Choosing your brand’s color palette is not an easy task. At first, you think you know exactly what kind of color scheme you’re going for, and then you realize picking your brand colors is a LOT more complicated than you realized.
That’s okay! If you’re stuck or just starting out, this guide will help you through the process of choosing the perfect color palette for your brand.
Before you get started, download the workbook here.
Step 1: Brand Analysis
When choosing your brand’s color palette, you’ll need to do some introspection and analysis. What does your brand stand for? What are your core values? Who are you serving?
This may seem boring or overcomplicated but I promise this is legit the most import step.
Ask yourself the following:
- Who is your ideal client? What do they like?
- Who are your competitors? Do they all have a similar style?
- What are your ideal client’s problems? How do you solve them?
- What do you want your ideal client to feel when they work with you?
- What are the top 3 adjectives you would use to describe your business?
Take note of all your answers here and write down any words that seem to pop up more than once. You’re going to use the answers to these questions to understand the feeling your brand should give off and we’re going to pick a color scheme that matches that brand feeling.
Step 2: Color Psychology
Once you have a good idea of the feeling you want your brand to convey, you’re going to take a closer look at color psychology and see what colors give off the vibe you’re looking to put out there for your business.
Take a look at the chart above, for example, if you run a health food store and your adjectives are clean, natural, healthy, you’re going to probably want a shade (or two) of green in your palette.
Your action steps for Step 2 of this process:
1. Come up with a list of words that accurately describe what you do and the feelings you want to convey to your potential clients.
2. Take a look at the chart above and pick out the colors that convey the feelings you are trying to project to the world with your brand.
Step 3: Create a Mood Board Using Pinterest
You have your brand adjectives listed out, you have an idea of what colors convey the emotions you want to project to the world. Now, it’s time to hone in on this clarity and start thinking about your visual identity.
You will be using Pinterest to give those brand adjectives a visual identity!
I do things a bit differently than most. I have my clients create two Pinterest boards.
This first board will be you pinning the visual representation of the brand keywords you came up with. Here is what I want you to do:
- Go to Pinterest and create a new board called, “Brand Emotions”.
- Search for each of your keywords and pin anything that you feel visually represents your brand. It can be in home decor or a piece of art. What you’re doing in this step is putting a visual to your brand words.
- You want to pin at least 15-30 pins on your Brand Emotions board.
- When you’re finished, take a step back and notice any common themes in your pins. Is there a color that’s popping up more often than others? How about textures? Are you pinning a lot of greenery? Maybe your pins are mostly linen textures? Did you pin images with big, bold colors or were the images more understated and neutral in tone? Take note of those common themes.
Now it’s time for your second step in this process. You’re going to pin with design elements in mind:
- Go back to Pinterest and create a new board called, “Brand Identity”.
- First, search for “color palettes”. Start pinning palettes that stand out to you. And not just because they’re pretty, but because they are in tune with your brand keywords. You’ll want to do about 10-15 pins here.
- Next, you’re going to search, “Font Pairings”. Again, you’re going to pin 10-15 font pairings that feel like your brand. (Hint: Make sure you’re truly doing this exercise with your brand in mind. Just because a pretty script font catches your eye doesn’t mean it’s right for a plumbing business. Make sense?)
- Now, you’re going to go back over your board and notice common themes. Are you noticing a lot of serif fonts like Playfair Display & Libre Baskerville? Or are you seeing more san-serifs like Montserrat and Lato? Or maybe you’ve pinned a ton of font pairings where the serif font is the headline and sans-serif is the body text? Again, take note here.
- Do the same as Step 4 here, but this time with your color palettes. What colors are popping up most often? Are you seeing a lot of greens and blues? Or maybe you’re seeing a lot of pink with gold accents? Really study your board and note the standouts here.
Step 4: Putting It All Together
Look at your notes from the last exercise. Notice any similarities between your two boards. What are the commonalities? If you have pinned a ton of bold yellow in both boards, it’s safe to assume that yellow will be a part of your color palette.
I want you to quickly scan both boards and note the top two colors that are popping up over and over again in your pins.
Now, I want you to go in and choose 5-8 photos that you pinned that have those common themes. The images can be from either board. Download them and put them in a folder on your computer called, “Mood Board Photos”.
Now the fun part! You’re going to be making a collage with those photos!
- Go to PicMonkey. It’s an awesome graphic design site that makes it SUPER easy to create a collage. You can also use Canva as well.
- Search for a collage template and choose one that has enough spaces for the 5-8 pictures in your folder.
- Start uploading your Mood Board Photos and attaching them to your collage board.
- Save the board as “Mood Board Collage” and head on over to the next step!
Step 5: Choosing The Perfect Color Palette
Woo! You’re almost to the finish line!!
All of the work you’ve done so far should have helped you gain clarity around your brand, your ideal clients and your visual identity. That’s AWESOME!
Now let’s help you in choosing your brand color palette
- Go over to Coolors.co and click on ‘Generate’. You will need to sign up with an account if you don’t already have one.
- Click on the camera icon. When you hover over it it should say, “Pick colors from image”.
- Upload the collage photo that you made in PicMonkey or Canva.
- Coolors will automatically generate a color palette from your collage photo, picking colors that work together from your collage. Pretty cool right?
- Click the ‘Auto’ button until a color palette emerges that speaks to you and your brand. The colors may not be perfect yet and that’s okay. The thing you want to be sure of here is that the main colors from your collage are represented in the auto-generated color palette.
- Once you have a color palette that speaks to you and feels like your brand, it’s time to refine and try out a few different versions of your color palette. Select ‘OK’ and it will bring you to the ‘Generate’ page.
- First, go up to the top right and click on ‘Save’ and name your first color palette. If you don’t save it you’ll risk losing it.
- Next, it’s time to try out a few different color combos. First, choose your main 2-3 colors that you know you want to keep and click on the lock button. That will ensure that when you are exploring new color options, your main colors will stay put and Coolors will only generate secondary/accent colors that go well with your main color palette.
- Once your main colors are locked, hit the space bar to generate a new color palette. When a color combo comes up that you like, make sure to save that version.
- If a particular colors pop up that you love, hit the lock button to keep it locked in.
- Continue to generate new palettes, saving the ones you love as you go along. You can play with the saturation, hue and brightness/contrast of the colors as well!
- You should now have a few different color palette options saved. Woo! Now it’s time to choose which one truly reflects you and your brand.
- To determine the best fit, open up two browser windows or tabs. What color palette most reflects the style, feel, emotions, and visual identity of your pins from your Pinterest board? Because THAT, my friend, is your brand new perfect color palette!
YAY! you’ve done it! You’ve got a strategically curated color palette and you’re one step closer to creating your brand identity! I’m super stoked for you!
If you’re looking for more tips on the branding process and design in general, check out my Facebook Group! I’m constantly posting valuable content about design, sales funnels, marketing and automation!
If you want some color palette inspiration, check out my FREE download, “My Favorite Feminine Color Palettes & Font Pairings”.
Feeling overwhelmed with the branding process? I’ve got you covered. Let me help you create a killer brand strategy and expertly crafted brand design! Chat with me on messenger about your branding needs!
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