What color conveys about a brand is more complex than you think. To find out more, we asked a panel of successful young entrepreneurs to share their tips for picking the right palette for their demographic and product. Here’s what they had to say.
1. Know Your Audience
Before choosing the color for a brand, it’s critical to understand the demographics and psychographics of the intended audience. A 20-year-old, video game-playing male will generally react differently to colors than a 55-year-old mother.
Color choice should resonate with the audience. For example, a pastel pink and yellow site color palette would typically be a big turnoff for the first group, but could strongly resonate with the moms.
Second, choose colors that represent the emotions that your brand intends to elicit. A professional law firm tends to position itself differently than a hipster clothing store. Likewise, the colors should match the positioning. – Patrick Conley, Automation Heroes
2. Follow the 60-30-10 Rule
Designers frequently use the 60-30-10 rule, which suggests that you choose three different colors and use them in the ratio of 60%, 30% and 10%. This rule provides a simple way to create a professional color scheme for your brand. – Jared Christopherson, Yellowhammer
3. Analyze the Competition
Taking a look at the logos, websites and color schemes of your competitor set can help when choosing the color scheme for your online brand. Whether you want to convey belonging within the traditional guard of your industry, or you want to stand out from the competition with your color scheme, getting a sense of the tones and textures used by comparable companies is a great start in your planning process for online branding. – Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.
4. Think Psychologically
Look for colors that give a psychological response to an audience, especially for an online brand that looks to drive traffic. Just keep in mind your target audience and the type of feeling they would like to be experiencing when surfing your site.
For example, if your goal is to get attention, use high-contrast colors like black-yellow, red-white, etc. (If you think about it, those are the colors of caution and stop signs.) But if your goal is to evoke a sense of peace of mind/serenity, go with peaceful colors like blue/purple/green. – Kenny Nguyen, Big Fish Presentations
Look at the landscape of your competition and go the opposite direction. Put all of the other brands up on a board/screen so you can see all the colors you’re not going to use. Differentiation is key to building a charismatic brand. – Jake Stutzman, Elevate
6. Go Past Color to Personality
Think beyond just the color scheme to how colors can complement the mood and personality of your brand online. For example, if you’re going for friendly and energetic, look for vibrant and warm colors that can help augment that feeling from your users. If you want to instill confidence or exhibit professionalism, use colder, bolder and cleaner color combos. Don’t be afraid to use several color schemes on different pages, if your website hosts different types of users or subject matter. – Chuck Longanecker, digital-telepathy
7. Check Out COLOURlovers.com
It’s tricky to find a palette that is current and bold, without being trendyand that will stand the test of time. I use COLOURlovers.com because you can look at how colors complement each other. It’s also okay to stick with colors that represent your industry — blue for healthcare, red for dating, green for gardening, etc.
Once you settle on a color scheme, it’s really important to see how the colors look on different monitors and devices. Sometimes colors look totally rad on an iPad but terrible on a PC monitor. Or the colors might appear really different on a smartphone than they do on a laptop. Remember that usability comes first — don’t use colors at your users’ expense. – Jim Belosic, ShortStack/Pancake Labs
8. Be Intentional
When it comes to choosing the right color scheme, intentionality and simplicity should be your driving factors. Typically, two to three colors is all you’ll need in an effective design. Once you have your base color scheme in place, pick a bold accent color to use for your primary calls to action throughout your site.
Think about where you want your site visitors to look. What do you want them to do? How should they interact? What actions do you want them to take? Use a bolder accent color to help the user navigate your content and bring attention to your most important messages. And remember: DON’T GO OVERBOARD. Keep it simple. – Matt Cheuvront, Proof Branding
9. Do Your Research
Start with doing your research. Know what your competition is doing, and you can find a balance between fitting in with your industry, while still being unique to the other brands in your space. Look for a color palette with contrasting colors that you can use for buttons, links and CTAs. – John Meyer, Lemon.ly
10. Think Big
Go bold or go home. Go with colors that set you apart, while keeping away from “what’s popular right now,” as fads usually fade. – Ziver Birg, ZIVELO