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Brand Identity: A Guide to Choosing and Using Brand Colors

Brand Identity: A Guide to Choosing and Using Brand Colors

The best marketers understand the profound impact of the subconscious mind on the decision-making process. Whether choosing a product from a grocery store shelf or selecting a business vendor, implicit advertising significantly influences our decisions. Among the most subconscious influential elements are a brand's color and logo, which can instantly evoke brand recognition.

Defining Your Brand

Brand colors are more than a pleasing color palette. Your brand colors should visually articulate the personality and essence of your brand. To establish this identity, try exercises that define your brand. These exercises help you figure out your brand's distinct personality, guiding you to pick the right logo, color palette, and visuals.

  • Personify your brand. For example, imagine your brand is an individual attending a cocktail party. Picture it – is it the quiet intellectual that shocks everyone with a dance move, or the one who stays late to clean up the mess? Now, think of kids on the playground – is your brand the rugged one not afraid to get dirty, or the kid braiding everyone's hair?

  • Define what your brand is NOT. By thinking about descriptors that don’t match your brand, you’ll be able to better understand what attributes do align with it.

  • Focus on your target customer. Understanding your target customer's demographics, lifestyle, and communication style is crucial. Use your imagination and get specific to create the perfect target customer. How do they talk? What do they do in their free time? Where do they work?
  • Consider the end goal. Finally, envision the emotional resposne you want your product or service to elicit from users. Will they feel sophisticated, relieved, inspired, or organized?

Using the above exercises, compile lists of attributes and desired emotions associated with your brand, using them as guiding principles for logo, color palette, and other visual elements.

Researching the Psychology of Color

Before selecting colors, delve into the psychology of color. Different colors evoke distinct energies and emotions. For example, red conveys energy and passion, while blue symbolizes calmness and reliability. Consider color combinations and their implications, as they contribute to the overall perception of your brand.

Explore how colors influence perception and behavior, aligning this knowledge with your brand's intended message. Awareness of color psychology enhances your ability to strategically choose colors that resonate with your audience.

Finding Inspiration

Analyze brands you admire across various industries to discern effective color schemes. Evaluate what their colors convey about the brand's identity. Also survey the color palettes of competitors to avoid similarities while exploring different color families.

Variations in hues, shades, and combinations provide a myriad of options. With a strong brand identity, you can establish unique colors and combinations that align with your brand essence.

Choosing Your Brand Colors

Now that you've defined your brand, conducted research, and gathered inspiration, it's time to select your brand's unique color scheme. A typical color scheme includes two primary colors (base and accent) and around three supporting colors. Align each color with the attributes and emotions identified earlier.

Consider using color theory or associating colors with objects that evoke the desired feelings. Ensure cohesiveness between primary and secondary colors, with at least one neutral shade for backgrounds. Leverage online tools, such as color palettes and collage creators, to refine your color choices.

Creating Color Brand Guidelines

After selecting your brand colors, list them in CMYK, RGB, HEX, and PMS formats for easy application across various mediums. Develop brand color guidelines specifying when to use each color consistently. Primary colors are typically reserved for headers and logos, while secondary colors may have specific applications in text or backgrounds.

Incorporate your brand colors consistently across all materials, including logos, signage, printed marketing materials, websites, store designs, advertisements, packaging, and social media. These guidelines ensure a cohesive and recognizable brand identity, leaving a lasting impression on your audience.

We know that effective communication extends beyond words. The strategic selection and consistent application of brand colors play a pivotal role in forging a distinctive brand identity. By meticulously defining your brand, understanding color psychology, seeking inspiration, and creating comprehensive guidelines, you can establish a visually compelling and memorable brand presence across diverse touchpoints. In the end, it's not just what you say, but how you say it, and color serves as an indispensable tool in leaving a vivid and lasting impression.

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