• Eloise Stewart

HOW TO STAY ON BRAND: COLORS



Color is an incredibly important part of branding but often is misused and underused consistently for small business brands.


When we design a color palette for clients, we ask them a series of questions, we evaluate how their target audience will respond to the proposed colors, and we consider the type of industry, service/product, and personality of the brand.


Here are a few questions our clients ask us.

We thought it would be helpful to share them with anyone else wondering the same questions.

Don’t worry, we have kept it simple for anyone to understand!


WHAT DO COLOR PALETTES LOOK LIKE?

Our palettes typically have 5-6 colors in them. You can see a few examples below:





TIP: If you want to start looking at palettes and colors for your brand,

we love going to Adobe Color and looking at the Explore page.



WHY DO YOU NEED A PALETTE OF COLORS?


A brand gets boring and overlooked if only one color is used across all designs. Color can break through the noise of all the designs, advertisements, and information we are exposed to every day. The combination of the colors in the color palette creates balance, a focal point, interest, and reduces monotony.


CAN I USE OTHER COLORS OUTSIDE OF MY COLOR PALETTE?


On daily graphics like social media - no. Consistency is key.

BUT… there are instances that you can incorporate a new temporary color for an event or campaign. Or if you want to incorporate holiday colors into a design like a Christmas card. If you are designing a Christmas card, pay attention to the shade of red or green you are using. If your brand has bright colors, pick a brighter red/green. If your brand is muted, pick a muted or soft red/green.



DO YOU USE ALL THE COLORS IN YOUR PALETTE EQUALLY?


Nope! There will be 1-2 main colors that are used in your logos and then the other colors are usually accent colors or neutrals. The main colors will be used most frequently across all designs. The neutrals are used to create balance and rest for the eye. The accent colors add interest and are meant to draw attention to important content or aspects of the design. Accent colors are not used in all designs.


For larger brands with many sub brands, campaigns or events, we might have additional colors or shades of the main color palette. We will take one of the colors from the palette and make it the main font for a specific sub brand, event branding or campaign. This allows for the sub brand to be cohesive with the bigger brand but also stand out to the viewer.



WHAT ARE COLOR NOTATIONS

and how are they used?


We provide 3-4 color notations on our branding boards for clients. This ensures that they stay on brand across print and digital designs. There is not just one black or white or navy in the universe. There are countless variations. Notation systems help us and machines (websites or printers) identify the notation that the naked eye can’t see.



RGB: FOR DIGITAL USE

Google says it best, “A color in the RGB color model is described by indicating how much of each of the RED, GREEN, and BLUE is included. The color is expressed as an RGB triplet (r,g,b)...”


R = Red

G = Green

B = Blue



CMYK: FOR PRINTING

Google says it best, “CMYK colors is a combination of CYAN, MAGENTA, YELLOW, and BLACK. Computer screens display colors using RGB color values. Printers often present colors using CMYK color values.”


C = Cyan

M = Magenta

Y = Yellow

K = Black



HEX: FOR QUICK COLOR MATCHING

Google says it best: “Hex color codes start with a pound sign or hashtag (#) and are followed by six letters and/or numbers. The first two letters/numbers refer to red, the next two refer to green, and the last two refer to blue. The color values are defined in values between 00 and FF.”


Programs like Canva will ask for the Hex code. This is an easy way to “match” a color on a digital program so that you can stay on brand without guessing if a color is in your brand color palette.




PANTONE: FOR THE MOST ACCURATE MATCHING

Pantone is a color notation system used by designers of many mediums. If you aren’t a designer or creative, you probably won’t need to use a Pantone book unless your local printer pulls out a book to compare colors. Pantone is the best way to make sure your brand colors print consistently across printer machines, papers, and materials. Some online printers will ask for the Pantone notation to make sure you get the exact shade of navy that you want.



HOW DO I FIND A COLOR IF I AM ONLY GIVEN ONE NOTATION?

if you are given one type of notation but you need it translated into another, you can use websites to find a close match. For example, you might have the Pantone color notation but you need the Hex code, you can a converter like this one.


 

If you need help defining your color palette, contact Eloise to see if

we are the right fit for you! You can see more of our work here.


If this blog post was helpful, share with others or pin to Pinterest.