So what’s all this talk on color palette’s anyways? What even is a color palette?!?
Quite simply, a color palette is a set of colors that has been chosen to coincide with your brand, and (hopefully) blend well together as to not distract your customer/viewer. If you think about some of the bigger companies in this world, can you think of any colors associated with their brand? Let’s take a quick look:
Here we can see a few examples where each company has associated their brand with a set of specific colors, which they carry with them wherever they go. And this is important to understand, that not only they HAVE the colors, but that they USE them everywhere. Let’s see why that’s so important.
Maybe you could imagine what these companies would look like if their brand logo’s, advertisements, banners, promotional material, etc. were all just black and white, or even the same colors. Not only would your impression be less impactful, you also would be confused with each company looking the same.
You may think that we associate these companies with their name, and you’d be partly correct. But you are missing a very important part here, and that’s how they express their brand in colors. There is actual science behind how human beings react to colors, and you can follow that link to see an in-depth article about how all that works.
Before moving on, I’d like to point out that colors are not the only important aspect of the color theory pertaining to branding. There are also concepts like shade, saturation, contrast, and more that all have an impact. As you could also create associations with how the colors appear next to each other, not only which colors appear. Pretty awesome!
Okay, so we know why choosing a color palette is important, but how we do we decide on the colors, or shades, or any of it?
That’s where things become a little complicated, but also very subjective. You see, there are some basic color rules one could follow to possibly maximize their chances, like choosing the color RED for powerful brands, or BLUE for more chilled out branding. Possibly something like YELLOW if you’re trying to convey peace, or happiness.
Seen above we’re looking at some trends that you could possibly follow for your own business, but also add your own style to it. I think that using something like this is a good starting point, as it guides you in the general direction but things are looking different today.
It seems like some of the foundational concepts shown in the image above still hold true, but only so far. People still like brands that go outside the box, and maybe are different from everybody else. Take Google for example:
Here they don’t see to follow any of the “rules”, but rather use all of them! This is the idea I am talking about here, where you basically use the colors as a guide, but use them in a way that is different from all the others. A great example would be gradients, or using darker/lighter shades of the colors, maybe even combining multiple colors that are complete opposites!
Aside from finding your primary colors to show your brand off, you’ll also need to think about shades. As they’re very important when promoting material that requires a look that is similar enough that viewers don’t get overwhelmed or confused. Let’s take a look.
Shades + Continuity + Difference
First off, let’s state that shades in this context is basically the same color with different mixtures of colors at different brightness levels. So we can have blue, or green blue, or reddish blue, maybe even orangish blue.
This example is a color palette that uses blue and its shades, but really doesn’t include much else in terms of colors. This is not a bad thing of course, as it really depends on your brand, which is why I mentioned above that it’s all really subjective, as long as you don’t break some critical rules we discussed above. Here is a great example of a same shade color palette that works well:
Not only do we suggest out services (:P), but we also want to show you why we chose the style we did. As you can see, we have mostly the same blue, all within the appropriate shades. Maybe the only differences here are the slightly more purple graphic to create contrast, along with all the white to do the same.
Now that we see how shades and continuity go with each other, what about difference, what’s that about? Well, it has something to do with contrast, but it’s much more about making each of your brand’s colors stand apart from each other, as they are supposed to express different things depending on your companies/brand’s offering. It doesn’t always have to mean anything either, it can simply be that the colors complement each other, and look good as a whole. Examples!
You see different colors, but somehow they don’t clash and look like they belong together. This is a very powerful part of choosing a color palette, and the great thing about it is that you probably have the intuition to choose one yourself! It will be pretty obvious if some colors don’t fit well together, so you can usually go by eye when first starting out.
A useful tool that does all the work for you, and can actually help you become a little more sophisticated in your choices, is a Color Palette Generator, such as coolors.co. They basically allow you to generate a set of colors that have already been selected to fit well, and on top of that, you have the choice to choose palette’s that are trending or people like in general, giving you an advantage up!
So most of that wasn’t too technical, but could also be confusing if you don’t really understand why color are important. I am not a scientist, I don’t have all the answers to why colors do what they do. But I linked an article that discusses the topic in more detail, so I urge you to take a look. I am also sure that with some Googling, you’ll be able to find some much smarter people that discuss the topic in much more detail. After all, my goal here is to give you an idea, concepts, little parts of a much larger topic that enables you to go out and learn more.
Hopefully you enjoyed this, as as always, please let us know if you have any questions or would like to talk more about your brand. We offer a ton of services, and would be happy to work with you. Until next time, later!