If you’re starting a new business or you’re preparing for a rebrand, you need to understand the impact that colour has on consumer behaviour.

Let’s just take a moment to think; KFC, McDonald’s, Burger King and most fast food restaurants use red as their dominant colour.

Surely, this is more than just a coincidence; yet they all individually stand out with their own brand identity.

So, what do they know that you don’t?

Well, the short answer is, they understand colour psychology; colours elicit emotions as well as convey certain information.

And, choosing the perfect brand colours is just as important as it is choosing a logo or font.

In fact, 85% of consumers believe colour is the biggest motivator when choosing a product, so first impressions really do count; especially as the colour is the first thing your consumers will see, and will influence their decision to engage with you or not.

Now, I’m not saying picking a colour scheme is easy, but it is essential if you want to create a memorable brand.

With that said, here’s 5 steps to choosing colours for your brand.

Steps to Choose Brand Colours

Understand the Meaning Behind Colours

As mentioned earlier, colours evoke different emotions and feelings, so it’s important you understand these to avoid picking a colour that doesn’t line up with your overall message.

So, here’s a quick overview of what each colour means:

  • Red: passion, excitement and anger, but also commands attention and signifies importance
  • Orange: playfulness, friendliness and vitality; comes across invigorating and evokes energy
  • Yellow: feelings of happiness, youth and optimism, grabs attention and gives a sense of affordability
  • Green: stability, prosperity, growth and nature
  • Light Blue: trust, openness, innocence and tranquility
  • Dark Blue: professionalism, security, mature and trustworthy
  • Purple: royalty, creativity and luxury
  • Pink: femininity, youth and innocence
  • Brown: earthy, old-fashioned and honest
  • Grey: neutral, classic, mysterious and mature
  • Black: powerful, edgy, modern and sophisticated
  • White: pure, simple and innocence

Of course, within this spectrum there is a whole array of additional colours, from different hues to tones.

All in all, the effect of your colours will depend on the design in which they’re used, as well as your colour combinations, so you should have a rough idea of which colours will best suit your brand.

Pinpoint Your Core Values & Brand Identity

Once you’ve understood what colours actually mean, you need to pinpoint your core values and understand your brand identity.

For instance, ask yourself:

  • What’s the story behind your brand?
  • Why did you start this business?
  • What problems are you trying to solve?
  • Who are your ideal customers and clients?
  • How do you want your brand to make people feel, both at first glance and during interaction?
  • In what space will your brand exist?

By asking these, you’ll set the foundation of knowing how you can use colour to convey your personal message and purpose.

Remember, colour is linked to emotions, so try to come up with at least 5 descriptive words that represent your business – this will be helpful later on.

Look at Your Competitors

Regardless of what industry you’re in, your product or service will have competitors be it online or offline, so the colours you choose need to stand out.

And it may sound obvious, but the best way to find inspiration is by looking at what’s already out there; you can’t stand out from the competition if you don’t know what the competition looks like.

Simply, researching your competitors can help you gauge what the market already looks like, then you can stand out by easily adding a contrasting colour to what the other brands are using.

Plus, if your brand values are different to theirs, think about what colours you can incorporate to drive this message home.

Create a Mood Board

Once you have a few preliminary colours in mind, it’s time to create a moodboard (or two!).

Essentially, a moodboard is a loose composition of visuals that represent your brand, to help you visualise your core values, brand identity, message and story.

To begin, start by adding your preliminary colours to the board, and then search through online images using that colour name, before selecting the ones you feel most resonates with your business.

Second, you’ll want to add here some descriptive words that also represent your brand (use the ones you came up with in step 2), such as “classic”, “fun” and “reliable”, to see whether this best fits the vibe you are trying to achieve.

Moreover, creating a moodboard allows you to share your thought process with someone outside of your business and ask for their feedback; you’ll either hit the mark or miss it completely, so don’t choose colours alone!

Create a Colour Palette

Finally, it’s time to put all your hard work together and create a colour palette.

Since most brands have more than one colour, i.e. the logo could be blue but the website includes green, you need to have a palette to demonstrate these colours working together.

In fact, even if you decide to go for black, you will still need lights and darks for balance, which can be through hues like greys and white, depending on what you’re trying to achieve.

At the beginning, pick two colours at most, which will lay the foundation for the rest of your brand.

Then, once you have your primary and secondary colours, you can create the palette using tools like Adobe Colour – you can do this a few times until you’ve achieved the perfect one. Just remember to name them so you can find them easily when you need to use them.

Rounding Up

Overall, colours are not tied to any particular industry, but some may be suited more than others.

The most important takeaway from this blog is you should aim to choose colours that represent your brand’s personality, core values and message.

And, once you have created your final colour palette, it’s essential to imbed this into your brand guidelines to ensure you remain consistent throughout all of your marketing materials, and help you stay recognisable and remembered.

You can take a look at our Graphic Design services.