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The Importance of Choosing the Right Color Palette for Your Brand

May 31, 20239 min read

The colors you choose to represent your brand can have a significant impact on how your customers perceive your company. Colors evoke emotions and can create a lasting impression on potential customers. As a result, it’s important to choose the right color palette for your brand.

Common Colors and Their Symbolic Meaning

Different colors can evoke different emotions and meanings. Here are some of the most common colors and their symbolic meanings:

Red: Passion & Aggression

Red is a powerful color that can evoke strong emotions. It is associated with passion, energy, and excitement. Red is often used to grab attention and create a sense of urgency. Think of the brands you know that use red. Restaurants commonly incorporate red into their physical space and branding, mainly because physiologically, red gives a shock to your system on-site and activates your salivary glands.

Red can also symbolize power, as it is often used politically around the world. The color demands respect and attention, and creates a lasting impact. Everyone remembers the color red. However, in other cultures, red can also symbolize good luck, as seen in China, as well as danger in the Middle East.

If you choose a bold statement like red, make sure to research your audience and determine what personal impact the color can have on them.

Brands that Use Red: Arby's, Netflix, AVAIRY Solutions

red palette

Blue: Commonly Calm

Blue is serene, a calming color that is associated with trust, loyalty, and security. It is often used to evoke feelings of trustworthiness and reliability. The color itself is a known relaxer, just looking at it can calm your heart rate and reduce your blood pressure. There's no surprise that blue is the most commonly used color, simply because of the positivity it brings (even though we know it can be associated with sadness)

Because it is so inviting, blue is often a first choice for home decorations and outfits. It can signal trustworthiness, that's why you see hospitals covered in it or leaders choosing to wear it. In some cultures, it represents protection against evil, and when you see religious imagery, the holy characters often are dressed in blue.

You really can't go wrong with blue, and there are many shades to choose from. However, since it is such a popular choice, do consider the odds of your brand still being able to stand out amongst an "ocean" of competitors. How can you utilize blue in a unique way?

Brands that Use Blue: Facebook, Lowe's, American Express

blue palette

Yellow: Bright!

Yellow is a cheerful color that is associated with optimism and joy, and it is often used to evoke feelings of happiness and positivity. When you see yellow, you're instantly reminded of the sun, which is why it's really a color you can't ignore. When you're on a road trip, your eyes will always get drawn to the giant McDonald's M on the side of the highway.

According to research done by Pantone, black text on top of yellow is the most effective print for material retention. The Yellow Pages especially took advantage of this, because people were needing to memorize certain telephone numbers.

Yellow isn't all sunshine and happiness however, it is also used to symbolize caution and can be considered unlucky in some cultures. It is best used sparingly in your brand's color kit, so as to not strain the eyes or affect the readability of your content.

Brands That Use Yellow: Snapchat, Lay's, Post-It

yellow palette

Green: Nature AND Nurture

Green is a refreshing color that is associated with nature and growth. It is often used to evoke feelings of relaxation, healing, and abundance. Green too is a physical relaxer, biologically it's literally "easy on the eyes." There's a reason that green means "Go," because on sight it brings people feelings of comfort and welcome.

Different shades of green can bring different meanings. A pale light green, for example, is considered soft and calm, while a dark green can be more serious. Brands that use a bright, lively green reminiscent of grass and the outdoors can usually be associated with nature. Starbucks, for example, changed their colors from brown to green because they wanted to put on an air of growth and freshness, like the ingredients they use to make their coffee. On the other hand, a lot of banks and financial institutions use green because, well, money.

If you decide to go with green, take care in choosing your specific hue to match your brand's identity and values.

Brands That Use Green: Animal Planet, Whole Foods, Spotify

green palette

Orange: Waking You Up

Orange is an energetic color that is associated with enthusiasm and excitement. It is often used to evoke feelings of energy and creativity. Just looking at orange brings freshness to mind, and not only because of the fruit. The color inspires creativity, awakening your senses.

The variety of shades that orange has can have different effects. A bright, lively orange signals fun, while a darker, more fall toned version can remind someone of home. Even a pale orange can be soothing, and is overall just pleasing to look at.

The brands that use orange usually have a reason for choosing the color, Fanta for example embodies orange because it literally is orange soda. If you decide to go with orange, consider your color palette as a whole. Does orange flow well with your other colors?

