Key steps to creating an amazing brand colour palette

June 8, 2021

A colour scheme (sometimes called a colour palette) is a group of colours specifically chosen to represent your company’s brand image. You would use these colours on all your company’s promotional materials, such as its advertisements, social media banners, logo, website, business cards and so on. If you use a colour scheme consistently, it will be easier for people to remember your brand because they’ll see those same colours together all the time.

When people see your brand promotion for the first time, its colours will stand out the most. Specific colour combinations can draw out certain emotions in the potential consumers who see them. People tend to have a subconscious response whenever
they see specific colours.

For example, the colour red makes people feel happy and positive. The colour purple makes people think of royalty. The colour blue represents someone or something trustworthy. If you learn about how people perceive various colours, you can create a unique colour scheme that invokes the right feelings.

Tiffany and Co. revolutionised this concept. They developed their trademarked version of the colour blue, which is on its packaging and promotional materials. Anytime someone sees their blue colour with the “Tiffany and Co.” text in the middle, they immediately think about the company’s products. No other company in their industry has a distinctive colour like Tiffany and Co. That is why they dominate the luxury jewellery marketplace.

Technology companies love to use the colour blue in their brands’ colour schemes too. Like we mentioned before, people associate blue with someone or something trustworthy. You might wonder why that is the case. Well, it could be because police officers and authority figures are often wearing blue uniforms. This causes the average person to subconsciously respond whenever they see the colour blue on something or someone.

Before you choose the colour blue for your colour scheme, make sure other companies in your industry are not using it too. You don’t want to use the same colours as other companies in your industry, or else your brand won’t be recognised or remembered. For instance, if other companies use blue in their logos and promotional ads, you should use a different colour like red or green.

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Dominant Colours vs. Accent Colours

Dominant colours are the primary colours of your colour scheme. You need at least one dominant colour to become the most memorable colour of the palette. You could also choose a second dominant colour to compliment the primary dominant colour. If you choose two dominant colours, make sure they are the same colour but with different shades. You could have two types of reds, greens, oranges, purples, etc.

Accent colours are highlighters. They are colours that are in contrast to the dominant colours. Accent colours should be much lighter colours or shades to take attention away from the dominant colours. Some popular accent colour choices are white, yellow, light grey, light blue, and any other lighter tone colour. When accent colours are placed next to dominant colours, they should make the dominant colours look even more appealing.

Some companies will use as many as five colours for their colour scheme. Do not use more than two dominant colours and three accent colours.


The Steps for Creating a Brand Colour Scheme

Below are the five main steps for creating a brand colour scheme with three dominant colours and three accent colours. Your brand might use a different number of colours, but this will serve as an example to help you get started.


Step #1

Think about the primary colour that you want to represent your brand. You don’t need to think about tones, shades, or accent colours right now. Choosing your primary dominant colour is what matters in the beginning. It should be a colour that reflects your company culture, mission statement or product offerings.

Search the internet to find out which colours are associated with specific emotions or feelings. You already know blue is associated with trust, but try to diversify your brand colour scheme from the rest. Study the table of colours and their corresponding emotions to get ideas for it. Choose the colour which you feel is the best to represent your brand.


Step #2

You can find a colour scheme generator at https://coolors.co. Click the button labelled, “Start the generator.” The next page will show you five different colours. Press down on the spacebar key to change the five colours to five different random colours. The idea is to keep changing the colours until you see the perfect combination for your brand.


Step #3

Suppose you choose a red colour to represent your brand. Now you can make two dominant colours from the red colour. Press the spacebar until the colour generator shows you a red colour tone that you love. Next, click and hold the colour with your mouse and drag it to the far left of the screen. Click on the small lock icon for that colour to save it there.


Step #4

The next step is to find a complimentary dominant colour that agrees with the primary dominant colour. Press the space bar again to change the other colours on the palette that are not locked. Your saved colour on the left will not change because it is locked. Once you find a complementary colour, drag it next to the primary dominant colour and lock it down too.


Step #5

You have two dominant colours. Now is the time to choose the three accent colours. The first accent colour must contrast with the two dominant colours. Press the space bar to change the three remaining colours on the palette. Look for a colour that can
highlight your two dominant colours.

Use the colour table that you researched to assist you in making the right choice here. Once you choose the right accent colour to serve as the highlighter, drag it next to the other two dominant colours and lock it in place. The accent colour should be a huge contrast from the other colours.


Step #6

Now choose the last two accent colours. We recommend a neutral and light colour tone, such as light grey and whites. These accent colours will be the background colours of your promotional materials and logo.

So, to recap, you have two dominant colours, one highlighter accent colour and two light-toned colours. If you have this combination in your colour palette and it looks suitable for your brand, then your work is done. Save the colour palette and integrate it into your brand materials accordingly.

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Saving the Brand Colours

You’re probably wondering how to save the brand colours you’ve chosen. The colour palette should have an export button located at the top right of the screen. Make sure all five colours are locked. After you do that, click on the export button and choose to save it as a PDF file. Find a folder on your computer to save the file.

You will see a HEX code for each colour on the palette. You can use these HEX codes to find the colours in your favourite image software, such as Photoshop. However, some software designers might use different HEX codes for the colours you’ve chosen. Keep that in mind if the colour ends up looking different in your software program.


Tips to Remember

• A unique colour scheme is what will separate your brand from other brands in your industry.
• The purpose of a colour scheme is to help customers remember your brand and its products and services.
• Choosing the right colours will attract customers as soon as they see your brand materials.
• Your colour scheme should consist of up to five colours: two dominant colours and three accent colours. Pick an accent colour that is in contrast with the two dominant colours.

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