Check out these easy to follow tips for picking a brand color scheme that resonates with your community and your personality!
Let’s talk color.
More specifically, choosing a color scheme for your brand.
First, know that if it’s hard for you, you are not alone.
What I’d like to do is explain a few key principles and guidelines for choosing color and hopefully this will make the process a little easier and more fun!
A Few Helpful Terms in the Color World
There are four key terms that will be pretty helpful when talking about color. When you understand these, you’ll be better equipped to identify which colors will be a good fit and which ones won’t.
Hue: Hue is the color that we are actually seeing, in its purest form.
Saturation: Saturation is the purity of a color. High saturation colors look rich and full. Low saturation colors look dull and grayish.
Value: Value is the lightness or darkness of a color. Colors with the addition of white are called tints and colors with the addition of black are called shades. All high saturation colors have medium values (because light and dark colors are achieved by mixing with white or black).
Seasonal Brand Theory
If you’ve been around here before, you know that I use Seasonal Brand Theory (pioneered by Fiona Humberstone) when designing for clients. Not only has this helped me connect on a deeper level with my clients but it’s also made the entire process of identifying colors a whole hell of a lot easier.
Because once we identify what season their brand most identifies with, we’re able to zero in on a certain color range based on the season’s traits.
If you need help identifying your brand season, grab the FREE brand season workbook – plus gain access to a whole ‘lotta brand-building freebies in the Resource Library!
Seasonal Brand Theory and Color Schemes
Season brand theory is by no means the be-all-end-all when it comes to creating a color scheme that you like, however, it does offer a few guidelines that may help you identify what feels ‘off’ about a certain color combination. Prior to learning about seasons and color, I never understood why some color schemes worked better than others – now I can pinpoint the why fairly quickly and it’s helped me better articulate to clients why some colors work and others don’t. To give you a better idea of the traits for each season, I’ve created three color schemes and applied the characteristics of the season to each one.
Spring: High saturation, high tint
Summer: Low saturation, mid to high tint
Fall: Mid saturation, mid tint, mid shade
Winter: High saturation, mid shade
How to Create a Color Scheme For Your Brand
Now that you understand the basics of how seasonal color theory comes into play when creating a color scheme, it’s time to actually create!
You can do this a few different ways but my recommendation: start with Pinterest.
Create a board that is filled with color schemes and pictures with colors you like. Spend as much time as you need pulling together all the inspiration.
And then, it’s time to cut away the noise.
I usually select five to eight pictures that I’m drawn to and really feel like my brand. I paste them into an Adobe Illustrator document (you can definitely use Word or Canva here – the point being that you separate them from the rest of the images) and use the eye dropper tool to pull three or four colors from the pictures. Then, I head over to my favorite color scheme tool, Coolors.co, enter in the HEX codes from the colors I’ve already chosen and see what else the tool comes up with.
As a general rule, I like to pick four colors along with a black variation and white variation.
I would encourage you to play around with different colors (staying within the same season, of course!) and sit with the scheme for a bit. Think about how you can use the different colors on your social media channels, within your website and in brand photos. Often when I try to work a color I’m on the fence about into different touch points, I’ll have more clarity around whether it will be a good fit or not.
When you’re ready to finalize your color scheme, I’d recommend creating a document with the HEX codes for each color, as well as the RGB and CMKY version, so you can stay on-brand in any use-case!
Pin for later!