Defining your brand colors is one of the first steps to create your brand identity. The colors you choose aren’t only important to be recognized by your customers they can also communicate your brand values if you do it right. There are several ways you can pick your brand colors by using simple color strategies.
How many brand colors do you need?
Lots of colors mean more choice but when it comes to your brand colors the essential point is to build recognition. Limiting your brand colors to 2 or 3 main colors makes it easy for your customers to remember your brand. Your main brand colors can be used throughout all of your visuals as well as your logo design. You can, of course, add some basics like black and white which you will use for text or backgrounds plus some additional accent colors you will only use sporadically. Drawn together all these colors will make up your brand color palette. But for now, we will only look at your main brand colors and the color strategies you can use to define them.
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The first step to define your brand colors
The best way to start is to gather some visual inspiration and put together a mood board. Collecting images, patterns, and illustrations which align with your brand values and message help you to look for colors which represent what you want your brand to stand for. Once your mood board is complete you can pull the colors which stand out from your images. An easy way to do this is to use the eyedropper tool in Adobe Illustrator. These colors will give you a general direction and have to be refined now. And before you fix yourself on any color you should check if its meaning fits your brand. While red stands for energy, passion, and power; blue is much cooler and communicates stability, confidence, and trust. Even if colors are to some extent personal preference the general meaning it adheres stays the same for everybody.
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Now, with the aid of some color strategies, you can further refine your brand colors and find the perfect color combination.
Monochrome color strategy
The monochrome color strategy uses different dark or light shades of a single color. This creates a homogeneous look and you have to pay attention to choose shades with enough contrast between each other to avoid that your visuals just look bland. On the other hand, this strategy is great for minimal design and often creates a very soft and understated look.
Analogous color strategy
Analogous colors are colors which lie next to each other on the color wheel. This means they are kind of related to each other and build harmonious combinations which are pleasing to the eye. An analogous color combination would be e.g. green + blue. You can see how well these colors work together to create a very balanced fresh and calm feel.
Complementary color strategy
If you’re looking for a bold color combination with lots of contrast you should choose the complementary color strategy to make your choice. Complementary colors are colors which lie opposite of each other on the color wheel like orange + blue. Putting together two opposite colors creates a balance. If you’re going for a bold and warm color like red or orange, adding a colder color like green or blue provides the balance you need.