Choosing a Colour for your Brand

Monday 15 May 2017

If you’re a new start up business or looking to rebrand an existing company one of the first things you'll think about is your logo. Whilst there is a lot more to your business and overall brand than simply a logo, you should know that when a user is choosing a product or service between 65% - 90% of decisions are based on colour alone. Not only that people will make a judgement on your brand within less than 90 seconds.

We all know that first impressions count, if you get your colour wrong then your chance to make a good first impression will be wasted.

Know your competition

Look at your competitor brands, both on a local level and the ones you compete against online nationally. A good tip is to open a new word document add the logos of your competitors and see them lined up. See what works, what doesn’t, what jumps out and what gets lost. This should then lead onto the question whether you want a brand that looks traditional of something that really stands out.

Know your audience

Knowing your target audience is key to creating a brand that will work. Mostly, creating a brand isn’t about personal taste but it’s about creating an identity that appeals to your target audience. That doesn’t mean to say you shouldn’t stamp your mark on the brand, especially if you are a sole trader or a small/local business whose service is very personable and where you’ll be dealing with your clients on a one-to-one basis. Either way your brand needs to appeal to your prospective clients.

Going with a traditional approach in no way means your brand or logo needs to be boring or that it won’t stand out as there is much more to think about than just the logo or colour. For example, your tone of voice in any content for literature, quirky straplines, the type of images you use to support your brand and consistency.

In general, bright and bold colours can be over powering and too much for some people. Then on the other hand muted tones and pastels can often be overlooked.

Beyond the logo

You should always think long term when you are creating a brand. For example, the long-term plan for your business may be to have 3 very different services, where you may want to use a different colour to distinguish each service within your marketing materials. Things like this you’ll want to keep in mind at the start when choosing an overall colour palette, as any colours you do choose, need to work together in harmony.

Don't dilute your message

Don’t dilute your message and brand by using too many colours. Your aim when creating your brand should be to make it memorable for your prospective clients. Remember that some of the worlds strongest brands use one simple colour, Coca-Cola anyone?!

Designers frequently use the 60-30-10 rule, which suggests that you choose three different colours and use them in the ratio of 60%, 30% and 10%. This rule provides a simple way to create a professional colour scheme.

Local or global brand?

If you are creating a brand for a global audience, you might be aiming to sell a product around the world, then you need to remember that colours are interpreted differently around the world. For example, red is considered lucky in China, whilst white is the colour of death and mourning in India.

Think about your marketing collateral

Once you have decided on your colours, it is important to see how these colours work on different screens, monitors and on print. Sometimes colours can look bright on a tablet or mobile device, but seem really muted on a standard laptop monitor.

Likewise, there are often differences between colours on any digital screen compared with how they print. Some purple colours onscreen are renowned for printing out navy blue, or maroon colours printing out black. So, if there is theory behind your colours you need to make sure they render the way in which you imagined on different mediums.

This is also a good time to mention usability, especially if you are thinking of using light colours, such as yellows. Yellow (unless a very dark yellow, and even then, I would approach with caution) isn’t readable on white. So, unless you plan to make black or dark greys a big part of your brand you need to consider how your branding will work across anything you plan to produce.

  • Websites
  • Social Media (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram)
  • Printed brochures
  • Printed leaflets
  • Business cards
  • Billboards
  • Building (internal or external) signage

These are just some of the things your logo and brand will be used on.

Consistency

Most importantly though, be consistent! Your brand needs to shine through in everything you produce. Ultimately you want people to recognise your brand and your company even if you produce something that doesn’t even have your logo on it!

Choosing a Colour for your Brand