One of the most common pain points I hear among creative entrepreneurs when it comes to their branding has to do with creating a color palette that resonates with their ideal clients. And I get it, friend! Finding the perfect way to share your brand’s personality through your visuals is… challenging, to say the least. If this is something you’ve struggled with, then I am here to tell you about something incredibly cool that may just ease your color-palette-pains: color psychology.
Maybe you’ve heard of it, or perhaps this is an entirely new concept to you! Either way, 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.
A Note a Color Psychology
First things first, I think it’s important to clarify that, when we talk about the psychology of color, we’re exploring the overall perception that consumers have in association with these colors.
It’s a common misconception that color is universally experienced the same way by all viewers. In reality, every individual brings a different experience, worldview, set of values, and more to the table! Thus, there’s no ONE way to universally categorize the way people feel when they look at any given color.
Today, we’re going to be studying how color affects a brand’s perception—the way your ideal clients or customers feel when they see your brand’s colors in action.
How to Make Strategic Use of Color Psychology in Your Business & Brand
Color, when used strategically, can reinforce the personality, aesthetic, and experience that you want your brand to portray to your ideal clients. On the other hand, if used improperly, it can cause confusion or dilute the potential of your brand’s visual reach. When exploring all the many options of colors to incorporate into your brand’s primary palette, it’s important to consider two things:
- How these colors represent the personality of your brand.
- How these colors can be perceived by your ideal client.
Now, let’s establish some guidelines for creating a color palette that will reinforce the brand message you’re striving to communicate.
Prompts to Ponder
When creating a color palette, context matters. Here are a few quick prompts to get you thinking, friend:
- How do you want people to feel when they come across your brand? What emotional response do you want your ideal client to have upon seeing your work?
- Which values do you want people to recognize within your brand?
- What overall experience do you want people to have when they come into any sort of contact with your brand?
Based on your answers to these questions, you can make a more informed decision about the type of colors you should weave throughout your visuals and the context in which you use each of them.
It’s worth noting that this is EXACTLY what I do as a brand designer and strategist! One key aspect of my job is to strategically examine your ideal client profile and brand goals, and to then choose a palette of hues and tones that align properly to those goals. As a designer and strategist, I’m always thinking through these components in order to create the most strategic and intentional palettes for my branding clients, palettes that will represent their brands and empower them to achieve their goals. I take that work off your plate altogether, so you can experience maximized results without any guesswork.
Color Psychology in Practice:
Remember who you’re designing for
Here’s an important reminder for you, friend: you are NOT designing your brand for yourself.
Let me say that again: you are not designing your brand for yourself! When creating your visual brand—whether on your own or with the help of a professional designer—you should not be designing with your personal preferences or specific tastes in mind.
Rather, you should be striving to create a visual presence that speaks directly to your ideal client! So, while it may be tempting to create a color palette that includes all of your personal favorite shades, you truly want to be pulling in colors that reflect the overall aesthetic, emotion, and experience of your brand.
The Core of a Color Palette
Creating a strong color palette starts with understanding the core colors you need. Having a varied color palette may sound amazing (colors from all across the color wheel speak to you, so why not find a use for each of them?). In reality, though, it’s just going to confuse your audience to see 20 different colors incorporated into one visual brand. It’s important to narrow down specific colors for your brand in order to keep things clear and consistent. With this in mind, we’ll focus on creating a palette made up of only the key colors we need to speak to our ideal client.
Practically speaking, I’ve found that palettes including 4-6 colors create visual consistency, give my clients a variety of hues that can serve them well, and add depth to their visual brand. But how do I come up with which 4-6 colors to use? Here’s a quick list to help you narrow it down:
- NEUTRALS: I’ll typically pull in at least two neutral colors, one dark and one light for contrast.
- ACCENT(S): Then, I’ll add in at least one accent color that makes the palette pop and creates visual interest.
- COORDINATION: Finally, I’ll pull in one coordinating color that supports the palette as a whole.
This combination results in a well-rounded palette that enables my clients to weave a variety of shades throughout their visual presence, organically capturing their ideal client’s attention both online and in-person.
What’s Your (Color Palette) Type? Here are the options…
When it comes to types of color palettes, there are three main options I choose between. First, we could opt for a monochromatic palette, one that is built from varying shades from one core color. Shades of grey and white would be considered a monochromatic palette, given that it’s built around the core color black.
Second, there are analogous palettes, which are made up of colors that are found next to each other on the color wheel. Shades of red, orange, and yellow would be one example of this! Shades of purple, blue, and green would be another.
Lastly, we could create a complementary color palette, which pulls in colors that are opposite from each other on the color wheel.
As you may have gathered already, color is so much more complex than simply what you’re loving on Pinterest lately. Color theory is a detailed field of study that heavily influences the way professional designers create. We could easily spend days talking through the psychology of color! But for now, I hope this helps you think differently about how to create an effective palette for your brand.
Need some help crafting a palette that truly connects with your ideal clients? FRIEND, I’VE GOT YOU!
If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the thought of narrowing the infinite number of colors down to just 4-6 that will effectively communicate the aesthetic, emotion, and experience of your brand… don’t you worry, my dear! I’m here to help.
As a brand designer and strategist with over nine years of experience, I am quite literally a pro at strategically crafting visual brand elements (including color palettes!) that are intentionally designed to attract your dreamy ideal clients and empower you to achieve your goals.
If you’re dreaming about the results a cohesive and strategic color palette could bring to your business but don’t have the time or capacity to play around and experiment, then friend, let’s chat! I would be delighted to work with you to create a fully custom brand to intentionally, strategically meet your goals. This done-for-you experience takes all the guesswork out of things like color palettes, logo design, and more. It would be such an honor to partner with you to take your brand to heartfelt new heights!
If you’re ready to create an intentional, profitable brand, then I’m here to help you, friend. I’m currently booking clients for 2021 and would love to help you make this coming season your best yet.