3 Easy Steps to Picking Your Brand Colors
Color is a foundational building block of a brand, but with infinite shades, feeling confident in your color choices can seem impossible. If you’ve ever agonized over paint swatches in a hardware store, you know what we’re talking about. To help, we turned to expert brand strategist Josh Martin. to demystify and simplify this important process. Read on for his advice in his own words:
As a branding strategist, I work with entrepreneurs and companies from all kinds of industries. One thing that always comes up is, “How do I choose my brand colors?” Even if you’re a color theory pro, it can still be difficult to choose the specific hues that will become synonymous with your brand. Having guided many clients through this decision, I’ve come up with a simple 3-step process to picking your perfect brand colors.
1. Start with a Neutral Color
Get started by choosing your base. One-to-two neutral covers will act as the canvas on which you’ll paint. Neutral colors are generally defined as black, white, ivory, silver, gray, brown, tan, gold, and beige colors. It’s helpful to think in terms of warm or cool colors, which can influence your entire palette. Blacks, browns, tans, golds and beige are considered warm, while white, ivory, silver, and gray are cooler in comparison.
2. Add Two “Pop” Colors
Next, we need to add some color to the canvas. These are going to be your main colors that represent your brand. This is the color that grabs the attention of your audience and becomes the star of your visual identity. Go for vibrant tones that play well together. Here, it’s important to think about what your brand stands for and the mood you want to set. Here’s a quick primer on what brands need to know to use color effectively. In its simplest terms, cool colors (blue and green, for example) tend to have a calming effect, while warm colors (reds and oranges) tend to excite. You might choose a cool palette as your main colors and then add a pop of warm colors to liven it up.
This step can be the most intimidating choice. I recommend finding inspiration in your favorite photographs, places, and things. Spark makes this discovery fun and easy because it extracts the colors from your images so you don’t have to do any guesswork in color matching or hunt down the hex values. Nature/landscape and cityscape photography is a great place to find color inspiration. If your brand is lively and exciting, you might choose warm, active colors like reds and oranges. If you want to evoke a calming mood, cooler colors are the way to go.
3. Choose One Call-to-Action Color
A call to action is usually a button, or a link, that tells viewers what to do. As such, this color should stand out, but be complementary to your main brand colors, such as a contrasting color on the opposite side of the color wheel. If you have a cool green-blue color scheme going, you might choose an active orange as the CTA color. The key to using this color effectively is to be very strict about where it goes. Use it only as buttons or calls to action so that viewers get accustomed to how and when this color shows up.