Brand Color Palette: Important Basics You
Need to Know


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Understanding the significance of color can be a game-changer for your business, especially as you decide what will connect with your target audience, design the company’s logo and build out the brand personality. Whether we realize it or not, color can be a deeply personal choice β€” people are drawn to different colors and hues for a lot of different reasons. As you create your brand or reimagine it for a new season, it’s important to consider how color can play a part.

Branding color palette is important β€” which colors you choose for your logo matters.

If your business is undergoing a rebrand or is in the early stages of development and brand goals, this guide will give you insight for choosing the right brand color palette. Ready? Let’s spin the color wheel and get started.

What Does a Brand Color Palette Mean?

Brand colors are, essentially, the colors you choose to use in your logo design, on your website, and on any materials (brochures, packaging, etc.) that you create. They are the colors you choose to help build the visual identity of your brand and ultimately represent your company.

Judging a Book By Its Cover

Certain customers will rely on brand colors to determine if they want to know more about your brand or not, which is why knowing how people perceive color is essential. We all know the phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but essentially, that’s what people do when they don’t know enough about your brand. The truth is, there’s a lot of meaning behind colors (here’s a great read on color psychology to learn more on the topic) and how it can impact your brand’s persona.

The Power of a Signature Color

A number of brands have established a signature color and in time, that single color comes to hold a lot of power. There’s Tiffany blue, Hermes orange and Louboutin red (most famously seen on the bottom of shoes). Coke is synonymous with its bright red hue and in the last year we’ve have a massive resurgence of pink, especially hot pink, with the Barbie movie. There’s a way to create brand value with a single iconic color. The stats back this one-color idea: using a signature color can improve customer recognition of your brand up to 80%.

A signature color, like Coke's red, can help your brand become recognizable.

It’s true that a lot of people choose colors for their brand based on personal preference or what they think will draw attention. While personal preference can play a part in the inspiration behind choosing your brand’s color palette, it’s also important to consider the history of various colors and how different combinations can come across to audiences.

Ride the Color Wheel β€” What Your Color Choices Say to the World

Now that you’re aware of why branding colors are so important, let’s break down a few color terms and then what each color traditionally represents. You can use this insight to your advantage in marketing your business.

When it comes to color, there are primary colors (red, blue, yellow) and secondary colors (orange, green, purple). Cool colors are blue, green and purple. Warm colors are red, orange and yellow. When it comes to your specific brand color(s), you have lots of options for color schemes. You can pick a main color with additional colors that are used more minimally (for J.O. we have a signature blue and then work in three colors β€” gray, black and white β€” to support). You can also go the monochromatic route which means different hues of the same color.

Red is normally associated with power, passion, romance, danger, aggression and excitement. It can also be interpreted as provocative, attention-grabbing and bold.

Orange is often creative, vibrant, fun and gives off an adventurous feeling.

Yellow conveys happiness and positivity. It’s also easy for the eye to spot a night or day.

Pink gives off more of a soft, feminine energy. Depending on the shade, it can represent youthfulness.

Blue reminds you of the sky and ocean. This color is known to put people at ease, offering trust and security. A number of tech companies love to use the color blue β€” Twitter, Facebook, IBM, HP, Zoom, for example. It’s estimated the color β€” from light blue to navy blue to dark blue β€” is used in 30% of brand logos globally.

Green symbolizes growth, money, freshness and peace. Its various shades can also be connected to health.

Purple is associated with royalty and elegance. The mysteriousness of its different shades can add a magical element to your brand colors.

Brown connotes a natural, earthy aesthetic and reflects strength. It’s often used for organic products or services.

Black is elegant, luxurious and formal.

White is crisp, pure and clean. It radiates a minimalistic feel.

Then there are brands that choose multiple colors to represent their brand. A prime example of this is Instagram. Their signature colors are a variety of yellow, orange, blue, pink and purple. This spectrum of color represents their capacity as a visual medium.

Famous Color Combinations

Some brands go the route of a single accent color while others choose a brand palette of color combinations that range from a monochromatic color scheme (which uses different shades and hues of your primary color) to colors on opposite sides of the color wheel that create contrast. Microsoft has a great guide to this kind of color use for further reading.

McDonald’s is an example of two primary colors, red and yellow (both warm colors) at work. Their now famous red yellow combination is easily recognizable almost anywhere on earth.

The fashion house Chanel is iconic with its use of black and white.

Starbucks is known for its use of green and white in their logo and on their iconic cup.

While lots of tech companies use blue in their branding, many others have gone the route of a rainbow effect. Think Google, Microsoft and eBay.

How to Choose Colors for Your Brand identity

Now that we’ve talked about what different colors represent, how they can work together, and various options for combining colors, it’s time to think about your own brand identity.

When it comes to your color scheme, think about what your company represents.

Do you want to focus on a signature color? What about complementary colors that you’d like to add in for a fuller palette? (Lots of brands decide to choose a primary color that will be the dominant color for their brand and then add in another color.)

You could go the monochromatic route and keep in the same color family.

Analogous color schemes, which pair colors that sit next to each other on the color wheel, are another option. For example: red and purple, purple and blue, blue and green, orange and yellow.

When it comes to your color scheme, think about what your company represents. What kind of work you do in the world and how you want your customers to see you. What kind of voice do you want to have in your industry? What are you trying to communicate to the rest of the world? What are your values? Use these questions to help you start the process of picking tones and color combinations.

Remember that in the end, your color palette will be consistent throughout your entire brand. This includes all of your visual assets such as web design, social media platforms and product packaging.

Get Color Inspiration at J.O. Agency

As these accent colors in our lobby show you, the J.O. team loves using color to tell the world about brands.

Our team at J.O. Agency in Fort Worth, Texas knows a thing or two about color inspiration. Not only do we work inside an actual art gallery, Gallery 440, but we’re always learning from the world around us and taking ideas from everyday life.

As a team we spend our days working together on thoughtful, strategic design, messaging and public relations. From designing a new logo to getting the exact right color codes for brand guidelines, we love to work with clients to translate their ideas and vision into messaging for the rest of the world to enjoy. Let’s work together on a project. Contact our team at 817-335-0100 or here on our website to get started.

Keep Reading With J.O. Agency

J.O. has more in the blog archives on design and branding. Learn about what makes a good logo, the techniques graphic designer use for building brand consistency, and go more in depth with analyzing three famous brands’ color palettes here.

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