Brand Colour Scheme

Colour psychology plays an important role in your branding, as each colour is subconsciously associated with a particular feeling or emotion. Brands use colour to help convey a particular meaning, personality trait, or emotion as part of their whole brand personality, and this is often carried through to the use of a particular colour in that brand's logo.

Before your potential customers read a single word of your website or marketing literature, the first thing to impact them is the colour of your branding.  Your brand personality needs to be reflected in the colours that you use in order to impact people immediately and connect with them emotionally, helping them to instantly relate to you.

In the Brand Personality section we looked at what personality traits are reflected in your customers, we then used these characteristics to help define your own brand personality.  We now want to expand on that and make sure your brand personality aligns with your overall colour scheme, including that of your logo.

Study the image below and see how the logos and colours of the well known brands match with the associated feelings and emotions listed on the left.  Blue is often associated with corporate businesses to convey trust, and conservatism, whilst livelier brands often go for red or orange.

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The ticks in the colour matrix below show which brand personality traits are associated with what colours. It also shows what feelings and emotions are associated with that colour.

The feelings and emotions associated with each colour should match that of your brand personality, and reflect the personality trait, meaning, or emotion that you want to convey.  

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If the colour of your existing website or logo does not match up with the personality trait description, meaning, or emotion associated with it, then it may be an idea to develop a new branding colour scheme as you could be conveying an incorrect message to your audience.

You can use the colour matrix above with your identified brand personality traits to develop a new colour scheme.  It is worth saying, that as you develop your pallet you can use a mixture of different colours across your marketing literature, website, and branding materials etc, but the dominant colour(s) should be that which you have just identified.  


Developing a brand colour scheme 

Once you have decided on what primary colour(s) best represent your brand personality you can begin developing the rest of your colour scheme for your logo, images that reflect your brand, website, marketing materials, etc.

It is important when developing a brand colour scheme to ensure that all the colours 'fit' together. This 'fitting together' is called Colour Harmony and is based on the Colour Theory, the science behind The Colour Wheel.

6 colour harmonies exist and are used for creating visual designs that are pleasing to the eye. 

  • Complementary: one or more pairs of colours that, when combined, cancel each other out (i.e., they produce high contrast)

  • Analogous: based on three colours located next to each other on the wheel

  • Triadic: using three colours at equal distances from each other on the wheel

  • Tetradic: using two sets of complementary pairs *(not shown below)

  • Split-complementary: a combination of the analogous and complementary schemes

  • Rectangle: using four colours at different distances from each other on the wheel

  • Square: using four colours at equal distances from each other on the wheel

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By using colour harmony it engages the viewer and it creates an inner sense of order and balance in the visual experience. When something is not harmonious, it's either boring or chaotic.

Adobe Color Wheel

Adobe Color Wheel is a great free tool from Adobe that uses Colour Harmony to provide you with suitable palettes for your branding scheme.  You can visit the Colour Wheel from the link above, watch the video for an example of how it works.

As well as providing a base colour to create your colour scheme from, you can also search for colour schemes created by other people by using the Explore tab at the top of the screen.

The Explore tab is great for getting inspiration on colours based on keywords.  For example, in the video below you see that the term 'corporate' brought up lots of pallets containing different shades of blue, which according to our colour matrix have associations with the words; sincere, competent, trustworthy, dependable.  Whilst the term 'Exciting' brought up heavy use of orange and red.

You can also see that other colours such as blue, green and grey are also in among the pallets, but the dominant colours by far are orange and red.  This again matches the associated colours for the trait of 'exciting' as described in the colour matrix above.

These colours above are represented by either Hex or RGB values.  A Hex colour is expressed as a six-digit combination representing a mix of red, green and blue, where an RGB value is represented by three values, each representing the amount of red, green, and blue in that colour. 

Using your existing colour scheme

Knowing the Hex or RGB values of your brand colours is important for when you want to recreate your brand for email marketing campaigns, landing pages, and other marketing materials because computer software uses these values to re-create the exact colours.  Continuity across your marketing materials is essential.

If you already have a brand colour scheme that reflects your brand personality you should find out the representative RGB or Hex values for each of the main colours used in your colour scheme.  You will need these in later modules.  

The easiest way to do this is to visit your website, press the Print Screen key on your keyboard, and then paste this into Paint on Windows (or equivalent program).

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You can then use the Colour Picker tool (as selected in the screenshot above) to select each main colour in your colour scheme.  Then click the Edit Colours button next to the colour palette to find the RGB (Red, Green, Blue) values.  In the image below the RGB values for this shade of blue are 82,122,163

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It is a good idea to have both the Hex and RGB values of your palette.  If you only have the RGB then you can use an online converter to give you the corresponding Hex values. 

If you do not have an existing website you should at least have a clearer idea of the types of colours you should use when you get one developed.  If you do have an existing website and you are happy that your existing colour scheme matches that of your brand personality, continue with the actions below. 

Once you know your brand colours you can begin producing marketing materials including websites, landing pages, and emails that reflect your brand and personality in a consistent way.  Consistency is the key to developing a strong brand identity.

Visit Dan’s Tools for a free RGB to HEX color converter


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