Top Five Things to Consider When Selecting a Brand Color Palette

July 22, 2015sparxoo_admin

“Mere color, unspoiled by meaning and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.” ? Oscar Wilde

“What color do you see?” This is a question most often directed to a class of artists or a group preschoolers learning their colors. However, this question has application beyond these two scenarios because color impacts the world around us—from brand impressions to consumer preferences.

Before evaluating the impact that color selection can have on a brand’s image, let’s first consider the word “color,” and its meaning. The word color can be used as a verb and a noun.

  • Noun: The quality you see when you look at something.
  • Verb: To impact and affect the perception of something; to change the meaning of something.

As these definitions indicate, the power of color is grand and when applied appropriately, can be used as a tool to influence and persuade. Colors have the power to impact everything from brand perception to user experience and should be carefully selected.

In this blog we will explore the role of color, evaluate brands that have successfully applied color to forward their message, and provide tips for how your company can use color to improve your customers’ user experience.

Top Five Color Considerations:
1. At its most basic level, understand the qualities associated with the colors you choose and what they say about your brand.

While color preferences are typically subjective, there are certain color associations that are universally perceived. When selecting a color, it is important that brands understand basic color 101, and are strategic with color selections.

To demonstrate, below are three examples of companies that use color to reinforce their brand message:

Black:  Sexy, Mystery, Luxury, Unattainable

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Blue: Stable, Confident, Intelligent, Reliable

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Green: Growth, Health, Peace, Nature

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2. Consider how color choice impacts the user experience.

To help with this process, companies should consider how and where customers interact with their brand. Then, with that mindset, answer the following questions:

  • What do you want the overall brand experience to be?
  • What color will facilitate those goals?

Consider Google for example. Google became renowned for simplifying search—offering a complex search algorithm on the back end that made a simple search function on the front end. The clean, white Google homepage is a testament to the simple, user-friendly look and feel of its brand offering. Google also has a dynamic (and often playfully changing) logo with bright primary colors that highlight the brand’s fun personality.


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3. Consider your color relative to your competition—will color place you in the same playing field as your competition or put you in a different league?

A good example of a company that has successfully differentiated from direct competitors is Virgin America. In today’s airlines industry, blue is the dominant brand color. In this sky of big blue logos, Virgin America boldly rocks in purple.

The purple color choice not only differentiates Virgin America from the competition, but also boldly reinforces its brand values, including independence, creativity and power. By choosing a purple logo, Virgin America is able to distinguish from the competition by steering clear of the ubiquitous patriotic red, white and blue motifs.


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4. Consider the total color palette of your brand, including primary and accent colors.

When planning your brand’s color palette, it’s important to consider primary and secondary colors. A good example of a brand that effectively uses primary and secondary colors is ING. Traditionally, ING’s primary color is white and the secondary color is orange. However, the company chose to design its website accent boxes in orange. Even in this limited capacity, the orange goes a long way—it is not overpowering but rather energizing. The overall ING brand impression is one that is simple, out of the box, and creative—exactly on brand for ING, a company that approaches banking differently.

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5. Consider the intended audience for your brand and their color preferences.  

While there are certain universal color associations, many color preferences can be attributed to demographics. For example, a younger audience most likely prefers bright orange, while an older cohort prefers light orange. Additionally, men and women have different color preferences. If a brand wanted to follow traditional gender stereotypes, a male product-specific brand might choose a masculine-looking charcoal color instead of a pastel pink.

Below, American Girl incorporated a less stereotypical blush pink, into its girly themed color palette.

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Color selection can also have a direct impact on the user experience and user conversion rates. For example, a call to action button such as “Get Started” may be more impactful in green for some audiences and red for others.

As these above points support, it’s important that to choose your colors wisely. If you’re selecting a new color palette for your brand or want to see if your current color palette is aligned with your brand’s message, check out Sparxoo’s Brand Color App.