Filed in Small Business Tips
There is a lot to consider when building your brand. Choosing a color palette may not seem like it deserves a spot at the top of your list, especially when there are a million and one things that go into starting and maintaining a business, but when chosen strategically, your colors will help your business grow by attracting clients who are more aligned with your brand. So, let’s explore why your brand colors are so important and how you can choose the right palette for your brand.
A color palette is a specific set of colors that represent your unique brand. These colors will be used in every aspect of your business’s marketing: your logo, your social media posts, your business cards, and, of course, your website. Basically, your color palette influences your audience’s first impression of your brand. Based on that first impression, they’ll either be attracted or polarized by your brand colors, which is why they should be chosen with intention. Don’t stress too much about turning certain people off with your colors; it’s actually a good thing! Your color palette will filter out potential clients who may not be the right fit for you and attract those who are.
For example, I chose calming colors for my website because, as a person, I give off a calm vibe. I find that my favorite clients like that about me because websites are a huge undertaking, and my clients enjoy that I put them at ease when interacting with me. I walk them through the process step by step and keep the energy calm. That way, no one gets overwhelmed. And I like to work with clients who aren’t fast-paced, hype-woman type.
When you think of Starbucks coffee, what comes to your mind (other than their delectable drinks)? The rich green and white of the Starbucks logo is so recognizable you’d be able to spot it from a mile away and know exactly what it represents. A brand’s color choices create recognition. If chosen properly, your audience will recognize your brand by the color palette before they read a single word. This is especially important when it comes to social media. People can quickly scroll through their feeds without thinking, but if they see a post they recognize, they’re more likely to stop and read that post.
Not only does color encourage recognition, but it also has a huge impact on emotion. It can be used to evoke certain feelings in your potential clients and even influence their behavior. For example, after my ectopic pregnancy and first endometriosis surgery, I got into therapy for the first time. I selected my therapist (having never met her in person) because her brand evoked a gentle and calm feeling I was drawn to. I felt like she was a good fit because of those feelings. And you know what, after meeting her, she was EXACTLY what I expected and exactly what I needed at the time. If you want your audience to feel calm and comforted by your brand, you’ll choose colors to communicate those feelings.
Using your color palette for all of your brand’s assets will also create consistency. Consistent messaging is essential to ensure that your audience knows what your brand stands for and what you can offer. Mixed messaging will create a disconnect and eventually cause potential clients to drift away from your brand because, subconsciously, your messaging is untrustworthy. Consistency should also be created with other elements like fonts and images, but more on that in another blog.
At the end of the day, what’s most important is that your colors are true to YOU. Because regardless of what you’re offering your audience, you reflect your brand’s personality. Colors create a vibe, and that vibe should speak to who you are as a person and, most importantly, what it’s like to work with you as a business owner. If your brand color palette is designed to be calm and soothing, and when a potential client speaks to you, they get a fast-paced girl-boos vibe, it’s going to create a disconnect, which is why it’s crucial that your brand’s colors match your unique personality.
Typically, a color palette is made up of about 6-9 colors. You want enough colors to create variation, but not too many that your brand becomes unrecognizable. Your palette should include 2-3 light colors that are ideal for backgrounds, 2-3 dark colors for text and creating contrast, and 2-3 colors that pop and could be used as accent colors (think website buttons and calls to action).
Now, I know it’s tempting to choose a pre-made color palette, like the ones offered in the pre-loaded color palette section on design programs like Canva, but trust me on this one: don’t do it! Those palettes are pre-loaded for a reason. They’re common. They will instantly make your brand blend in with a million others because businesses that don’t hire designers choose those color palettes because they are easy and accessible, but they’re extremely overused. They’re not taking the time (like you are now) to make purposeful choices. You want your brand’s colors to be intentional, unique, and true to you.
Speaking of your unique brand, how do you know what colors to choose? Start by asking yourself a few questions. What feeling do you want to communicate? How do you want your audience to feel when they’re interacting with your brand? What’s it like to work with you? What is your brand’s personality? One way to explore these questions is to browse stock photos or Pinterest boards and find an image that speaks to you. The image should communicate the feeling you want to give when potential clients interact with your brand. Use a program like Coolors image picker to pull colors from your chosen image and play around with them. You can also look at other brands that give off a similar feeling and use it as inspiration to tweak and expand upon.
We’re all human, so we’re attracted to many different colors, but there are only a handful of colors that speak to who you are overall. Just think of the things hanging in your closet. I myself have a lot of neutrals, greens, and blues. But of course, you’ll also find the occasional red because sometimes I just want to feel fancy and wear a sparkly red dress to dinner with my husband. Our brands are reflections of us, but they don’t and can’t capture EVERY aspect of us. So, it’s important to focus on those core feelings you want to communicate with your brand. Never justify choosing a color just because it’s a color you like. You want to make sure all the colors in your palette back up those feelings you’re looking to communicate.
Let’s get technical for just a second. When you’re pulling your colors, keep in mind that colors are specified by the use of certain codes. CMYK relates to printing, RBG and HEX are used for digital purposes. HEX is the most common code used in websites and design programs like Canva. You don’t need to be a tech wizard to DIY your color palette, but this is helpful information to have in your back pocket, especially if you’re building your own website, or tweaking one of my website templates to fit your brand.
If you’re up for the challenge and you’re ready to DIY your brand’s color palette and design, go for it! Just keep in mind that your color palette has big shoes to fill. When it all comes together, your colors will showcase your brand’s identity, create that ever-so-important consistency, and attract the kind of people you want to work with AND who want to work with you!
If all of this sounds overwhelming and you’re not sure how to properly communicate your brand’s personality, you can hire a brand designer (like me) to support you. When I send the first draft of a brand design to a client, I also send a video along with it explaining the reasoning behind my design decisions. That way, they know the reasoning behind every color choice. This may seem like an unnecessary step (a step some designers don’t take), but I find that my clients feel more confident stepping into their brand when they know each element has been designed with intention and they know what that intention is. And when they understand my reasoning, it helps them give constructive feedback for the second draft. Often, we don’t even need the third draft included in my package because we’ve got it nailed down before we even get to that point!
In the end, my goal is for you to feel confident in the brand that you put out into the universe. Ready to work together? Let’s connect.
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proudly designed in my 100% solar-powered design studio | ARTISAN KIND LLC © 2023
proudly designed in my 100% solar powered home studio
ARTISAN KIND LLC © 2023
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As a proud Showit Design Partner, I create strategic visual identities from my 100% solar-powered studio, helping you showcase your expertise, attract more aligned clients, and build a life you love! Based in Eau Claire, WI, serving clients worldwide.