How to pick the right brand colours for your small business.

confused about how to choose your brand colours?


Does choosing the right brand colours feel confusing?


Are you worried about choosing the wrong colours for your brand? Have you questioned whether it’s ok to use a colour just because you liked it? Maybe you’ve replicated someone else’s brand colours? Or playing it safe with good old black and white?


Your not alone selecting colours can be a minefield, but the process doesn’t have to give a you headache. If you feel fearful around picking the wrong colours, it’s because you don’t know the right way to approach it. And hold onto your seats because today I’ll be sharing a step by step approach to help you choose the right brand colours. Leave here feeling confident knowing you’ve picked the best colours for your brand.


I would like to mention that we must keep in mind that colour is a very abstract concept. All designers and creatives approach it differently. Therefore it’s difficult to set specific rules for colour select, one of the many reasons why you’ve probably been finding it difficult. That why I’m sharing a approach, that is best suited for anyone DIYing their brand.



Audio Time Stamp | 01:09

The Importance of colour


Colour is greatly important, it’s the first thing we register even before shapes or words. It’s all around us in our everyday life, it’s even used to keep us safe. For example: traffic lights, Warning Signs, Spicy Products etc. Colour can help gain our attention and communicate a message without them having to say a word. So what i’m saying is yes colour is important, and a really powerful tool for your brand identity.


How colour works for brands?


Neuroscientist Antionio Damasio once said, “How customers feel about a brand has more pull than what they think about a brand.” We’ve all had a gut feeling, and things like trust and loyalty drives your customers purchasing decisions. Therefore we want our brands to awaken that emotional response, colour is a great tool to set the mood for your brand.


How many colours?


A brand will usually have one core colour. For example if i said CocaCola, Tiffanies or Facebook, you see red, turquoise and blue. These brands have use these colours as their core colour, by using the same colour repetitively a strong association between brand and colour has been made. I understand, your business isn’t on the same scale but should be taken with the same amount of importance and used consistently.



Audio Time Stamp | 02:36

Olivia’s Brand Colour Approach


Step one


First of all you need to get a clear idea on the popular colours use within your industry. This can take a bit of time, the best way to do this is by searching on Pinterest your industry or a topic within your industry. For Example If your a Wedding photography you can type in wedding planning, how to pick a wedding photographer etc. Click search and you will receive a feed full of other brands within your industry. Instantly you’ll gain a good sense of the common colours used, but you might also want to replicate this search process on Instagram with hashtags. It’s also a good idea to screen shoot the colours you see for later reference.


The Meaning behind Colours


Step two


It’s now time to looking at colours and their hidden meaning! In a previous episode I talked about how you can look at a picture of person smiling and it can make you feel happy. Well colours can also have the same effect, they can evoke emotions. It’s your responsibilities to research into these, but to help you out i’ve included a simplified list of colours the feels they can evoke.


Yellow – Happiness

Red – Romance Danger

Green – Nature Harmony

Blue – Calm

Pink – Feminine

Purple – Regal/Creative

Orange – Energy

Brown – Earthy

Grey – Neutral

Black – Serious


Where colour and you fit in?


Individually we are drawn to different colours than others, that’s ok when choosing clothing! But when choosing colours for your brand, what you like should be the only reason why you pick certain colours. You must be objective, and look at colour in regards to which one would best suit your brand. I would never force my clients to use a brand colour that they really hated, if your a heavily personal branded then their should be some wiggle room to be a little subjective.



Audio Time Stamp | 04:58

To fit in Or to standout?


Step three


It’s time to analyse and decided which brand colours is right for you. Look back over the commonly used colours within your industry. Now ask yourself “What would best suit your brand, to fit in or to standout? Fitting in isn’t as bad as you might first think, there are benefits to it for one by using similar colours in your industry, it can rub off a beginners level of credibility and trust that has been built by other brands. However, the risk is you’ll look a bit samey! If your just starting your business sometime fitting in with the rest of your industry feel more comfortable, so listen to your gut too.


By selecting a specific colour that is being underused in your industry, it give you the better advantage of being noticed and standing out. However keep in mind that being radically different, can scare people off! Being different can make your brand seem unpredictable and therefore more risky. So choose you strategy with caution, but we aren’t stopping just their.


Brand Strategy Reflection


I think you ready to take your colour evaluation that one step further and really hit the nail on the head with your brand colours. So dig out your brands strategy, and refresh your mind over the following, Brand values, Brand Archetype and Personality. Now in order to match the right colour with your brand strategy you need to think about the main emotion you want your ideal audience to feel. This then helps you discover which colour evokes the closet emotion you want to covey.


Organising your palette


By now you should know if you want to fit in or standout and which colour that best suit your brand strategy. Now it’s time to make sense of it all.


The last colour you choose is the colour, that has the most appropriate meaning to suit your brand strategy. Hopefully this colour is included in the right category you decided earlier either the fitting in group or standing out. Then it’s safe to say that this is your core brand colour, you can now do further research at tones, saturation to find the perfect tone. You can also now start looking at other colours to either contrast or compliment it within your palette.


Colours aren’t adding up?


However, you might not have found it so easily. That might be because your the colour you matched up with your strategy, might not fit into either the fitting in or stand out categories.If this is you listen up, its time to reassess. Think about the decision you made earlier, does fitting in really suit your brand strategy? Have you chosen to stand out with colour for the right reasons, or just for the sake of being different? You can change your mind at this point. However if you know that the choose you made is the right one, then use the selected colour as a part of your brand palette, so it’s more of a secondary colour no the focus. Now refer back to the list of colours that were commonly used or underused and and match up again the best meaning to with the emotion you want to evoke, this is now your core colour.



Audio Time Stamp | 08:48

Time to pick the right brand colours!


Hey presto! You now have the best approach to choosing your own brand colours. Remember colour is an abstract concept and there are a lot of factors that can come into play here. That’s why you will have to make some difficult decisions and why some people turn to a professional. But, i’ve provide you now with a step by step guide, so nothings stopping you now! No more randomly selected your brand colours and finally stop worrying about if you’ve made the right decision! DIY brand get a bad rep but really it’s because you haven’t done your research. Wondering how to build your brand strategy so you can form your brand colours? Tune into episode 03 to Build your brand identity in 5 simple steps.