One of the major parts of our brand is color. It’s impossible to escape color when it comes to branding because the palette you choose can do wonders for your brand, or it can turn your ideal clients and readers away before they’ve even read a single blog post from you.
Kory here! Picking a color palette for your brand can be difficult because… hello! We’re stuck with these colors, and there are so many out there to choose from. Aside from that, the part of picking colors that many people skip is the role of color psychology. If you don’t know anything about color psychology, let me explain: the brain processes color faster than it does type or images and can bring out a certain type of emotion in us. So, it is a key way to attracting certain types of people to your blog! That’s not what we’re here today to talk about, though, so if you want to learn a little more about color psychology, check out this post from Jamie of Spruce Road.
Since we’ve been talking a lot about branding lately, I wanted to stop in and share the exact steps I use with my clients to create color palettes that will help boost their brand and work on attracting the right people to their blog and business!
So, let’s get started!
Start with an inspiration board
I always have my clients start with an inspiration board on Pinterest. This is an amazing way to visualize what it is you have in mind for your brand not just in terms of color, but also typography and the overall impression that you want for your brand. The key here is to go in with purpose and be intentional with where you want your brand to go.
So the first thing that you want to do is create a Pinterest board, a folder on your computer, or start a physical folder where you’ll collect inspiration for the new color scheme (or overall look) that you want for your brand. I usually request that my clients get at least 40 pins on their Pinterest board to get started. This is because most often we have a variety of ideas of what we want or what shades or tints of a color we like, and it gives you plenty of room to get it all out there.
Above is an example of the kinds of things you might pin if you were creating a visual inspiration board specifically for color. You can include everything from actual color schemes, pictures that include colors you like, art or patterns that represent what you may want for your brand.
While you’re adding to your board or folder, a key thing to keep in mind is not to judge what you’re pinning. It’s easy to go into any process like this and think a certain way about what you’re creating, but you want to separate that uncertainty or judgement as much as possible. Remember – this is just the starting point!
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Narrow in, like, a lot
The next step that I make all of my clients go through is narrowing in on things that speak to you and your brand the most. This is where things get difficult. You really want to be in touch with your brand from the inside (things like who you’re working or writing for, your short term and long term goals, etc) so that you can look at what you’ve collected and really examine how your current audience / clients and potential audience / clients would react to these colors.
For example, with the inspiration board above, it’s obvious that the brand would likely be one that attracts women, particularly those who deal with fashion and beauty. With that being said, the colors that you’d want to use to attract those women could be pinks, reds, and white. So if I had pins with lots of dark colors, maybe even yellow or green, I would start getting rid of them to create a more focused vision of what colors I want to represent my brand.
So, as you move through this step with the example vision board, I usually get my clients to remove about 20 – 25 pins from their board of 40, and I do this in a few steps so that they’re slowly getting more focused on what they want for their brand and really thinking about what speaks to them most.
Above is what you’d get when you started narrowing down and getting focused with your vision. Obviously this is where you could create a moodboard like many designers usually do, myself included. If you’re working on more than just color, you can pull things like typography and design inspiration, in general, for your final moodboard.
Create your final color palette
The very last step is to take what you’ve narrowed your inspiration board down to and create your final color scheme. This can be tricky, so don’t have to try to force yourself to do all of these steps within a day or two. Remember: you’re doing this for your brand, so it’s totally okay if it takes you a week or two.
There are a few ways that you can go from here to pick your final color palette. First, you can create your color palette yourself. This is what I do for my clients, and while I’m working on picking the colors I take into consideration many things including their target audience / market, what colors they like and thought would be good for their brand, and the colors that keep popping up throughout their Pinterest board and their final moodboard that we worked together to create. Following those things, I created the color palette below based on the sample visual inspiration we’ve been looking at.
However, that can be hard for people, especially those who aren’t designers or feel particularly creative. Fortunately, there are many different tools out there that can take the pressure off of you and create the color palette from your final moodboard. For example, a great tool for this is Palette Generator. All you have to do is upload an image, and it’ll create a color palette for you based on those in the image itself. Below is the first 7 colors that I got from putting in the same final vision board image from above. There are several other tools like this that will do the same thing, but this one seems to get closest to what I would pull from a photo.
Another great tool for creating your color palette is Coolors! Say you knew from the vision board above that you wanted to have some sort of pinkish red color, you can go into Coolors and set that color and then play around with the rest of the colors to get something that works for you. You can see that in action in the graphic below, where the middle color is the one that I set. It’s important to keep in mind here that this is likely going to give you a wide range of color palettes, so don’t be afraid to keep playing around until you find something that best suits your brand and where you want to go.
Ready to create a color palette for your brand?
Have you used these or similar tips to create your own color palette? Will you be trying this out to revise your current color scheme? If you use these tips, be sure to let us know in the comments. We’d love to see what you come up with!