Hey guys! I’ve gotten 3 emails in the past week asking for advice on how to pick a professional color palette for your brand & website.
As a designer who’s been doing for this years, I thought I’d give you some quick tips on how to choose your brand’s color palette (in 5 minutes or less).
Before we get started, I want you realize that you don’t have to over think this. Keep it simple and consistent, and over a period of time, your brand will be bumpin’! But to repeat that, it does take time. You can’t have a recognizable brand overnight! Consistency is key, so try not to change your color palette every time Mercury goes into retrograde ;)
Okay, first of all…
What the haillll is a brand color palette?
Your brand’s color palette defines the only colors that you use (other than in pictures) to design all marketing materials (both online or offline) for your brand. It isn’t a strictly enforced rule that these are the only colors you can use, but it’s highly recommended, especially if your brand isn’t super popular or easily recognizable (yet.) You want your website, social media, business cards and anything else you have for your business to match.
How many colors does a brand color palette include?
Some people choose only 3. I like to use 5. It totally depends on your preference and the overall vibe of your brand!
Sample Color Formulas:
3 Color Formula = 1 Main Color + 2 Accent Colors
Example: Coca Cola
5 Color Formula = 1 Main Color + 2 Accent Colors + 2 Neutrals or Backgrounds
Your brand color palette is there to attract your ideal audience, so please don’t just pick your favorite colors and call it a day!
The most important thing is that your brand appeals to your target market — you know, the ones who will be buying from you and keeping your business, well, in business. You’re making this palette to appeal to your target market and pull them into your business like a magnet on steroids. Oftentimes, people will “like” or “dislike” a brand based on just the color palette alone! (And it’s not surprising!)
Okay, here’s the official steps to choosing your brand’s color palette in just 5 minutes:
- Decide which vibe you’re going for. In other words, how do you want your customers to feel when they land on your website? Fun? Relaxed? Excited? Creative? Trusting? Understood? Peaceful? It all depends on your target market and what you’re trying to sell. Take a look at the chart below to learn what feelings these colors represent to the average viewer.
- Find Your Palette. You’re likely not going to bust out a That’s So Raven type vision that leads to you coming up with the perfect color palette on your own, so start looking for inspiration using the following:
(Photo Cred: http://jasonathen.com)
Design Seeds – http://design-seeds.com
These palettes are designed by professionals for people just like you. The work is already done, just grab a palette you like!
Adobe Color – https://color.adobe.com/
Adobe Color is an amazing program created by designers to help you choose your perfect color palette. It allows you to explore existing palettes, create your own or grab an exact palette from a magazine or photo. Here’s how to do it…
By clicking the explore tab at the top, you can browse through hundreds of pre-made palettes, just be mindful that they were not all made by professionals! Remember the 5 color formula I discussed earlier. (Blinding someone on your site = #notwinning)
Create Your Own
By clicking the create tab, you can create your own palette very easily, especially if you have one or two colors in mind already and you’re just hoping to fill in the rest. Play around with the app! When you’re done, just take a screenshot of the colors. Boom! Done like dinner.
Grab Colors From A Magazine Or Photo
Using Magazine Covers: This is my all time favorite way to choose a color palette! These companies spend millions of dollars researching which color trends will make their magazines fly off the shelves. I happen to be obsessed with editorial design for this exact reason. Check out old magazines at your house or search for trendy covers on Google or Pinterest. Pick one that you are drawn towards, just make sure your target market will love it as much as you do.
Using Photos: Got a picture that gives off the exact same vibes you want your target market to experience on your site? Use it for your palette!
Here’s How To Grab The Exact Color Palette From A Magazine Cover or Photo Using Adobe Color:
In Adobe Color, under the “create” tab, you’ll see a camera icon on the top right. Click the icon to import a picture… The program will do the rest! If you’re using a magazine cover, it’s better to find a pic of it online than to take a pic of the cover with your phone and upload it. Sometimes the colors don’t turn out as bright or as light as we expect, so play around with the settings until they are just right. Then screenshot the color palette and you’re ready to go!
That’s it! Choose your vibe, pick your palette! I told you it was fast.
Now, if you want to feel 100% confident with your choice, you can pick 3 palettes that you like (even if you have one in mind as the winner already), and ask 3-5 people in your target market which palette they prefer for you. (If they’re not in your target market, their opinion is irrelevant… Thanks but no thanks!) You’ll likely get opinions from all over the place, so if this is the case then go with your gut! But in some cases, there is a clear winner. It never hurts to ask for outside opinions, but be warned… You’ll never please everyone! So my best advice here is to ask a few people but at the end of the day, still go with your gut. After all, you’re the one who is representing your business day in and day out!
Whew! There you have it.
I’ll be making videos to walk you through the steps above, so be on the lookout for my YouTube channel which is launching in the next few weeks.
In the meantime, stay rad and send me your color palettes! I’d love to see what you come up with.
Your favorite branding expert,