Colour not only adds vibrancy to our daily lives, but it can also have a huge impact on how a person views the world. Colours possess the ability to create mood and conjure feelings and can convey an infinite number of messages through symbolism and associated meaning. Its influence is so great that it even has the power to represent your business or company and immediately identify your brand.
With hundreds of individual colours and thousands of colour combinations to choose from, the possibilities are endless. If you are just starting out, or you’re re-branding choosing the perfect colour palette to represent your business and your brand, finding the magic colour scheme may seem incredibly difficult – especially if you’re starting from scratch. Plus, sometimes, before you can even create other branding assets, you need to finalize your colour scheme. To help you out, we’ve put together a simple guide for choosing the colours that will best suit your business.
The Power of Your Business Colour Scheme
The logo behind every famous brand you know is more than just a word or picture or symbol. The entire logo is designed to have an impact and help people to remember your brand. Colours are carefully chosen because they convey a psychologically deeper, or subconscious, meaning.
- Red represents a call to action – such as “stop!”. It can also be used to show emotion, love, passion, trust, aggression, and intensity. In many Asian cultures red is the colour of luck and good fortune.
- Blue is a calming colour often associated with the sky and the ocean. It can also represent comfort, faith, clarity, confidence, trust, and conveys a sense of being conservative.
- Yellow is a bright and invigorating colour that conveys joy, energy, and positivity, as well as being alive and fresh.
- Green is commonly associated with nature – leaves, grass, trees, and moss, etc. From a dark forest green to a pale mint hue, the colour green can be used to convey a sense of peace and harmony with nature, to signify hope and trust, and to invoke feelings of calm and relaxation.
- Purple is the traditional colour of royalty (particularly in the Western world) and is often used to represent power, glamour, romance, introspection, and nostalgia. It also invokes a feeling of indulgence and luxury. One particularly well-known brand, readily identifiable by its prolific use of a specific shade of purple, even went so far as to trademark the purple it uses in its brand and packaging.
- Orange is associated with tropical sunshine and happiness. It also shows enthusiasm, determination, creativity, and stimulates the brain to think.
- Black is a bold and serious colour which shows luxury, formality, elegance and mystery.
- Pink is a traditionally feminine colour associated with love, nurturing, sweetness, sexuality, and warmth.
- Brown is the colour of Mother Earth and is often used to convey the qualities of nurturing, dependability, support, and reliability.
Guidelines for choosing a colour palette
Once you have chosen your central base colour, find a complement for it. Generally, two to three base colours are all you need for your business’s colour scheme, though you might choose to include one or two more shades of your base colours in your colour palette, to act as accents in graphic materials such as print items, merchandise, and website and social media design. When choosing two colours, make sure that they do not clash and that each makes the other stand out. If you decide to use three base colours, a ratio of 60-30-10 is commonly employed.
Choose colours that are eye-friendly
Some colours, when put together, can be overpowering for the eyes while others appear dull or gloomy. It’s important that your colour choices represent the message you want your brand convey, whether that be excitement, fun, serenity, natural and organic, etc.
When designing your website or putting together a visual social media aesthetic, it’s also advisable to check how the colours look when they are rendered on different screens or modalities. What looks good on the monitor of your desktop computer may not have the same quality when it’s displayed on a phone, laptop, or tablet, or converted to print materials like brochures, business cards or vehicle signage, and vice versa.
Think about your target market
The way and degree to which your colour scheme impacts your target audience comes down to perception. Consider the demographics of your target market, such as age, gender, and cultural background, as well as any social subculture group/s you are aiming to reach, when thinking about how your chosen colour scheme may be perceived.
Remember that your colour scheme does not only aim to express a message but also to elicit emotion, convince them of the integrity of your brand or business, and encourage them to engage your services or buy your product.
Know your competitors
Looking at the brands and colour schemes of business or companies that provide similar products or services can give you an idea of the way in which they use their colour scheme to promote their brand and business and can help you decide whether it conveys the kind of message you want to send – or whether it doesn’t work at all.
This research is also important because, when all’s said and done, you want to stand out from the crowd. While your colour scheme needs to fit your industry, it also needs to be unique enough to make your brand memorable. Knowing where your business sits will help you choose a colour scheme that helps it both match and stand out from its surroundings.
There is a huge benefit in hiring professional design services
Expert advice can be of huge benefit during this important stage of conceptualising your brand, so the help of a professional graphic and/or web designer is a good investment – especially since your colour scheme will be the foundation of your company and brand.
It’s great if you are able to come up with a colour scheme on your own, but it can also help to ask for advice or opinions from friends and family before making the final decision on your company’s new colour scheme – and if they happen to be into graphic design or marketing, even better!
Having said that, while friends and family are helpful, hiring a professional can enable you to meet a number of needs in one go. A good graphic or web design company can provide not just a colour scheme but your company logo, website design, business cards, online graphic content, and more. There are companies with quite affordable rates, so you might want to consider the benefits and dedicate a little of your budget for this.
The colour scheme of your company will be one of the first things that your potential clients see, and the quality of the colours you choose embodies the quality of your product or service. A well-thought-out colour scheme is one of the major keys in driving people to connect with your business, and the perfect colour scheme creates a positive first impression that makes its way from the eyes to the heart of your consumers.