Your Brand in Color: Building a Professional Color Palette

What makes a color palette professional?

A professional color palette is characterized by its cohesiveness, balance, and alignment with the brand’s identity and message. It involves an intelligent combination of colors that complement each other, avoiding mixed messages and unwelcome contrasts.

Several common color associations to keep in mind:
  • Red: extremes, passion, energy, fire, violence, valor, foundation, and anger
  • Blue: honesty and loyalty, power and authority, stability and strength
  • Yellow: cheerfulness, sunlight, optimism, creativity
  • Green: nature, money, greed, fertility
  • Violet: opulence, luxury, power, wealth

Successful professional color palettes often include a mix of primary, secondary, and accent colors, with neutrals providing a stable foundation. These palettes are designed with versatility in mind, ensuring they perform well across various mediums and contexts, from digital screens to printed materials.

A professionally curated color palette resonates emotionally with the target audience and reflects current trends while maintaining a timeless quality. Ultimately, the chosen color palette plays an intricate part in the brand’s strategy, creating a foundation for its visual identity. Uniform application of this palette throughout all forms of media marketing reinforces your brand identity. This fosters trust in your existing consumer base, and attracts new attention from those whose values resonate most with your brand.

Look forward. Not left and right.

Avoid using the same color palette as your competitors.

Choosing colors that differentiate your professional color palette from competitors can significantly enhance your market presence and consumer recognition. By selecting unique and vibrant colors in your palette that contrast with the more commonly used tones in your industry, you can create a visually distinct identity. This goes a long way in capturing attention and fostering memorability.

Undoubtedly, strategic differentiation not only helps in making a strong first impression but also reinforces brand loyalty as customers begin to associate those distinctive colors with your products or services. Moreover, by thoughtfully choosing colors that evoke the right emotions and align with your brand’s values, you can convey your unique brand message more effectively. This ensures that your professional color palette stands out in a crowded marketplace while still resonating positively with your target audience.

Choose colors based on forecasted trends, rather than the ones on their way out. That way you will spark interest in the present and avoid looking dated in the future.

Keep your brand relevant and appealing. By aligning your professional color palette with emerging trends, you position your brand at the forefront of innovation and style. This sparks immediate interest and engagement from your audience. This forward-thinking approach ensures that your design remains fresh and contemporary, avoiding the risk of appearing outdated as trends evolve.

With this in mind, staying ahead of the curve with trend-aware color choices not only captivates your current audience but also demonstrates a keen awareness of the ever-changing market landscape. This strategic foresight helps maintain a lasting connection with your audience, keeping your brand vibrant and influential in the years to come.

Neutrals that work for your professional color palette.

Don’t forget to customize neutrals and add them to your palette.

The neutral colors are the foundation for your color palette. They are the canvas upon which the other colors build your brand’s message. Here are some examples on how neutrals make a difference in your palette.

Dark Neutrals

Shadowy shades of gray, navy, and black create an excellent backdrop for very bright shades of green, yellow, orange, and pink (see example below). This combination results in a dramatic, edgy, and even moody feel.

Cool Grays

Cool gray tones have been all the rage for the last decade… maybe decade and a half? These colors offer clean, sleek, airy, modern, and sophisticated appeal to your professional color palette. Cool grays refer to those with subtle blue, green, and violet backgrounds. When paired with a vibrant and warm color, you get a beautiful impact (see image below).

Warm Neutrals

Warm neutral colors like taupe, wheat, bone, linen, mocha, and dark brown are making a bit of a comeback. These earthy tones truly put a person at ease, they are warm and promise comfort. Elevate your design by pairing these versatile colors with forest green, turquoise, gambouge, plum, orange, or ochre.

The appeal of disagreeableness

Colors that do not stand on their own, might be just the thing you need to make your palette stand out. It adds sophistication and intelligence to your design to do something unexpected.

Dark Drab Brown, Mustard Yellow, Rust, Ochre, Beige, and Avocado Green, are considered some of the least agreeable colors. Incorporating one of these “disagreeable” colors into your professional color palette can be a strategic advantage by challenging the norm, thus delivering a distinctive identity.

THIS IMAGE USES A COLOR PALETTE CALCULATED USING THE CIEDE2000 formula with Dark Drab Brown as a base color.

Done effectively, the application of “disagreeable” colors signal boldness and innovation, aligning your brand with qualities of uniqueness and forward-thinking. By breaking away from predictable, safe color schemes, a brand can position itself as a trailblazer, attracting a demographic that values originality and differentiation. These color risks evoke strong emotional responses. This can benefit your brand by fostering deeper connections and memorable engagement with the audience.

Inclusivity for the visually impaired

It’s not much talked about, but a fairly large number of people are color blind in some way. The most common cases of color-blindness include those with red-green blindness, followed by those with yellow- blue, and the least common is full monochromacy (where an individual sees gray in varying degrees of lightness).
It is vital to pair your colors responsively so that all of your audience can see your content clearly.

Consider the following numbers:

According to Color Blind Guide, ‘There is general agreement that 1 in 12 men (8%) and 1 in 200 women are colorblind (approximately 4.5% of the world population), as a result, there are more than 350 million colorblind people in the world.’

Ensuring clarity for color-blind audiences is pretty straight forward. Avoid relying on the difference of color to distinguish calls to action and vital text. Instead, ensure that you are using adequate differences in light on dark or dark on light colors. If you are still unsure whether or not your design is color-blind friendly, here is a list of tools you can use to ensure color-blind individuals can view your content.

There is power in consistency

Your color palette is part of who you are. You want your audience to recognize you by your brand’s colors.

How? The design and marketing professionals at 212 Creative are ready to curate a professional color palette that aligns with your brand’s message. We work to  differentiate you from competitors, and incorporate trends to ensure a versatile and impactful visual identity. Once you have this tool, use it. Use it in all things marketing, on screen and print.

Remember, including accessible design practices for color-blind users and utilizing tools like Adobe Color and Color Oracle enhances inclusivity and broadens your audience reach. Ultimately, forward-thinking color choices foster lasting connections and reinforce your brand’s presence in a competitive marketplace.

Read more about our brand building services here. If you have any questions, or are looking to bring in our team to assist in brand development, give us a call today!

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