Choosing Brand Colors

Choosing Brand Colors

In my previous post, I determined intrinsic color meaning is fairly arbitrary. There’s no universal color for specific emotions, and different people associate different colors with different memories or feelings.

So my answer to how you pick a color for your brand is to choose colors that reflect your brand’s personality. And create your own associative meanings around your colors.

Use color to reflect your brand’s personality

Think about famous brand colors and how they’ve become iconic. Pepsi is red, white, and blue, choosing to appeal to the American, patriotic nature of its drinkers. Hallmark chose a deep purple. Paired with their crown logo, this perfectly reflects the royalty and the high level of customer service you get from Hallmark. Starbucks is green, subtly invoking a sense of environmentally conscious peacefulness. And you have a chance to do the same thing with your brand: create something iconic.

Pepsi logo.jpg
Starbucks logo

Choosing a color

Use your colors to complete your brand’s story. Just like your website design can’t stand in isolation from quality content, all your marketing materials unify to create a coherent story. Think about what phrases come to mind when you think about your brand. Make a list of words that reflect who you are, and then think what color best reflects or pairs with those words. It’s okay to create your own associative meanings.

Choosing a secondary color

After you have chosen your brand’s main color, you need to choose a secondary color as well. There are three main strategies you can employ while making this decision:  

1.    Tints and shades

Each color family has different tints and shades. 

Tints occur by adding white to hues.

red tints.jpg

And shades are a result of adding black.

red shades.jpg

Choosing a tint or shade of your main color may be a good option for your brand, and the two colors will work well together, not clashing. 

2.    Analogous colors

Another way to create harmony within your color scheme is by choosing analogous colors. Choose two or more colors that sit next to each other on the color wheel, and you’ll get an analogous color scheme. 

Analogous colors

Analogous colors

Nature often features analogous colors (think about sunsets in the above example), making an analogous palette pleasing. 

3.    Complementary colors

Complementary colors are two colors that are directly opposite each other on the color wheel. The contrast in the color scheme still makes visual sense while creating a sense of energy. 

Complementary colors

Complementary colors

In the end, you want your brand to be iconic and recognizable with just a glance. And as with the rest of your marketing strategy, choosing the right colors requires thought and analysis. Don’t decide on a whim, be informed, and make sure your colors reflect your brand’s personality above all.

About the author

Autumn Nicholson.jpg

I'm Autumn Nicholson, Director of Internet Marketing. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in English and took the first editing job I could find, at a marketing company in South Carolina. I joined Farmore Marketing in 2014 to put my internet marketing experience to good use—and to spend more time on the beach. I invest much of my time volunteering for nonprofits, reading, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix. You can connect with me here:


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