How to Create Your Brand Color Palette Strategically

August 21, 2017

So often I receive emails from boss ladies who are struggling to find the perfect way to share their brand’s personality through their visuals as they strive to reach their ideal clients. And one of the biggest frustrations they all have in common? Trying to figure out how to create a color palette that resonates with those they want to reach the most! And I get it, friend. Color, when used strategically, can reinforce the personality or vibe that you want your brand to portray to your ideal clients. But on the other hand, if used improperly, it can cause confusion or dilute the potential of your brand’s visual reach. So today, let’s take a minute to establish some helpful guidelines for creating your brand’s color palette in a way that reinforces the overall brand message you’re striving to communicate.

Before we dive into any “foolproof” strategies for choosing the perfect colors for your brand, it’s important to keep my cardinal rule for color palettes in mind — context matters. What do you want people to feel when they encounter your brand? What values do you want them to recognize within your brand? And what overall experience do you want them to receive when they come across your brand? All of these questions can help create the context to make a truly informed decision when it comes to the use of color.

When creating the color palette for your brand, I’ve found creating a strong palette starts with understanding the core colors you need. Although having a varied color palette sounds amazing, it may be confusing to your audience to see 20 different colors incorporated throughout one visual brand. For as much as I’m sure different colors from across the color wheel speak to you, it’s important to narrow down the specific colors you’ll use throughout your visual brand for consistency’s sake.

So to keep things cohesive, we’ll focus on creating a palette made up of only the key colors we need to speak to our ideal client. Because it’s important to remember that when you’re creating your visual branding or working with a professional designer to bring your brand to life, you aren’t designing with your preferences or specific tastes in mind. Instead, you should be striving to create a visual presence that speaks to your ideal client! So although it’s tempting to create a color palette that includes all of your favorite shades of copper, French blue, and grey, you truly want to be pulling in colors that reflect the overall aesthetic, emotion, and experience of your brand.

Practically speaking, I’ve found that creating palettes that include 4-6 colors creates visual consistency, gives my clients a variety of hues that can serve them well, and adds depth. On average, I’ll pull in at least two neutral colors, one dark and one light for contrast. Then, I’ll add in at least one accent color that makes the palette pop and creates visual interest. Finally, I’ll pull in one coordinating color that supports the palette as a whole. The result is a well-rounded palette that enables my clients to weave a variety of shades throughout their visual presence to organically capture their ideal client’s attention online and in person.

When it comes to choosing the type of color palette I’ll create for a client, there are all sorts of options we can incorporate. For example, we could opt for a monochromatic palette that’s built from varying shades from one core color. Shades of grey and white would be a monochromatic palette that’s ultimately built around the core color black.

There are also analogous palettes which are made up colors that are found next to each other on the color wheel. Shades of red, orange and yellow would be an example of this!

Or, we could create a complementary color palette which pulls in colors that are opposite from each other on the color wheel.

If you haven’t picked up on this theme just yet, color is so much more complex and strategic than simply the specific hues or shades that catch our eye. Color theory is a detailed field of study that heavily influences the way professional designers create, and although this post just scratches the surface of this topic, I hope it helps you think more intentionally about how you can create an effective palette for your brand!

Think that creating your perfect color palette is something you’d rather delegate to a trained pro? I got you, boss lady! Get in touch via my contact form to chat about working together to create your most purposeful and profitable brand yet. Just a handful of 2017 design spots remain!

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My name is Bonnie – I’m a brand designer, strategist, and writer which all adds up to one eclectic conglomeration of qualities that enables me to serve you well! Past clients have dubbed me "the Joanna Gaines of brand design," and I've had more than a few call me a dream maker, a game changer, and a design wizard (my Harry Potter-loving heart didn't hate that one, let me tell you!). At the end of the day, I'm a big-hearted creative who will get teary-eyed as you share the heart behind your business; who will lose sleep over the perfect font pairings and color selections to bring your brand to life visually; and who will work tirelessly to empower, encourage, and equip you to share your work with the world intentionally. 

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