How to Choose Your Brand’s Colors

March 9, 2021

What came first: the brand or the logo? This is an age-old question that many of us in marketing are all too familiar with. Clients say they want a creative logo to help illustrate who they are, yet they still haven’t defined their own brand identity. Remember, this is who you are, what you do, and how you solve a particular problem that customers are experiencing. 

In the simplest terms, it’s what makes you…well, you! And most importantly, it’s how customers see (or experience) your brand: 

“Brand Identity encompasses everything from marketing materials to the quality of your products and services, how well you communicate with your customers online and how your front line staff responds to inquiries,” (Strawberry Branding).

So, before you can decide on a design for a logo, you first need to establish an image that your brand creates in the minds of customers.

We’ll save that conversation for another day. Today, let’s say you already have a brand identity, an image, and a clear statement of what you offer and why you’re the best in the biz! Next, you’re ready to create your brand logo, but wait…now there’s an even more challenging quest upon you: what colors best represent your brand’s image?

We recently sat down with our creative graphic design expert, Krystine Kramer, to learn some tips on how to choose the right colors to include in your logo and help your brand image come to life.

Tips on How to Choose Your Logo’s Colors

Profile pic of Krystine, graphic designer at BrandographyQ: Why Are Colors Important?

Krystine: Color plays a pivotal role in reflecting a brand’s traits, personality, and the industry they represent. A lot of thought should go into how you want stakeholders and customers to perceive your brand.

Q: Are There Colors You Want to Stay Away from? 

Krystine: Certain industries, or businesses, may stay away from specific colors, but these same colors may be the perfect fit for a different brand. For instance, medical offices or hospitals will likely use blue (e.g., blue conveys trust and/or security). But they will often stay away from red or black (e.g., you don’t want to associate a hospital with something that reminds you of blood or death, right?). 

But red and black might be great options for a brand that wants to convey a bold personality. Look at 3M. They use red and black to reflect their precision and innovation, and it works well for their image and personality.

Q: What Are Common Mistakes Businesses Make When Choosing Colors for Their Logo?

Krystine: Going for the standard “status quo.” Don’t just pick a value green, red, or blue without exploring other options first. 

If you want to use blue in your logo, and as part of your brand palette, instead of just “blue”, see if a gray-blue, pale blue, teal, or navy best articulates your brand’s personality. It gives your brand much more nuance, and it helps differentiate you from other companies in your industry, too.

Q: What Should a Brand Choose First: Style Guide or Logo? 

Krystine: Ideally, if you’re creating a new logo, you’re also doing a rebrand simultaneously.

If you’re starting a business from scratch or looking for a complete logo/brand overhaul, one of the best investments is to hire a brand marketing professional. 

At Brandography, we work with a host of clients, helping them find their voice, personality, and goals for their unique brand. From there, we typically develop a logo and build out a branded color palette.

Q: When Does a Style Guide Come into Play?

Krystine: A style guide definitely comes in handy during the branding process, as it’s meant to document the brand for consistent use across staff and outside vendors.

If your brand feels stale, and you’re looking for an update, but for whatever reason, you aren’t ready for a complete overhaul, creating a style guide that documents your existing brand can be helpful, too. 

We usually recommend some supplementary colors to an existing brand palette to help reinvigorate the brand and get it closer to your desired perception.

Q: Once You Choose the Right Colors, How Can You Utilize Them for Other Brand Materials (i.e., website, stationary, newsletters, etc.)?

Krystine: A logo doesn’t have to contain every color within a branded palette. But the colors should all work together. 

Creating hierarchy, for example, in a color palette is crucial to creating a cohesive, professional look across all channels. Utilizing primary and secondary colors that incorporate and support the logo will create a sort of “color system” to work within that can then be applied to a website design, print collateral, or other marketing materials.

Q: Thanks Krystine! Is there anything else we should know?

Krystine: Remember, choosing the right colors for your logo is just one piece of the puzzle, when it comes to creating a unique brand that resonates with customers. That’s why it’s best to partner with professional brand builders, like our team at Brandography, to ensure your branding gets you noticed for all the best reasons!

Contact us to learn more! 

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