Primary brand colours play a crucial role in establishing a consistent and recognisable visual identity for your brand. These colours are often a key component of your company’s logo and are typically limited to 1–3 hues. The right primary colours can influence how your brand is perceived by your target audience, leading to increased brand recognition, customer loyalty, and sales.
In this blog series, we’ll cover the complete process of selecting colours for your brand. However, at this stage we’ll solely focus on selecting primary brand colours, and examine the various factors to consider when choosing primary brand colours, including colour psychology, brand personality, competitor research, etc.
But before we dive in, it’s essential to understand the basics of colour psychology. Colour psychology is the study of how colours impact human behaviour and emotions, it’s a complex and multi-faceted field. The interpretation of colours can vary widely and are dependent on multiple factors.
For a detailed take on colour psychology, check out my previous article:“The truth about colour psychology in design: Is it worth the hype?”.
To select primary brand colours, it’s important to consider:
One of the most important steps in selecting primary brand colours is identifying your target audience. Your target audience will have a significant impact on the colours you choose for your brand.
This step is all about understanding your brand’s identity, values, and mission. These elements will help you determine the overall tone, mood, and message you want to convey through your brand’s colour scheme.
Use these brand characteristics and values to guide your colour choices. It will give you a clear picture of what colours should be used and which should be avoided.
It’s about understanding how the culture and location of your target audience may influence the perception of colours.
Research your competitors’ colour choices and market trends to inform your own. You can either blend in or stand out. Consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of each approach.
Also, keep track of industry colour trends for insights on popular and well-received colours. Use these insights to make informed decisions about your brand’s colour choices.
In this step, we take the findings from the four steps and determine the most suitable colour options for the brand “XYZ”. Our aim is to convey the brand's personality and values to its target audience along with establishing the desired colour mood and tone.
To establish the colour mood, consider the emotions you wish to evoke in your target audience. For instance, if you want to create a sense of calmness and tranquillity consider using cool colours such as greens, blues and neutral earth tones. On the other hand, if you want to inspire positivity and energy think about using warm colors such as pinks and peaches.
To determine the colour tone consider the level of saturation and brightness in your colour palette. If you’re looking for bold, attention-grabbing colours, opt for bright, saturated hues. On the other hand, If you prefer a more understated look, consider subdued and desaturated hues.
Note: The charts below offer colour meanings for reference. An in-depth blog on colour meanings and limitations could be published upon demand.
The brand “XYZ” is a premium skincare brand that targets well-educated, health-conscious women aged 25-45. The brand emphasizes the use of organic ingredients. Takes pride in its eco friendly practices.
Research indicates that the target audience values environmental-friendly products and is drawn to brands that prioritise their health.
Competitor analysis reveals that many premium skincare brands use greens and blues to convey their commitment, to being eco-friendly and natural.
“XYZ” aims to differentiate itself from the competition.
Based on these findings we can consider the following colour choices, for the brand “XYZ”;
Each of these options appeals to different aspects of the brand’s target audience, values, and mission. Brands must experiment with different hues and saturations to discover an appropriate fit. Once the colour options have been narrowed down, the brand can proceed to the next step.
With the colour mood and tone determined, it’s time to finalize the primary colour hues that will define your brand’s visual identity. The specific colours you choose have a significant impact on how your brand is perceived.
Consider the interplay of hue, saturation, and brightness when selecting primary colour hues. Bright and saturated warm colours evoke distinct emotions like power, passion (red), joy and optimism (yellow), and enthusiasm (orange). Similarly, bright and saturated cool colours evoke feelings of trust and calm (blue) and growth (green).
In cases of less saturated and brighter or high-saturated and darker colours, individual psychological associations may not be as pronounced, but they work together cohesively to create a mood.
To refine your primary colour hues:
For our fictional brand “XYZ,” they chose Option 1: Subdued cool and earthy colours to align with nature and wellness. They focused on two primary colours:
Primary Color 1: Subdued Green — Reflects commitment to nature, health, and harmony. Evokes calmness and wellness.
Primary Color 2: Subdued Blue — Corresponds with trust, stability, and reliability. Creates a sense of peace.
Strategically crafting a primary colour palette that deeply connects with your audience and reflects the essence of your brand will help establish a memorable and lasting visual identity. Remember, the process is iterative, requiring testing and refining to evoke desired emotional responses and effectively portray your brand.
In this blog, we covered the essential steps of selecting primary brand colours that resonate with your brand’s identity and values. By factoring in colour psychology, target audience, brand characteristics, etc. We’ve gained insights into crafting a colour palette that communicates effectively.
In the upcoming blog, we’ll delve into the fascinating world of colour theory to explore secondary colour palettes that complement your primary colours and the significance of accent colours. We’ll discuss harmonious combinations to enhance the visual identity and convey certain emotions.
Stay tuned for more insights and practical tips as we continue the exploration of colour in branding. Whether you’re a seasoned designer or new to the realm of branding, this series aims to provide you with the knowledge to make informed colour decisions that resonate with your target audience and establish a powerful brand identity.