Not all color is created equal, especially when it comes to branding.
Creating a stunning color palette for your brand isn’t just a matter of personal taste or your favorite colors.
Choosing a color combination for your brand, website, logo and all other types of visual content takes an understanding of the color wheel and the color relationships contained in the color wheel.
Once you understand the different color scheme standards and how the color wheel flows, you will be better equipped to create a truly versatile and stunning color palette that you can use in all of your branding and marketing material.
Before we dive into the different type of color palettes for branding let me quickly introduce you to the color wheel.
Here is the typical 12 spoke color wheel. This is the same color wheel that graphic designers, interior designers and fashion designers use. It’s THE authority on color relationships no matter where you’re using your color palette.
With this image front and center to refer to, let’s dive in!
Here Are The 5 Most Used Types Of Color Palettes For Branding (with examples of each):
1. MONOCHROMATIC COLOR PALETTES:
Color palettes that are shades (darker) or tints (lighter) of one color on the color wheel.
Monochromatic is one of the most popular color palettes used in branding but don’t think that means you’re going to look like everyone else.
Here are 3 examples of top notch uses of this “one color” palette.
Jason keeps it simple by using different shades of red to create contrast in his visual content, with a clean crisp white for the text.
Lou employs gradients and textures to create depth and contrast with his monochromatic blue color palette.
Andrea F. Patrick
Andrea uses purples of all different tones and shades across her branding, choosing specific ones for her backgrounds, action elements and icons.
2. COMPLEMENTARY COLOR PALETTES:
Color palettes that feature colors directly across from one another on the color wheel.
Complementary palettes are some of the most recognizable palettes (when done right), because of the striking complementary elements of the two colors and how they pop with the other.
You can spot a Rebekah Radice image a mile away because she stays consistent with her signature orange and blue color palette.
3. ANALOGOUS COLOR PALETTES:
Color palettes that feature colors that are next to each other on the color wheel.
Analogous palettes are one of the most versatile color palettes for branding because some find it easier to pair colors that share “warmer” qualities (orange, red, yellow) or “cooler” (purple, blue, green) qualities.
Pairing them uniquely can produce a stunning and incredibly recognizable look very quickly, as long as you keep things consistent.
Ande’s images are always “Andilicious” with the blue and purple gradient that she infuses in her visual content.
Tanya uses a similar color palette as Ande but she’s got a completely different way of using the blues and purples to create contrast in her images.
It’s important that you see that you CAN use a similar color palette to someone yet create a completely different signature look.
4. TRIAD COLOR PALETTES:
Color palettes that feature three colors that are equal distant from each other on the color wheel.
The toughest color palettes for branding are Triad ones because they can become busy….quickly.
The key is to keep one color more dominate and the others as accents for things like text or actions.
Elaine has employed a triad color scheme beautifully in branding her HOA “The Holy Shift Show”. She uses blue as her main color and bright red and yellow as accent colors to highlight her show title and her guests names and pictures.
She really brings your eyes where she wants it…on her title and guests, without you even realizing it.
5. NEUTRAL WITH A POP OF COLOR:
Color palettes that feature neutral colors with one bright or brilliant color that pops.
Neutral color palettes that feature a bright pop of color have become really popular in the last year and for good reason.
The largely neutral elements create a soft backdrop for the real star, the POP of color. Again this helps draw the readers eye to exactly what you want them to see.
It’s kind of like giving them a tram ride right to your front door. BAM!
Recently Peg redesigned/re-branded her website and it turned out super fem awe-maazing ( a very technical term). She uses softly lit and black and white photography with pops of her signature pink. We might have to start calling this “Peg’s Pink” she’s owning it so well!
Dustin W. Stout
Dustin is a guy that’s taken his branding color palette one “pop” further. Not only does he keep his color palette neutral with a pop of red but he’s famous for his signature red v-neck shirt that he can be found wearing in just about every piece of visual content he’s in.
That might actually be a snap, crackle and a POP! Either way it’s a pop at its finest.
Now, your color palette may end up a slight blend of two of the color palettes above and that’s ok!
The most important thing to keep in mind when creating your branding color palette is the type of color relationships that will be at work in your visual content. Meaning, you need varying degrees of colors for different visual elements. For instance, your body text needs to be dark on a light background OR light on a dark background.
You also need pops of color to accent or highlight different elements, like calls to actions, links, etc. Soooo, DON’T create a neutral monochromatic color palette when it comes to branding. Leave that to model home builders!
Here’s a few tips on color palettes for branding you need to be mindful of as you create your color palette.Color Your Way To Brand Recognition! Click To Tweet
You want to make sure your color palette meets the following requirements:
- ONE Dominant color (Primary color associated with your brand)
- ONE Primary Action Color (for calls to action, links and buttons)
- ONE Light Color (for fonts and backgrounds)
- ONE Dark Color (for fonts and backgrounds)
- TWO to THREE Accent Colors (to use in your images and on your website to interrupt your basic color scheme when you want to accentuate or highlight something special)
If you keep these best practices in mind and stay consistent with your defined color palette your brand recognition will come!
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