Did you know that 92% of consumers say visual factors play the biggest role in choosing a brand? No pressure…
Don’t worry, whether you’re creating a new brand or refreshing an existing one, we’re here to help you figure out how to choose colors with intention, creating a cohesive design system. We’ve put together 3 simple rules on selecting colors and threw in a few awesome design tools to help you along the way.
Understand color theory
In design and visual arts, color theory refers to the visual effects of specific color combinations. If you’re visualizing a color wheel or thinking about primary, secondary and tertiary colors, you’re on the right track.
Basically, the human brain rejects anything that’s too bland or too overstimulating and looks for harmony in color. There are excellent resources that can help you find colors that look great together.
Adobe Color is a color mixer that helps you create and save custom color schemes. To get the most out of this excellent tool, check out all of the sections of the website: Create, Explore, Trends, and My Themes.
If you don’t know what color to start with but you have a photo that you feel represents your brand, work with Image Color. This resource allows you to drop your image right into the “Image URL” field and samples out the colors right from it to create a four-color palette for you.
Coolors will also allow you to generate color combinations from scratch or from an image of your choice.
Evoke emotion, but know which one(s)
Have you ever felt that certain colors make you feel happy, calm or overwhelmed? Jacob Olesen lays it all out for you on his site, Color Meanings.
Color is powerful. It can alter a person’s mood or even influence a decision-making process. It’s helpful to understand the symbolism behind colors so you can make sure their meaning aligns with your brand and your audience.
For example, while red can symbolize positive emotions like courage, desire, and confidence, it can also invoke emotions related to danger, revenge, or aggression; so if you’re branding something that needs calming and peaceful vibes, like a wellness spa or a yoga retreat, red is probably not the best choice.
Pay attention to color trends
Here’s some trivia about the history of some well-known color trends.
In 1840 Queen Victoria selected a white dress for her wedding—an unusual choice at the time, but today when someone says “wedding dress,” we automatically picture a white gown.
If you hear Tiffany, you instantly think of the robin’s egg blue box. The iconic blue box was inspired by Napoleon’s wife’s light turquoise dress.
A color trend emerges when there’s a developing awareness or preference for a color. Trends can change the way we think about colors and alter our buying behavior. That said, as all trends do, color trends evolve over time and go in and out of style. Avoid selecting color combinations that are no longer on-trend, otherwise you may risk appearing outdated and irrelevant.
Select colors that genuinely reflect who you are / who your business is, and that are visually pleasing when used together.
Choose 1-2 primary colors and 3-4 supporting (accent) colors that will carry throughout your marketing materials.
Consider your content needs and what kind of layouts will support them. Brave, bold hues, should be used sparsely, while muted, pastel tones can sometimes be used to occupy more space.