How to choose & combine your brand colors

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Did you know that 94% of a brand’s first impressions are based on design? And that colors play a very important part in that first impression? Colors quickly evoke feelings, so it’s extremely important to choose your brand colors strategically.

When you’re DIY-ing your brand design, I recommend you keep it simple and create a color scheme of 3 or 4 colors. What your brand colors should be, depends on the message and tone of your brand. 

Building a brand isn’t only about getting a custom-designed logo and website. Sure, those things help, but it’s not just the design of your website that is going to draw in customers. It’s definitely part of your brand, but so are your content, your message, and your tone. Your message and tone need to be clear before you can do anything else with regard to branding. Only once you’ve nailed those, you can decide your colors, fonts, logo, and website design.

Need help deciding your brand message? Get the free Brand Strategy Workbook below!

The combination of colors is perhaps even more important than the exact colors themselves. If you use a teal color in combination with other bright colors, that’s going to give a completely different vibe than using that same teal color in combination with more muted teals and other muted colors.

How do you want your clients or customers to feel when they interact with your brand?

A brand focusing on empowerment is going to have a totally different look & feel than a brand focusing on simplifying and creating stillness. Brighter colors excite both the mind and body and can be sources of energy and creativity. More neutral and muted colors tend to increase mental focus and have a calming effect.

How to choose colors for your website: Collect inspiration

While we’re all multi-faceted, when it comes to branding, you need to limit yourself to create consistency. Pick two or three of the main values you want to convey for your brand or offer. (E.g. love, family, travel, transformation, creation, organization, etc.). Then go to Pinterest and start pinning images and website designs that convey those values for you.

Once you have a good amount of images on your brand board, you’ll probably start to notice the things they have in common. Perhaps they’re all using bright colors, or are feminine & chic, or maybe they’re more minimalistic. Figure out what it is you like about all these designs, then continue to pick colors, fonts, and even textures or patterns that will create a similar look & feel for your website.

Need help deciding your brand values? Get the free Brand Strategy Workbook below!

How to choose colors for your website: Color psychology

When it comes to color psychology, keep in mind this is largely cultural. For example, in the western world, white symbolizes innocence. In many Asian cultures, white is actually a color of mourning. So if a large part of your target market is from a different culture, look into what the colors mean to them. And again, how you combine colors is even more important than the exact colors themselves. After this part, I’ll tell you how to combine colors.

Red

Red stands for love, energy, power, strength, passion, and heat, but also anger, danger, and warning.

Orange

Orange stands for courage, confidence, friendliness, and success, but also ignorance and sluggishness.

Yellow

Yellow stands for brightness, energy, creativity, intelligence, and happiness, but also immaturity.

Green

Green stands for growth, freshness, healing, and nature, but also envy and guilt.

Turquoise

Turquoise conveys spirituality, healing, protection, and sophistication, but also envy.

Blue

Blue conveys tranquility, loyalty, security, trust, and intelligence, but also coldness and fear.

Purple

Purple symbolizes royalty, nobility, spirituality, luxury, and ambition, but also mystery and moodiness.

Pink

Pink symbolizes healthiness, happiness, compassion, sweetness, and playfulness, but also weakness and immaturity.

Brown

Brown stands for friendliness, the earth, the outdoors, and longevity, but also conservativeness.

Beige

Tan/Beige conveys dependability and crispness. But it’s also associated with being dull, boring, and conservative.

Gray

Gray stands for security, reliability, intelligence, and solidness. But it also conveys gloominess, sadness, and conservativeness.

Silver

A lighter gray or silver is also associated with glamour, high-tech, and sleekness.

Gold

Gold stands for wealth, prosperity, and being valuable and traditional.

Black

Black symbolizes protection, formality, class, drama, and mystery, but also mourning.

White

White stands for goodness, innocence, purity, freshness, and cleanliness.

How to combine colors for your website

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There are many ways to combine colors to create an attractive color palette, and all of them are based on the color wheel. The color wheel consists of all colors with the warm colors on one side and the cold colors on the other side, with similar colors next to each other.

For DIY design, I recommend sticking with one of 3 ways to combine colors.

1. The monochromatic color scheme

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The first and easiest way to combine colors is monochromatic – using different shades of just one color. This generally creates a harmonious color palette, that’s very easy on the eyes and has a soothing effect.

However, it can be difficult to highlight the most important elements using only this palette. Add the complementary color for such elements. The complementary color is the color that’s the exact opposite of the main color on the color wheel.

2. The split complementary color scheme

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The second option is the split complementary palette. This is a scheme of three colors, one color on one side, the other two the immediate neighbors of the complementary color. This scheme generally conveys a more energetic vibe. To balance it out, use muted tones of the split complementary colors.

3. The triadic color scheme

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The third option is the triadic palette. These are three colors that are the same distance from each other on the color wheel. This scheme also conveys a more energetic vibe than the monochromatic palette, but it looks more balanced and harmonious than the split complementary palette.

Resources to create your color scheme

Find inspiration for your color scheme at Canva Color CombinationsColourLovers and Design Seeds. Or create your own color scheme using Adobe Color CC.

Rather get brand design done for you? Hire me.

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I'm Anouska

I help coaches & course creators to stop struggling with code and Canva. You can spend your time and energy showing up for your audience, doing what only you can do to make your launch successful. Learn more.

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