Whether you’re a neutral-loving minimalist or a bold-and-bright maximalist, choosing a colour palette for your business can feel overwhelming.
There’s the permanence of it: I’m scared of committing to a small collection of colours. There’s the personal preference: But I love purple so my brand colours have to include it. And there’s the psychology of it too: Why are all organic or plant-based businesses so *green*?
So you do the research, you gather heaps of inspiration swatches on Pinterest and then you … feel stuck.
I get that. That’s why I wanted to teach you some basics so that you feel confident creating a colour palette for your business that looks and feels good — and tells the right story!
Here are some key components to consider when choosing a colour palette for your business.
First, think about the overall tone of your business and how you want people to feel when interacting with you and your content.
Your brand tone is a piece of your strategy puzzle and to help you define it you can consider
Aim for around 4 words that describe the tone of your business.
Consider where you’ll be using these colours. Do you have a website? Will you be creating Instagram and Pinterest graphic templates? Do you have client documents you’ll need to style? Do you create packaging for physical products or files and slides for digital products?
Make a list of all the touchpoints your business will have so you can determine where your brand colours will be used and how big of a palette you’ll need.
Who do you want to work with? What does a fab client look like to you?
I don’t take a ‘dream client profile’ approach and prefer to understand what they value and what emotional benefits they’re looking for. You can watch it here.
Once you know who they are and what they value, you can gather images you feel represent them. Head over to Pinterest, snoop through who they follow and engage with often on social media. What do their colour stories say? How do they make you feel? How are they using colour to enrich their brand experience?
A good colour palette has balance, harmony and contrast, even if it’s monochromatic.
You’ll need to think about legibility of text and logos on backgrounds, photo overlays, and generally how the colours work together.
I’ve created a blog post with 4 palettes I’m loving right now and how they look in a real-life application of the brand (and why it works). Take a look.
Obviously there are loads of rules that guide colour composition, and to be frank, you don’t need to know them (I feel like you’d have a good sense of what works and what doesn’t anyways!). We start learning them when we’re taught how to mix paints as small children and, if you study something creative like I did (Fine Art degree, anyone?) you’d probably go quite in depth.
But taking a look at a colour wheel to brush up wouldn’t hurt so here you go.
Alright, let’s start putting a colour story together.
Here’s a list of the colours you should absolutely include:
Your main brand colour
Your main background colour
Your ‘pay attention to me’ colour
Your secondary background colour
Your CTA and web-button colour
Your dark colour used for small headings and paragraph copy
You can also include seasonal colours if you require a broader palette (maybe you have packaging you need to have designed or you love including patterns in your brand touchpoints). These can be updated and switched up seasonally and you have the option to include trending colours to your lineup — you can think of them as supplementary to your primary palette. They should still all work together but you have a bit more freedom to change things up more regularly.
Don’t use these colours for your logo, photos or any brand assets you want to keep consistent, please!
Or steal one of these palettes!
Still a bit too overwhelming to create your own palette? I got you, boo!
Grab one of these ready-to-go colour stories and start applying it instantly to your brand assets and marketing materials. And you’ll be ready to hit the ground running with a carefully considered and well balanced colour palette today!
If you use one, I’d love for you to snap a picture and tag me on your Instagram story @lorin.galloway.
If you’re filled with ambition and purpose and looking for branding and business support that helps you achieve your vision, you’re in the right place.
I’m a brand and website designer with an approach centred on intimacy, so you’ll see that word a lot here.
I’m also a red wine enthusiast, amateur vegetable gardener, mom to an adventurous 5 year old, whippet lover with a thing for ginger cats and Cape Town local who loves the ocean.