Find Your Colors

Name Tag with PMS 151c as the nameOften, I get asked, “What is the best color for my brand?” There is no magic bullet to determine the best color for your brand’s visual identity. The most successful way to determine the best color for your brand is to look at three factors.

  1. The competitive landscape.

    The key to any brand having long-term success is differentiation. If you look too similar to your competitors then your target audience won’t remember either of you. Pick a color scheme that you can own, and your prospects/customers will remember you. For many business that may mean taking a step outside of the blue & grey, or blue & orange space that paints most of the global marketing landscape. Be confident in your difference.

  2. The target market.

    Your colors must resonate with your target audience which includes your customers, as well as, your prospects. Note that this never includes the business owner. Personal opinion, favorite colors or your alma mater’s colors have no place in your business big or small. Understanding who you’re targeting is the most important factor to any of your branding efforts. Demographics and psycho-graphics alone won’t help you understand your audience. It’s important to view them via goals and attitudes as well. This is best accomplished by developing personas to represent your core audience.

  3. Your brand’s personality.

    Your colors should begin to communicate your brand’s personality or characteristics. Think of your brand as a guest at a party. How would you introduce them to another guest? What personality traits are important to your brand? It’s important to not rely too heavily on the color psychology that we’ve all heard. Bright lemon yellow may be sunny and optimistic to 51% of Americans, but what about the other 49% who view it as a warning color. Color is personal, and as such you should spend some time investigating how a bouquet of color translates into abstract feelings and emotions.

Certain colors will come in and out of favor (orange and avocado from the 70s), some colors are culturally volatile (pink and lavender in the U.S.), and some colors will always be overused (blue and grey as corporate colors across the world). Picking colors for a brand doesn’t have to be difficult if you follow a process, and focus on your long-term brand strategy.

For more help, check out our thought leadership article “1980 called. It wants Its Color Back.”

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