Check out these easy-to-follow tips for picking the right brand color palette that resonates with your community and brand’s 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 your brand colors, and hopefully this will make the process a little easier and more fun!
In This Article
>> What is a brand color palette
>> Why is it important for your brand to have one
>> A few helpful terms in the color world
>> Seasonal Brand Theory
>> Seasonal Brand Theory and brand colors
>> How to choose the right brand color palette
What is a brand color palette?
Your brand colors are the four to six colors used consistently throughout your brand visuals. They represent a certain feeling that aligns with your brand personality and help you create a cohesive visual brand identity.
Why is it important for your brand to have one?
As I mentioned above, they bring consistency into your brand visuals. And, perhaps just as important, colors help to evoke the specific emotions and feelings you want your brand experience to provide.
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
Seasonal Brand Theory is this: Every brand identifies with a particular season and that season has unique characteristics. From the words on a website to the photography styling to the color palette, each season has a set of guidelines that embody and evoke emotions based on color psychology and seasonal theory.
If you’ve been around here before, you know that I use this theory (pioneered by Fiona Humberstone) when designing for clients.
Because once we identify what season their brand most identifies with, we’re able to zero in on certain color characteristics based on that season’s attributes.
Seasonal Brand Theory and brand colors
Season Brand Theory is by no means the be-all end-all when it comes to creating a color scheme that resonates with you and your ideal client. However, it does offer a few guidelines that may help you identify what direction to take when choosing your colors and help you understand why something may feel ‘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.
Now, let’s dive into each Brand Season and what colors align best with each season.
Spring Brand Season: Colors are warmer in tone with high saturation and high tint. They feel bright, fun and friendly.
Summer: Colors are cooler in tone with low saturation and mid to high tint . They feel sophisticated, elegant and calm.
Fall: Colors are warm in tone, have a mid saturation, mid tint and mid shade. They feel grounded, natural and organic.
Winter: Colors are cooler in tone with high saturation and mid shade. They feel bold, driven and empowering.
How to choose the right colors for your brand
Now that you understand the basics of how Seasonal Brand Theory can support the creation of your brand color palette, it’s time to actually pull something together!
You can do this a few different ways but my recommendation is to start with Pinterest.
Create a board that is filled with color scheme ideas and images that evoke the feeling you want your brand to have. Spend as much time as you need pulling together all the inspiration.
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 the 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 main 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, create a style guide that has the HEX codes for each color. And if you’re really ambitious, add in the RGB and CMKY color codes, so you can stay on-brand in any use-case!
Want more information on the origins of color psychology and Seasonal Brand Theory? Click here.
For color palette inspiration, check out this post that includes 25 color scheme ideas, divided into the four Brand Seasons.
If you’re wanting to identify your own brand’s season read this post and to see a faux case study on using Seasonal Brand Theory in your visuals, click here.
Pin for later!