Brand Colours
April 9, 2021
Written by Scott Lancaster

How to create a colour palette for your brand

Branding articles, how to build a brand, building a brand, starting a brand.

So how do we design a memorable brand color palette?

A brand colour scheme (or palette) is a selection of colours that is used consistently across everything a brand does. This includes the company’s website, logo, social media banners and adverts, just to name a few. Using a colour palette has huge benefits for any type of business.

Be like Tiffany & Co

Firstly, colours can help customers create a specific first impression or perception of the brand. Different colours can represent certain emotions and messages which customers have sub-conscious connections with, such as red symbolising happiness, purple being connected with royalty or blue being associated with trust. This can be useful for any company, as it can help you give a sense of your brands character simply by selecting a certain colour to use within your colour palette.

Another great advantage of having a brand colour scheme is that over time customers can become familiar with them. Much like Tiffany and Co, customers know the product is from the brand simply by recognising the colour of the packaging. This can be really powerful. Imaging customers noticing you before your competitors simply by the colour you use. This can be hugely useful for any business in any industry.

Colours can be really handy in helping you stand out in your market too. For example, many tech companies (for some reason) often choose blue as their main colour within their palette. There is obviously good reason for this, as blue is often associated with trust. This is due to the connection with police being blue and also seen as authority figures, therefore blue is also seen as being trustworthy and credible. However, this also gives opportunity to other companies using other colours. For example, if most other companies are opting for blue and one company selects red, which logo do you think you'd notice first?

Now this isn't essential, but like Tiffany & Co, you can also find a unique colour to help you stand out in the market and also stick in your customer's mind.

Tiffany & Co color palette
Tiffany & Co have been pioneering their shade of blue for over 100 years. Consistency is key to ensuring your colours can be related to your company and what your brand stands for


The difference between dominant and accent colours

Next we’re going to explain dominant and accent colours in really simple terms. Ideally, you should choose 5 colours for your brand colour palette. This would include 2 dominant colours and 3 accent colours. 

Dominant colours are your main colours. Your first choice should be the colour to help you be remembered. The second should simply look good beside and compliment the first. Your two dominant colours should be two different shades of the same colour (for example, two different types of green that look good together).

Accent colours have two important roles to play. One accent colour should be used as a highlighter. This means creating contrast and standing out when used beside both dominant colours. We have included a helpful table below to show which colours tend to contrast well with others.

The remaining two accent colours should be more neutrals or lighter shades, allowing the other three colours to do most of the work. These colours could be whites, light greys or even very light tones of your dominant colours. For example, if your 2 dominant colours are tones of green, a really light pastel green could work well. In the next stage, we're going to show you how to check if different colours work together.

how to create a brand color palette, brand color palette
Generally, a brand colour palette should have 5 colours. 2 dominant colours working together, and three accent colours. One of your accent colours needs to contract well and work with your dominant colours. The remaining two accent colours should simply be nice light neutral colours.


Creating your own brand colour scheme

So now we know how many colours we need and the types of colours we are looking for, now it’s time to make your own brand colour palette. 

Just follow our simple steps and you’ll have your amazing brand colour palette faster then you know it. On that note, let’s get started. 

Step 1

Now the trick to creating your colour scheme is first knowing what colour you’re looking for. Don’t worry about the exact shade or tone at the moment, we will come to that later and it's really simple. This stage is simply to select a colour that is relevant to your business and product offering. 

We have attached a table of colours below this section of text. As you can see, different colours are linked with a range of emotions and associations. Now, it’s important not to overthink at this stage. There is no secret formula. You simply need to use this table as a guide. It is simply good to use, but not essential. To be completely honest, along as you select a colour that ‘feels’ right and is relevant for your business, you can’t go far wrong. 

Once you have your colour selected, its time to make your brand colour palette. 

Step 2

Visit https://coolors.co/ and click the ‘Start the generator, it’s free button’. 

You'll then be brought to a page where you can see five different colours. If you press the spacebar, you’ll see these colours change. This is the tool we are going to use to create your brand colour palette.

If at any point you get lost or unsure, simply watch our video at the beginning of the article to help guide you and show you how to use the tool more clearly.

what colors go with which, best color combinations
We have brought together a helpful table to show you which colours generally contrast well with others. This will help you finding your first accent colour (the highlighter colour which should contrast well). If you still aren't sure, make sure you watch our video at the beginning of the article to help you.

Step 3

Let’s pretend the colour you felt best represented your brand is green. This colour should help you secure your 2 dominant colours. 

Let's search for your main dominant colour first. Simply press the space bar until you find a green that looks and feels right. Once you find it, drag the colour to the far left and press the little lock button to save it. You can do this using the little icons in the middle of each bar of colour.

Next we’re looking for a complimentary colour which works well with the main dominant colour we’ve just locked in. If you’re not sure, just place it beside your saved colour and see how it looks. Do this until you have two dominant colours that feel right. 

Important: Make sure you lock in each colour after finding one you like. This will keep your confirmed colours safe. If you happen to accidentally lose a colour you like, you can press the undo button near the top fo the screen go back and find the colour again.

Step 4

Now, for your 3 accent colours. So if you remember, one accent colour should contrast nicely with your two dominant colours you have locked in already. So make sure your two dominant colours are locked in, and press space until you have your highlighting accent colour. Make sure you use the table we provided earlier if you aren't sure which colours will contrast well with others. But also make sure you experiment and see what works best. Gut feel is really powerful here. You may not be a designer, but anyone can see what colours 'feel' right together. Just experiment until you find something that works well in your eyes or even ask an artistic friend for their opinion if you aren't sure.

Again, make sure you pull it close to your 2 dominate colours to see if it works before locking it in. It should look good beside your 2 dominant colours, but it should also stand out and be a little different. 

Once you have your highlighting colour, the final two colours are far easier. They should be very light and neutral. Colours like light grey, off whites, pure whites and really light tones of your dominant colour will work just great. Remember, these colours are meant to be used as backgrounds, allowing your two dominant colours and highlighter colour to do all the work.

Once you have them, that’s it! Congratulations, you officially have your new brand colour palette!

what do colors mean, best colour for my brand, colour psychology
Different colours are loosely associated with certain emotions and feeling which you can use to encourage new customers to perceive your brand in a certain way. Use this table above to help you choose what colour you'd like to base your dominant colours around. However, don't over think this. These are just to help guide you make a decision.

How to save your brand colours safely

Now to save your colours so you have them forever, there are a few ways you can do this. However, the best way is also the easiest.

Simply press export near the top right hand corner of the page once you have all your colours locked in, then click PDF and save it securely to your computer.

That's it! You can now use those codes to ensure the colours you use are always consistant and on brand. The HEX code is the most commonly used, but different designers and softwares use different versions, so simply make sure you keep all of them safe, just incase.

Key Takeaways

  • A colour scheme can help you stand out in the market place and become more distinctive.
  • Your customers are more likely to remember you if you use your colour palette consistently over time.
  • Using certain colours can help your new customers create a positive perception of your brand at first sight.
  • You should use 2 dominant colours and 3 accent colours. One accent colour should contrast well with your dominant colours, but also compliment them too.

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