While there are many steps in creating your own business, branding is one of the most important. It’s the way others perceive what your identity is all about. First impressions are the strongest when it comes to how people feel about a business, so it’s obvious you need to put your best foot forward in every way.
A good first step in branding is choosing an approachable and relatable color palette for your brand to apply across your marketing materials and your stunning website. Even though choosing attractive branding colors can seem a bit tricky, don’t fret! We’re here to show you the steps to pick the most appropriate for your needs:
You may have an idea of what you’d like the color palette for your business to be, but before you set anything in stone, try to take a look at what the colors you’re thinking of using actually mean. “Do the colors convey the right emotions and are they attractive to my target market?” might seem like a silly question, but you can get a lot of insight by looking into the psychology of colors and emotion.
Now that you know a thing or two about colors and emotions, it’s time to apply what you’ve learned by playing around with online color palette tools! There are several for you to choose from and we’re going to highlight two below.
Coolors is a great place to start. It offers a wide variety of tools for adjusting the palette just the way you want it. In addition, you can export your final creation in many different formats so you can use it virtually wherever you want.
Coolors isn’t just a tool to create a color palette, it also allows you to view other completed creations from other users so you can draw inspiration. The “Explore” section has literally hundreds (if not thousands) of palettes you can view, save, and edit yourself. Even better, Coolors is available on desktop computers, an iOS application, an Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator add-on – and even a Google Chrome Extension for easy access!
Canva, a popular online tool for creating infographics (among other things), offers an interesting take on generating color palettes based off of a photo you upload to it. While other tools offer similar options, Canva’s couldn’t be easier to use.
If you have a photo that encompasses the overall feeling that you’d like to bring to your brand, you can simply upload it to Canva’s generator and it will instantly return a palette consisting of five colors, each with its corresponding hex code for reference.
Unfortunately, this is where the usefulness of Canva’s offering ends, as this is all you can do with its palette generator. You cannot adjust the colors of the palette. The only other options you have are to copy the hex values provided or upload another photo.
Still in need of some inspiration before deciding on your palette colors? Check out Colour Lovers to browse (literally) millions of user-created palettes!
Other free (great) online tools:
Okay, so you’re inspired enough to begin choosing your primary or “dominant” palette colors. Great! These are the colors that you will want your target audience to recognize you with, and they will adorn your website and business cards, so it’s important to get them right.
While it’s not imperative, you’ll likely only want two primary colors, with the others left as accent colors, which we’ll cover later on. It’s also important to note that of your two dominant colors, one will be used more than the other when it comes to applying your palette.
First and foremost, your dominant palette colors should either complement or contrast well together, and neither should outshine one another. If they do, you can play with tints, tones and shades to find a happy medium between the two.
Here’s a quick explanation of these last terms:
Tones: Mixing gray to a pure color.
Tint: Mixing white to a pure color.
Shades: Mixing black to a pure color.
This isn’t a step that’s to be rushed, as these will be the most defining colors of your brand that show people what it’s all about. You’ll be happy that you spent the extra time finding the perfect color values.
Accent colors play an incredibly important role, especially for your website. They’re supposed to draw your viewer’s eyes into something you want to highlight. A poor choice can make people miss what’s essential for you.
Accent colors are usually bolder than your primary colors, so it’s best to ensure that there’s a high contrast between them. For your website, accent colors are best applied to elements like your navigation menu, call to actions and other crucial items that you would like to showcase.
A great example of a successful accent color application can be found in the Design Conference template below. The red accents on the menu to show you what section of the page you are on and the bright “buy tickets” button shows a call to action begging to be clicked.
So, with your completed color palette for your business, it’s time to give yourself a pat on the back, but you’re not done just yet. The way you actually apply your color scheme matters, and you can let the popular 60-30-10 rule guide your way.
The 60-30-10 rule is rather simple to explain, in that you will use 60% of your primary color, 30% of your secondary color and 10% of your accent color. When it comes to web design, you can rework the rule as 60% negative space, 30% content, and 10% ‘call to action’ elements.
Still need to get a working image of the 60-30-10 rule? MMI Creative says, “–think of a man in a business suit: 60% is the slacks and jacket, 30% is the shirt, and 10% is the tie.”
By following the 60-30-10 rule, you will be able to achieve balance both in color and content for your website!
With the tools and know-how you’ve learned above, it’s time to create a lasting color palette to attract your audience!
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