When it comes to building a brand, there’s so many things to consider (and design!), from logos to websites to additional brand assets (like marketing brochures and creative business cards). But one of the first—and most important—design features you need to consider when building a brand? Your Color palette.
Every successful brand knows that the right color palette is an essential part of their identity; the colors you choose will go a long way in showing your audience who you are and influencing their perception of your brand—which, ultimately, will help drive results.
But what, exactly, is a brand color palette? How (and why) do they work? And what lessons on all-things-color can you learn from some of the most successful brand color palettes in the world? These are the questions we’ll be answering in the article below.
What is a color palette and why is it an important part of the branding process?
Before we dive into how brands can use color palettes, let’s briefly touch on what a brand color palette is and why it is such an important part of the branding process.
A brand color palette are the colors a brand chooses to represent their brand in all of their design assets, like their logo and web design. Typically, a brand color palette will feature anywhere from two to six colors; less than two colors is just a single color, not a palette and more than six can start to feel overwhelming.
You can choose to use each color of your brand color palette equally in your designs, or you can let one color take center stage and use the rest of the colors in your palette as accents.
However you decide to structure your brand color palette, the colors you choose should work together to create a sense of visual appeal in your designs.
Building a brand color palette might sound simple and straightforward; choose the colors you like and you’re ready to roll. But the truth is, color is one of the most important parts of the branding process—and if you’re not strategic with your brand color palette, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to connect with your audience and take your brand to the next level.
Color is an extremely powerful thing; people have strong associations with color and when you can understand those associations, you can use color to influence your audience’s emotions, perceptions, and behaviors. This concept is called color psychology and when you understand the power behind color, you can use it to build a brand color palette that’s going to truly connect with your ideal customer and drive results.
For example, launching a financial consulting business and want people to view you as stable and dependable? You’ll definitely want to incorporate blue, which people tend to associate with trustworthiness.
Opening an ecommerce shop and want to drive sales? Try incorporating red into your logo, which inspires passion and excitement—key emotions for people wanting to make a purchase.
You can (and should) incorporate your brand color palette in all of your brand assets—including any presentations you design for your company. Get started one of Canva’s presentation templates, like the Blue and Red Hustle Loft Co Working Presentation or the Green Employee On Boarding Professional Presentation.
How to use your brand color palette
Alright, so now that you know what a brand color palette is (and why it’s so important), let’s talk about the different ways you can use your brand color palette.
You can use your brand color palette to:
Drive design decisions
One of the key ways to use your brand color palette? To drive design decisions.
Ideally, putting together your brand color palette will be one of the first you check off your branding to-do list; that way, you can get clear from the get-go on how you want to use color to strengthen your brand and then use that to drive your design decisions.
Bottom line: Your brand color palette will dictate every design decision you make, from your logo to your website to your Facebook ads, so it’s important to choose your colors early in the branding process.
Your brand color palette should drive all of your design decisions. And one of the first design decisions you need to make for your brand? Your logo. Incorporate your brand color palette into one of Canva’s logo templates, like the Blue Bordered Retail Logo or the Bold Black and Yellow Etsy Shop Logo.
Help communicate your brand identity to your audience
The colors you choose for your palette are going to communicate a lot about who you are to your audience, whether you like it or not.
So why not take control of the message?
By being strategic with the colors you choose to feature in your brand color palette, you can send a clear message about your brand identity to your audience. You can use your brand color palette to show them you’re stable and trustworthy, tech savvy and cutting-edge, masculine, feminine, fun and whimsical, serious and buttoned-up.
Color can go a long way to strengthen your brand messaging. Send the right message (with the right colors, of course!) with one of Canva’s announcement templates, like the Purple Geometric Event Announcement Poster or the Orange Blue Modern Photo Job Vacancy Announcement.
Strengthen your branding and drive brand recognition
Another effective way to use your brand color palette? To strengthen your branding and drive brand recognition with your audience.
When you’re strategic with your color choices, your brand color palette can be just as recognizable and tied to your brand as your logo (for example, McDonald’s is just as easily recognized by their red-and-yellow color palette as they are by their famous Golden Arches logo). In fact, According to data from Kissmetrics, color increases brand recognition by up to 80 percent.
If you’re trying to break through the clutter and establish yourself as a brand people immediately recognize (and let’s be real—what brand isn’t?), your brand color palette can go a long way in getting you there.
When you hand someone your business card, they should be able to immediately recognize your branding—and color can go a long way in making that happen. Design your own with one of Canva’s business card templates, like the Pastel Modern Web Designer Business Card or the Black and White Polka Dots Beauty Business Card.
Successful brand color palettes and why they work
You know what a brand color palette is. You know why it’s important and how to use it to your advantage. Now, let’s take a look at some of the most famous brand color palettes in action (and, more importantly, why they’re so effective):
As mentioned, McDonalds has one of the most recognizable—and effective—brand color palettes on the planet. The bright red and yellow are not only attention grabbing, but they immediately remind you of ketchup and mustard—the perfect association for the fast food giant.
Blue is one of the most popular colors in the banking industry—and for good reason! The color blue is most closely associated with trustworthiness and reliability, which is exactly the kind of feelings a financial institution wants to inspire in its customer base. CHASE wisely pairs a deep blue with other neutrals (like gray and black) to create a traditional color palette that’s sure to generate a sense of trust with their customers.
If you want to appear trustworthy, stable, and reliable incorporating blue in your brand color palette is a must. Get the look with one of Canva’s blue logo templates, like the Blue Truck Industrial Logo or the Blue With Brown Rope Travel Logo.
Most brands have a target audience, but pretty much everyone uses Google. And by choosing universally appealing primary colors (blue, red, yellow, and green), to feature in their color palette, Google is able to appeal to the wide spectrum of users in their customer base. Think of it as casting a wide color net!
Using bright, vibrant colors in your color palette is a great way to grab your audience’s attention. Capture the vibrancy of Google’s brand color palette with one of Canva’s logo templates, like the Pink and Purple Events & Party Entertainment Logo or the Teal and Orange Boxes Art & Design Logo.
One of the strongest color associations? Green and nature. That’s why Seventh Generation’s brand color palette works so well. By incorporating multiple shades of green into their palette, they send the message that they’re a brand focused on all-things-natural—and, as a result, forge a deeper connection with their eco-conscious audience.
People associate green with nature. If you’re a natural brand like Seventh Generation, using green as one of your brand colors is an easy choice. Get the look with one of Canva’s logo templates, like the Green Circle Environment Logo or the Green White Leaf Environment Logo.
Target’s color palette is simple—but it’s simple on purpose. Red is one of the most powerful colors for retail. It inspires a sense of excitement in customers, which makes them far more likely to get out their wallet and make a purchase. Target takes advantage of the “power of red,” letting it take center stage in their brand color palette.
Want to drive sales for your retail brand? Take a page from Target’s book and incorporate red) into your brand color palette. Get the look with one of Canva’s logo templates, like the Red Lines Sports Logo or the Red and Black Car Icons Automotive Logo.
Building your color palette is one of the most important and impactful parts of the branding process. And now that you have insight into some of the world’s most famous brand color palettes (and why they’re so effective), all that’s left to do? Get out there and choose some colors for your own!