Shannon Leutzinger


How to create a color palette for your brand + its importance

When you think of the brands you see in your everyday life, a few things might come to mind immediately—including their logos and brand colors. The fact is, color psychology in branding is a significant part of marketing and creating a strong brand image. We sat down with Shannon Leutzinger, one of BRK’s senior designers, to discuss brand color identity and how to create the most effective color palette for your brand. Keep reading from Shannon below!

What is color theory?

Color theory studies colors in relation to human behavior and emotions. Research from psychologists suggests that color associations are due to years of evolution, and cultural associations like the United States’ color of currency lead to strong emotions and reactions. Choosing the right color for your brand isn’t as simple as picking your favorite—your brand colors can actually change how people think of your brand!

Color theory combines art and science, and it’s vital to consider what each color means when creating a color palette for your brand. Because certain colors evoke certain emotions, you can choose brand colors that can impact your sales or performance. Plus, choosing a brand color can strengthen brand awareness—when people think of your brand, its colors will be one of the first things to come to mind.
Finding your company’s purpose doesn’t just help make expectations clearer for employees—it also makes it easier to communicate a strong message with consumers who value authenticity and trustworthiness.

Why colors matter + how to choose the best brand colors for your company

Different color families and individual colors evoke different emotions—which means finding the right color for your brand can make all the difference in how your audience perceives your company. Do you want your audience to be happy and energized when they envision your brand, or would you rather come across as professional and sophisticated?

Here’s a look at what different colors are associated with:

  • Red: Associated with violence, warfare, and passion, the color red has even been found to increase blood pressure. Red triggers action and danger, so it’s a great choice when used sparingly with calls to action.
  • Orange: Associated with health, vitality and creativity, orange is seen as more friendly and inviting than red.
  • Yellow: Yellow is one of the brightest and most energizing colors, often associated with hope and happiness.
  • Green: This cool color represents new beginnings, growth and abundance, with specific associations to money and health.
  • Blue: Blue represents calmness, dependability, trust, and responsibility, with associations with peace and stability.
  • Purple: This royal color is connected to power, nobility and luxury. Purple also has connections with spirituality and mystery.
  • Pink: The color pink is often associated with femininity, playfulness and love.
  • Black: The strongest of the neutral colors, black is positively associated with power and formality but negatively associated with mourning, evil and mystery. Thanks to its neutrality, black is often used for typography.
  • Gray: Dark gray can be used to replace black, and light gray can be used in place of white. Gray is commonly used with corporations to evoke formality and professionalism with a modern touch.
  • White: Another neutral option, white is associated with purity, cleanliness, virtue and the healthcare industry. It’s typically used as a background that makes other colors bolder.

While each color family has emotions and actions that might be associated with it, there are variations within the different hues and shades of individual colors. Choosing your brand color won’t be as simple as choosing “blue”—instead, you’ll need to choose between dark blue that represents professionalism and trustworthiness and light blue that signifies tranquility and openness.

When you’re choosing your brand color identity, you’ll want to know the following definitions:

  • Color hues: variations of the primary colors
  • Color shades: the amount of black added to a color to make it darker
  • Color tint: the amount of white added to a color to make it lighter
  • Color saturation or tone: changing a color’s appearance by adding black and white

How to create a brand color palette

Now that you’re familiar with what different colors mean, you can choose colors that fit your brand’s goals. How do you want your customers to feel when they look at your brand, and what actions do you want them to take? Answering those questions will allow you to choose the best color for your brand.

After you’ve spent time brainstorming what color (or colors) you want to be your primary color, it’s time to create a brand color palette. Your brand color identity will help shape most decisions in your branding, from your website design to printed promotional materials.

Most color palettes will include multiple colors or color shades. Typically, brands will have three colors in their brand color identity: base, accent and a neutral. Whether you create a brand color palette internally or you consult with an external marketing company, there are plenty of options.

To get started, here are some of the most typical color palette options that look visually appealing thanks to color psychology.

  • Monochromatic: made up of different tones, shades and hints of a specific hue
  • Analogous: using three colors next to each other on the color wheel
  • Complementary: using colors from opposite sides of the color wheel
  • Triadic: using colors that form a triangle on the color wheel

Want to give your brand color palette a test run? Print sample business cards and include them on social media so you can view them in print and digital formats before committing to the color palette.

Create a brand color palette that will inspire action in your consumers today

Once you have your brand color identity, you’ll be able to include it in your brand guidelines. Want to learn more about how to create a color palette for your brand? Contact us today!

Headshot of Shannon Leutzinger

Shannon Leutzinger is originally from Alabama and graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. She also holds a master’s in graphic design from Savannah College of Art and Design. Shannon likes to spend her spare time doing genealogical research, volunteering, hiking, kayaking, and playing tennis.

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