The last important consideration when designing with color is making sure that you use it consistently, across all of your designed materials.
How do you do that?
1. Decide what colors you will use in the logo design stage of the process. Use the brand definition of your company and the meaning of colors to determine the best colors for your company.
2. Decide if you will use any secondary colors. All of your colors don’t have to appear in the logo itself. In this example, I’ve used a lighter blue on the business card, letterhead and envelope – and that blue doesn’t appear in the logo.
3. Decide where and how those secondary colors will be used. You have control over this decision – so execute on it as consistently as possible across all of your materials.
4. Before printing your materials or publishing online, put them all together in one place and really look at the color usage to make sure they’re consistent. They can appear to match when they’re in separate files, but then not be a good fit when they’re actually all seen together.
5. When you do print, use a high-quality printer. Whether you use a home printer or have your materials professionally printed, make sure your printer is correctly calibrating for color. When printing with a professional, make sure they have up-to-date equipment and it’s well-maintained. When printing at home, make sure that your ink cartridges are full and not streaking. And, that you’re using the right printer settings to get the most color bang for your buck – if you use the “ink saving” mode on a nice marketing flyer, your clients will be able to tell, and that can hurt your message.
6. Run proofs to check for color. Many professional printers will give you an opportunity to run a proof to check the color of your project. It’s a good idea to do so – even if you’ve used the printer before, because their color calibration settings could have changed. The proof might cost more, but the consistency can be worth it.
7. Use good quality, consistent paper. Colors can look different on a bright white paper or an ivory-toned paper, so it’s good to use the same paper across all of your marketing materials to maintain color consistency.
8. Be a guardian of your color scheme – down to the details. Even if you’re just designing a quick flyer, making an addition to your website, or creating a PowerPoint document, color will come in to play. Link colors, colors of charts or graphs, and even the color palette in your stock photography can reinforce – or clash with – your brand. Use yours consistently through the life of your business to continue to look consistent.
With that, I wrap up color week – thanks for tuning in! And I’ll be answering another question next week in the blog.