt, and Coolors.
- Your Wardrobe: Look at the colors you wear the most, you might find that you have a preference for certain colors.
- Pinterest images: Search for images that match your brand’s aesthetic and look at the color pallets used.
- Other brands you like: Study the color schemes used by other brands you admire and like.
- Historical and cultural context: Look into the historical and cultural context of color. What are popular colors you see in new technology products, clothing, Instagram posts and on Pinterest.
- Test in different contexts: Print out different versions of your branding with different colors and see how they look in different lighting conditions and on different backgrounds.
How to Use the Color Picker on Canva
You probably use Canva to create designs for your brand, so when you are in a design, here are some tips on picking colors and editing them.
- Select the element you want to change the color of: To change the color of an element, you must first select it by clicking on it. This will bring up the color picker in the editing menu.
- Use the color wheel to select a color: The color wheel allows you to select a color by adjusting the hue, saturation, and brightness. You can also use the color wheel to create a custom color by adjusting the RGB or HEX values.
- Use the color palette to select a color: The color palette allows you to choose from a range of pre-set colors. You can also create a custom color by adjusting the RGB or HEX values.
- Use the eyedropper tool to select a color: The eyedropper tool allows you to select a color from an image or other element on your canvas. Simply click on the eyedropper tool and then click on the color you want to select.
- Save custom colors: Once you’ve created a custom color, you can save it to your color palette by clicking on the “Save color” button. This will allow you to easily access the color again in the future.
- Use the color history: The color history allows you to keep track of the colors you’ve used recently, making it easy to go back and use them again.
- Use the color blending option: The color blending option allows you to blend two or more colors together to create a unique color.
- Use the color adjustment option: The color adjustment option allows you to adjust the brightness, contrast, and saturation of the color you’ve selected.
- Use the color lock option: The color lock option allows you to lock the color of an element so that it can’t be changed accidentally.
By following these tips, you can easily work with the color picker in Canva and create beautiful designs.
So, what do you think? I hope this makes you feel more confident in understanding where you can get color inspiration from, what it can mean for your brand, and how you’ll decide on the colors you’ll use for your branding and business!