Choosing Your Brand Colors Strategically

As a psychology driven brand strategist, I have worked behind the scenes of hundreds of brands and have a deep understanding of the importance of choosing your brand colors strategically. The key is to build your brand on truth, not trends.

To start, you need to determine the values and beliefs of your brand and the emotions that you want to inspire in people when they come into contact with your brand. These emotions could range from excitement and rebellion to safety and comfort. Once you have determined the overarching theme or personality of your brand, you can begin the process of selecting your brand colors.

Start by Gathering Visual Inspiration

The first step is to gather visual inspiration. I recommend using a tool like Pinterest to find photographs, images, art, or other brands that align with the emotions you want to evoke with your brand. As you gather these images, you will start to see patterns and trends in the colors that appear most often. You can use these trends to form your color palette.

An Aside: Some Advice for finding Inspiration 

Inspiration is something that generates ideas and can come from anything, ranging from mundane to extravagant and from existing to imaginary. It is something that encourages me to create and put my own twist and interpretation on things to make it authentic and personal.

Start by getting rid of distractions and setting aside anything that stops you from being productive. Pay attention to things around you, look at other art, and surround yourself with things you love. Engaging in creative activities like reading a book or watching a movie and experimenting with new things may also open up your mind to new ideas.

And if an idea doesn’t come right away, take a break! Ultimately, finding inspiration comes down to each individual. It’s about figuring out what distracts you, what you love, what methods work for you and what doesn’t. Be patient and determined and always do what you love.

Refining Your Color Palette

You can also find color palettes by looking at single images. For example, websites like offer color palettes based on single images. If you find an image that aligns with the emotions you want to evoke with your brand, you can use it to form your color palette.

To refine your color palette, you can use a tool like This tool lets you use an eyedropper to choose specific colors from an image or screenshot of your inspiration board. It will give you the hex codes, RGB and CYMK, which are essential for building a brand online.

Build Your Color Scheme

For those just starting, I recommend looking for five colors for your brand palette. The first color should be a dark neutral, such as black or nearly black, which will be used for text colors and some backgrounds. The second color should be white or nearly white, which will be used for text colors on dark backgrounds and as a background color for breathing room. The third color should be your primary brand color, which is the color you want people to associate with your brand. The fourth color should be an accent color, used sparingly to draw attention to specific elements. Finally, the fifth color can be used as a secondary brand color, used less frequently than your primary brand color.

Test Your Color Scheme

You really don’t know how your color scheme is going to work, until you put it through real world conditions and see how it performs. 

Here are some tips:

  1. Check color contrast: The colors you choose should have good contrast, making text and elements easily readable and distinguishable. You can use online tools to check the contrast of your color combination.
  2. Test it on different devices: Your color scheme should look consistent across all devices, so test it on different screens to see how it looks on a range of devices.
  3. Consider accessibility: Make sure your color scheme is accessible to users with color blindness or other visual impairments. You can use accessibility tools to check for color contrast and color blindness simulation.
  4. Check color harmony: Your color scheme should have a harmonious look and feel. You can use color wheel tools to choose colors that complement each other.
  5. Try monochromatic: Monochromatic color schemes work well for a minimalist, cohesive look. Try using different shades of the same color to create a simple and consistent color palette.
  6. Use real-life examples: Use real-life examples to see how your color scheme will look in the real world. Print out color swatches and see how they look in different lighting conditions.
  7. Get feedback: Ask friends, family, or colleagues to give you feedback on your color scheme. They may see things you haven’t considered and help you make the right decisions.

In conclusion, choosing your brand colors strategically is a crucial aspect of building a strong brand. Start by determining the values, beliefs and emotions that you want your brand to evoke. Gather visual inspiration and use tools like Pinterest and to refine your color palette. Remember to choose five colors, including a dark neutral, white, primary brand color, accent color, and secondary brand color.

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