3 easy steps to picking your perfect brand color palette

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As soon as someone lands on your blog, before they read a single word, they instantly get a vibe. 

Your brand color palette has everything to do with that vibe.

Picking the right color palette for your brand is extremely important but that doesn’t mean it has to be stressful. It just means there needs to be some special attention and TLC taken to make that color palette work well for you and your audience.

I’m going to walk you through step-by-step (🎵day by day🎵 << please tell me you got that 90’s reference!) how to pick your perfect brand color palette.

Let’s dive in!

Spiffy graphics | 3 steps to picking your perfect brand color palette | graphic design | brand design | diy branding | how to brand your blog

But first!….

How many colors do you need for your brand color palette?

Short answer is it varies from 3-7. Typically there are 5-6 colors in a blog’s color palette. 

Bloggers focus their color and design on their website, so when you’re picking your colors, it’s important to keep in mind the different parts of the website and how you’re going to use the colors.

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  • One really dark (background or text)
  • One really light (back ground or text)
  • One dominant color (this is the main color associated with your brand and will identify you. Sometimes there are two main colors, but if you’re just beginning, stick to one for now. Remember you can always use other colors as accents, but you need just ONE dominant color.)
  • One “take action” color (CTA color. AKA… the color of your buttons.)
  • 1 to 3 accent colors (you can use these colors to identify different types of content or categories. You can also use them as gradients or overlays in your graphics)
Want to know the 3 easiest steps to picking your perfect brand color palette.

Step 1: Strategically start with one color

Start with picking out your main color. 

Here are a few ways to approach this:

  • Go to pinterest and draw some inspiration from your favorite photos. Pick ones that make you scream “THATS SO ME! THAT’S WHAT I WANT!” (figuratively… lets not go around screaming at our phones and tablets.. or do… 🤷🏻‍♀️ whatever makes you happy!) Because if a certain color stirs that kind of excitement in you, chances are, it will do the same for your audience every time they visit your site.
  • When you’re picking your main color, ask yourself questions like “what is the MAIN EMOTION I’m trying to convey to my audience?” Is it calming? Exciting? Inspiring? Motivating?
  • Or think of it this way… What is a main emotional pain point your target audience is currently feeling? Try to use a color that would help counteract that. 
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For example: 

If you blog about mental illness and ways to overcome it, gray would be a bad color to use in your color palette and website because it’s associated with depression and sadness. 

Orange, yellow and turquoise are good colors to use instead.

Below, I have a list of colors and some positive and negative emotions associated with them. I’ve included the negative because if there is a certain feeling you want to avoid, it helps you figure out what not to use in your color palette. 

Red – love, passion, anger, danger

Orange – confidence, friendliness, ignorance, controversial

Yellow – energetic, creative, happy, irresponsible, unstable

Pink – playful, friendly, weak, immature

Blue – calming, increase productivity, security, fear, coldness

Green – growth, soothing, reduces anxiety, envy, guilt

Purple – ambition, creativity, royalty, moodiness, mystery

Turquoise – healing, spirituality, protection, envy

Black – sophistication, powerful, death, creates strong emotion 

Gray – secure, intellectual, depression, unsettling

White – purity, clarity, inspires decluttering, cold, distant

Brown – friendly, earthy, conservative

Related: how to build a powerful brand identity

Step 2: Choose the best tones. 

Tones are adjusting the intensity (going either lighter or darker) and they have their own effect on colors. 

So from the main color you chose above, decide whether or not going lighter, brighter/bolder, or darker is best for your brand and your audience. 

Color tones | graphic design | spiffy graphics | 3 steps to picking your perfect brand color palette

Lighter tint (adding white to your color) = more peaceful, lighter and not as energetic feeling. More feminine.

Darker shade (adding black to your color) = more mysterious. More masculine. 

Not adding black or white keeps the color bright and bold. This is good for “loud” and energetic brands.

So referring back to the example i used above, keeping a lighter tint to your color palette will give an overall calming effect. Going with a lot of dark and bold colors wouldn’t help sell the idea that you’re trying to help people overcome mental illness. 

Does that make sense?

Step 3: choose the kind of color palette you want

Now that you have a color picked out, you want to decide the type of palette you want. There are 5 different kinds. 

Below I’ve listed some examples to demonstrate these types of brand color palettes.

Monochromatic – This is when your entire color palette is based on just one color and it is VERY popular. I’ve seen a LOT of bloggers use just one color with different tints and shades to create their entire brand look. 

Complementary – This means colors on the opposite side of the color wheel. Opposite colors are complementary because one makes the other one POP. This method is used a lot in makeup (just an FYI) to make certain eye colors pop. 

Analogous – This is using colors that are side-by-side on the color wheel. Typically this is used if you want to use all warm colors or all cool colors in your palette.

Triad – This is a color scheme I don’t HIGHLY recommend for beginners. It can get busy and muddied because to use a triad means you have three colors that are equal distance apart on the color wheel and one and not dominant over the other. They are all used equally. 

Neutral with a pop of color – This (in my opinion at least) is a cool modern spin on a monochromatic color palette. It’s dominated by one color (no variation in shade, just one color. Period.) and the the supporting colors around it are all neutral. I created a color scheme like this in my Creative Brand Kit and it’s mostly black, white and gray with a splash of yellow. 

Extra tip! – Remember the two C’s

Contrast and consistency. These two things really make a difference between an amature and a pro look. 

Make sure you’re using the same colors in ALL of your graphics across you website AND social media! Do not deviate from your color palette (or do it rarely if it can’t be avoided) to always look “on brand.”

Consistency also means making all your links one color, all your buttons one color, all your subheadings one color… you get the idea. It makes navigating your site MUCH easier when these are consistent across your site.

Test your contrast. An easy way to test your contrast is to plop your colors in coolors.co and click on “view luminance map.” This will show your colors in grey scale. If the shades all seem to blend together too much and there’s not much distinction between them, you need to adjust the tones and brightness to make them contrast more. Play around with it. 

Related: How to make kick-ass blog graphics from free stock photos

Conclusion

Remember it does not need to be perfect to look good. Don’t get overwhelmed with all the rules of graphic design. Use them as guidelines and just knowing what to look for will give you a leg up in designing a beautiful color palette for your brand!

Where do you get color inspiration? Other blogs or Pinterest photos or something else entirely? Please share with me down in the comments below!

Until next time,

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