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April 2, 2024
April 4, 2024

A Guide to Creating Your Unique Brand Color Palette

Mrignayni Pandey

A Guide to Creating Your Unique Brand Color Palette

April 1, 2024
April 4, 2024
Mrignayni Pandey


Imagine walking down a busy street, your eyes catching a glimpse of familiar golden arches or the iconic swoosh of Nike. Instantly, you recognize the brands they represent. This is the power of brand colors in action.  They do more than fill space; they communicate values, evoke emotions, and create lasting impressions.

In this article, we delve into the world of brand colors, exploring their role not just as aesthetic elements but as pivotal components of a company's identity.

Understanding color psychology 

Each color carries its own set of associations and emotional responses. These associations are not random but are deeply rooted in psychological principles and cultural variations of color perception.

Understand everything related to colors in graphic design here.

Red, often associated with energy and urgency, is used by brands like Coca-Cola and Netflix to create a sense of excitement. 


Blue, symbolizing trust and stability, is favored by corporates and tech companies like Facebook and IBM. 


Green, representing health and tranquility, is the hallmark of organic and eco-friendly brands. 


Another thing to note is that the perception of colors isn’t universal and varies across cultures. For example, while white is often associated with purity and weddings in Western cultures, it symbolizes mourning in many Eastern cultures. Understanding these cultural differences is crucial for global brands to avoid missteps and resonate with diverse audiences.

Next, let’s get into how brands can go about choosing their palette colors.

1. Understand your target audience

Understanding the target audience is crucial in color selection because it ensures that the brand's visual identity resonates with the preferences, emotions, and values of its intended customers.

For example, a brand targeting a younger, more energetic audience might consider vibrant and bold colors, while a brand focusing on an older, more conservative demographic might opt for subdued and classic tones.


2. Define brand identity 

Ensuring that the colors align with the brand's core values and mission is crucial as it helps in communicating the essence of the brand to the audience. For instance, Apple's use of sleek gray and white tones is not a random choice. 

These colors reflect its commitment to simplicity, elegance, and cutting-edge innovation. The minimalist color scheme mirrors Apple's design philosophy and positions the brand as a leader in tech innovation.


Also read: Brand Identity Prism: What Is It and How To Use It? - Artwork Flow

3. Consider industry norms

Each industry tends to gravitate towards certain colors based on the emotions and values they want to convey. For instance, healthcare often uses blues and greens to evoke feelings of trust, healing, and calm. 

Financial institutions frequently choose blues and blacks for their connotations of professionalism, security, and stability. Understanding these norms is crucial as it provides a baseline for what your target audience might expect.

Another important thing to remember is While it's important to align with industry norms, differentiation is key to standing out. This doesn't always mean choosing a radically different color; sometimes, it's about using a familiar color in a new way. 

For example, while many tech companies use blue to signify innovation and trust, a brand might choose a unique shade of blue or combine it with an unconventional secondary color to stand out.

4. Choose your primary and secondary colors 

Primary colors are the most dominant hues in your brand's color palette. They’re the colors that customers will most associate with your brand. Therefore, it should reflect your brand's personality and ethos. 

For example, Coca-Cola's iconic red is not just a color; it's a statement of youthfulness, boldness, and excitement. It captures the brand's essence and has become synonymous with the beverage giant.


Secondary colors support and complement your primary color. They add depth and flexibility to your brand's visual identity. These colors are used less frequently than the primary color but are crucial for designs, backgrounds, and accents.

The key to selecting secondary colors is to ensure they harmonize with the primary color.

 They should not overshadow the primary color but rather enhance it. For instance, Google's use of blue, red, yellow, and green in its logo demonstrates how secondary colors can support the primary color (blue in this case) to create a vibrant and dynamic look.


Also read: 7 Things to Keep In Mind Before Designing a Brand Logo - Artwork Flow

5. Apply color harmonies 

Color harmonies are combinations of colors that are considered aesthetically pleasing and balanced. Understanding this concept is essential for creating a visually appealing palette. The basic types of color harmonies include:

Color Palette
  • Monochromatic: Variations in lightness and saturation of a single color. This scheme is known for its cohesive and soothing look but can lack contrast and excitement.
  • Analogous: Colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. This scheme is often found in nature and is harmonious and pleasing to the eye.
  • Complementary: Colors opposite each other on the color wheel. This scheme offers high contrast and is vibrant, but can be overwhelming if not balanced properly.
  • Triadic: Three colors evenly spaced around the color wheel. This scheme is vibrant and offers visual contrast while maintaining harmony.
  • Tetradic (double complementary): Two pairs of complementary colors. This complex scheme offers plenty of variety but requires careful balancing to avoid clashing.

Also read: How to Use Color Theory in Graphic Design?

6. Test and refine your palette

Once you have a preliminary color palette, it's essential to test how these colors translate across different mediums. Colors can appear differently on digital screens compared to print materials due to variations in light and material.

Also read: 26 Beautiful Color Combinations That’ll Inspire Your Next Design

For instance, a color that looks vibrant on a monitor might appear dull or overly saturated on paper. So, utilize software like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator to simulate how your colors will look in different formats.

Also, place your colors in various contexts to see how they interact with each other and with other design elements. This includes testing on website backgrounds, marketing materials, product packaging, and even uniforms if applicable. The goal is to ensure that the colors maintain their integrity and effectiveness in every use case.

Lastly, in digital applications, particularly websites and apps, consider how your color choices affect the user experience. Are the colors conducive to easy navigation? Do they highlight the most important elements on the page? Testing with real users can provide valuable insights into how your color choices impact user interaction and engagement.

7.  Maintain brand compliance

Brand compliance is a critical aspect of maintaining a strong and recognizable brand identity. It involves ensuring that all communication and marketing materials of a company align with its established brand guidelines, standards, and messaging. 

This includes maintaining consistency in the use of logos, colors, fonts, and other visual elements, as well as aligning all content with the company's values and messaging.

Artwork Flow ensures that all marketing materials meet established brand guidelines and quality standards. By uploading the brand guidelines onto the platform, our software can check all marketing assets for compliance, using automated algorithms to analyze materials and flag any potential issues or inconsistencies.

brand compliance

8. Review and adapt your color palette as needed 

Brands are dynamic; they evolve with market trends, customer preferences, and the company's own growth trajectory. It's essential to periodically reassess your color palette to ensure it continues to reflect your brand's current positioning and future direction.

 For example, a brand that started with youthful, vibrant colors might need to adapt its palette as it matures or expands its target audience.

And to learn which palette will be best suited for them, regularly gather and analyze customer feedback to understand how the new color is being received. 

Look at successful rebranding stories for inspiration. Companies like Airbnb and Instagram have effectively evolved their color palettes to stay relevant and appealing in changing market landscapes. These rebrands were not just about changing colors but about aligning the brand's visual identity with its evolved mission and audience.

Wrapping up 

In the vibrant world of branding, colors are far more than aesthetic choices; they are the building blocks of a brand's identity. Understanding the psychology of colors, aligning with target audiences, and respecting industry norms are just a few steps in the complex process of selecting the right palette.

 Applying color harmonies and thorough testing ensure consistency and effectiveness across various mediums, while brand compliance guarantees a strong, recognizable identity. In a constantly evolving marketplace, the adaptability of a brand's color palette is key to staying relevant and resonating with customers.

For seamless brand compliance and efficient management of your visual assets, consider Artwork Flow. Our software helps you maintain consistency in colors, logos, fonts, and other brand elements, ensuring your marketing materials always align with your brand's identity and values.

Book a demo with us to learn more.

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