How do I choose colors for my brand?

This is a huge question! Colors are incredibly important to any brand – and they come into play in a variety of ways. Here are several factors that should be considered when picking colors from your brand, in order of importance:

1. Meaning. The meanings of the colors that you choose help convey the emotions you’d like to show with your brand. Each color can have a psychological effect. Decide on your business’s brand personality first, and choose colors that are commonly associated with the personality you want to demonstrate.

2. Relation. The relationship of the colors within your brand to one another. Some colors look better together, while others clash. You want to choose colors that are attractive together – and that “go” together.

3. Contrast. It is important that you have colors of different value and intensity available to work with in your brand. Then, you can make sure that you have colors to use in elements that are next to each other that won’t blend together too much. You can also have foreground and background colors. Colors of different contrast also help colorblind people to distinguish your brand elements from one another.

4. Trends. You’ve probably noticed that the colors of clothes in stores go through different color palettes with the seasons – often pastels in spring, brights in summer, and deeper jewel tones at the holidays. Colors for business brands also go through trends.  For example, turquoise is the color of the year for 2010. Trends are both good and bad in branding. If you happen to be on-trend with your color choices, your materials can look very modern. But, once those colors go out of style, you can quickly look dated. Be aware of color trends, and use trendy colors as seasonal highlights. But, don’t choose your brand colors based on the colors of the moment.

5. Illusion. Colors can change the way that other colors look just by being next to one another. This is called “simultaneous contrast”. For example, if you put a yellow-green colored square next to a yellow square, it will look more yellow. If you put the same yellow-green next to a green square, the yellow-green will look more green. This is an important consideration in a brand because you want to make sure that your colors always look true.