Brands That Use Orange: Firefox, Home Depot, Nickelodeon

orange palette

Purple: Stand Out from the Competition

Purple is a mysterious color that is associated with creativity and wisdom. It is often used to evoke feelings of mystery and sophistication. Historically, purple has long been known as a symbol of royalty, as the color itself was expensive to produce.

While purple is rising in popularity, not a lot of brands have used it as their primary color. Whether this is because of the color just not matching a brand's values or products, or they feel they will seem "girly," purple stands to be a good choice for businesses looking to stand out amongst the competition. Canva is a leading design company and by using purple as their brand, they emphasize their own creativity.

Taco Bell is a good example of a company willing to change their entire brand to stand out. Most fast food places you will see use the primary colors, and Taco Bell initially did have red and yellow in their original branding to match their food. Since 2016 however, they completely redesigned their image specifically to be unique, and it's worked out pretty well for them.

Purple matches almost all colors, so why not go for a bold look and add it to your palette?

Brands That Use Purple: Roku, Claire's, Yahoo

purple palette

Pink: Soft AND Bright

Pink is a feminine color that is associated with love and romance. It is often used to evoke feelings of love and tenderness. It takes a bold company to choose pink, as the striking color can grab your attention right away.

While pink is typically considered a representation of femininity, that doesn't mean the color should only be utilized by companies selling products to women. Lyft, for example, uses pink in their branding to highlight their innovation and to make their customers feel more protected using their services.

The color can also be associated with sweetness, often used by candy and ice cream companies. Baskin Robbins and Dunkin' Donuts both incorporate pink into their logos to remind their customers how tasty their products are.

Whether your business aims to calm and soothe your customer or bring a hot pink to their attention, consider the advantages of using pink in your messaging.

Brands That Use Pink: T Mobile, Cosmopolitan, Instagram

pink palette

Brown: Self Explanatory

Brown is a natural color that is associated with earth and warmth. It is often used to evoke feelings of stability and comfort. While brown works best with companies associated with nature, many others have used it to highlight their reliability.

Probably the most popular type of company to use brown is a chocolate company, no explanation needed. When you see their logo, you typically know what they are selling. This can also be applied to UPS, who uses brown to match the boxes they are transporting.

Brown would be the best example of choosing a brand color in a literal sense, as most companies who use brand are often selling something that is brown. Think about what you are selling, and if basing branding off of a specific product is the best choice for you.

Brands That Use Brown: Hershey's, Nespresso, UGG

brown palette

Bold and Timeless Black

Black is a powerful color that is associated with strength and power. It is often used to evoke feelings of authority and sophistication.

You really can't go wrong with black. It's timeless and matches everything, and the color will sit back and let your product do the talking. Typically used in fashion and software companies, black can emphasize professionalism and show the viewer that this is an established business.

Leading tech companies like Apple and Sony use black to present themselves as modern and while their softwares will constantly change, their brands stay consistent and recognizable. If you choose to go with black, will your products be able to speak for themselves?

Brands That Use Black: Chanel, New York Times, Adidas

b&w palette

White: In Every Palette, but Never Alone

White is a pure color that is associated with innocence and purity. It is often used to evoke feelings of cleanliness and simplicity. White can be hard to use by itself for branding, and is really never used alone because of the need to choose a supplementary color so you can see text, logos, etc.

We could name a million brands that use white, but in reality they almost all do in some capacity. Whether it's as text on top of a primary color or as a reverse logo to be used on a dark background, you'll need to add white to your color palette no matter what.

color palette

Choosing the Right Color Palette for Your Brand

When choosing a color palette for your brand, it’s important to consider a few factors:

1. Analyzing the Company’s Mission and Values

The first step is to analyze your company’s mission and values. This will help you determine the type of colors that will best represent your brand.

2. Understanding the Target Audience

The second step is to understand your target audience. Knowing the demographic of your target audience will help you choose colors that will resonate with them.

3. Considering the Competition

The third step is to consider the competition. It’s important to choose colors that will make your brand stand out from your competitors to gain the attention of your ideal customer.

Conclusion

Choosing the right color palette for your brand is an important decision that should not be taken lightly. Consider the company’s mission and values, the target audience, and the competition when selecting a color palette for your brand. Doing so will help ensure that you choose a color palette that will effectively represent your brand and resonate with your customers. After all, anytime someone thinks of your brand, the colors you choose will come to their mind first.

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