Colour is the fun part of a brand, right? From black to a luminous yellow — a colour can say A LOT about a brand, but first of all — it has to start with you. Legit, what is your fave colour? What colour makes you happy when you look at it? What do you wear the most? What colour are your nails? What colour is your phone case? What colour surrounds you at home? Your brand colour(s) need to represent YOU and your identity.
Next, you need to understand the meaning behind colour. There is a whole psychology to branding colours and it’s important to understand what different ones signify. Why? Because different colours conjure different moods and emotions — and yours need to reflect your creative identity.
The below list was taken from 99 Designs, take a look and see what colour aligns with you and your creative mission:
- Red — Red stands for passion, excitement and anger. It can signify importance and command attention.
- Orange — Orange stands for playfulness, vitality and friendliness. It is invigorating and evokes energy.
- Yellow — Yellow evokes happiness, youth and optimism, but can also seem attention-grabbing or affordable.
- Green — Green evokes stability, prosperity, growth and a connection to nature.
- Light Blue — A light shade of blue exudes tranquillity, trust, openness. It can also signify innocence.
- Dark Blue — Dark blue stands for professionalism, security and formality. It is mature and trustworthy.
- Purple — Purple can signify royalty, creativity and luxury.
- Pink — Pink stands for femininity, youth and innocence. It ranges from modern to luxurious.
- Brown — Brown creates a rugged, earthy, old-fashioned look or mood.
- White — White evokes cleanliness, virtue, health or simplicity. It can range from affordable to high-end.
- Grey — Grey stands for neutrality. It can look subdued, classic, serious, mysterious or mature.
- Black — Black evokes a powerful, sophisticated, edgy, luxurious and modern feeling.
For example the luxury brand Tiffany wouldn't choose a colour like red for their branding, would they? According to the list, a light blue 'exudes tranquillity, trust, openness' whereas red is 'passionate' and attention-grabbing. I think that is pretty bang on for the brand wouldn't you say? Now think about brands and their colour choice and you will see it in a whole new world. I don't know about you but I think it's pretty fascinating!
So you like green, where do you start?
GET SOME COLOUR INSPO
There are lots of sites to get you inspired by colour! Have a browse, see what jumps out at you and save down for later. My fave sites are:
'Ye old faithful. Browse and pin Honey. Browse and pin.
- Design Inspiration
This is one of my fave secret sites as you can search imagery by colour.
- Adobe Colour
If you have Adobe Suite this is another hidden gem. The best feature is that you can create, browse and explore trends. You can also export the colour swatch and directly add to you Adobe
No, I haven't spelt it wrong! This is quite a complex site, but super fun when you get your head around it. I would always recommend using Adobe Colour, but you don't have Adobe then this would be the alternative.
PICK A PRIMARY COLOUR
Ideally, you need to pick one colour that will be associated with your brand, for FYI, it's pink! Take a look at the above list to finalise your initial choice. So let's say you are set on yellow — now what? Everyone will have their own way of picking colours, but personally, I love to see a design in action as opposed to just exploring colour pallets like this. I would head over to once of the sites above and find all sorts of yellow imagery.
Picking from imagery is also great as you will see the colour used alongside other complementary or contrasting colours. Once I have found a colour that I love, I will directly colour pick from there and develop from the steps below.
SELECT A SECONDARY COLOUR
You ideally want to pick 2-4 brand colours. For example, FYI has 4:
FYI Primary Colours
FYI Secondary Colours
Black, White, Orange
So how do you pick 1-4?! If are using the aforementioned colour picking method through imagery, there will most likely already be a range of colours used that complement each other. For example, take the image below, here I have used Adobe Colour to extract the colour values from this image. The designer of this has already created a colour combo that we can see really works! So let's use it. The pink, black, blue and yellow work perfectly together and the rest of the colours don't really align with my identity. So I would disregard the green, yellow and red.
TOP TIP: If you have Adobe Colour you can do this instantly from an image by adding your image to Extract Theme. You can save out as a .JPG or add to your colour libraries.
HOW TO GENERATE SECONDARY COLOURS
Let's go back to school! In theory, to pick secondary complementary colours you should use the colour wheel (see below) and pick the OPPOSITE colour. This is a great starting point but also see what colours other brands, designers and artists are using with your chosen colour and see what jumps out at you...
TOP TIP: Canva has a great colour wheel tool which can help you establish a colour palette, but please do the tests below as sometimes they are not always the best combos. You have to put in a little bit of groundwork and research without relying on online tools.
TEST, TEST, TEST
When you think you have found your brand colours — TEST, TEST, TEST. The key to perfect complementary brand colours is that they work perfectly together and do not jar. I can't stand it when I see colours that feel 'sickly' when you look at them! You now when you look at something and it makes you feel a bit dizzy? That's what we want to avoid. For example left image = bad, right image = good.
TOP TIP: You know when you have the perfect colour combo as they will work perfectly when flipped — so blue on pink, pink on blue. Get testing!
You need to test your brand colours in all mediums, from digital to print. You want your colours to work perfectly from an icon to a billboard. For digital, try an Insta post, banner on your website or Gmail icon. For print, you can just print it out and see how they look - go one step further and see how it works as a business card.
TOP TIP: Coolors has something called a 'Contrast Checker' tool which will check out desired colours and give you a score.
Got a question or wanna know more about this Honey? Drop it in the FB Group! We will be waiting for you!