5 Rules for Choosing Your Brand Colors
By: John Seroka
Children assign personality traits and emotions to stuffed animals. Adults subconsciously do the same thing. For example, you wouldn’t buy your child a stuffed toy that looks like a demon, right? Of course not. That’s because you assigned personality traits and emotions to that stuffed toy even as an adult. You do the same thing when you have that first-look experience with a company!
Selecting colors you’re comfortable with is important when branding your company.
Understanding what they mean and keeping an open mind to alternatives is also important to make sure you’re conveying the message you expect.
Mortgage, private money and commercial real estate lenders naturally want to select colors for logos, websites and print that emphasize stability, safety, trustworthiness, authority, good values, technologically advanced, strength and of course the availability of money.
Industry technology and service providers will naturally select colors that emphasize some of the same qualities along with others that are representative of being innovative and forward thinking.
Lenders in the real estate finance industry may wish to consider the significance of a few primary colors…
- Green and blue: generally considered trust-building colors
- Red and black: high energy colors that suggest power, strength and authority
- Green and gold: colors associated with wealth
This is not to say that these are the only colors recommended for your color palette. It comes down to your particular brand and what you are trying to convey about your company to your audience.
To learn more about the psychology of color in marketing, check out Market Inspector’s infographic “The Role of Color in Branding” below.
If you’re considering refreshing your color palette or if you’re in the process of developing a color palette for your company, don’t feel compelled to follow the pack. Originality can be very powerful.
Here are 5 general rules to keep in mind when developing your color palette:
- Consider your target audience. For example, if you’re a mortgage company that specializes in reverse mortgages, stability and trust will be key in your selection criteria. You may wish to avoid bolder colors and color combinations considered to be more youthful. Remember that color perceptions will vary by a person’s age, gender, income and more. So knowing your target audience and personas is an important prerequisite.
- Keep it simple. Closely tied to #1, the general rule of thumb is to select no more than two to three colors. Using more could overtake your message unless there’s a combination that, through research, carries the right message and tht your audience would receive well.
- Use the 60-30-10 rule. Pick a primary color that you will use in 60% of the space, a secondary you will use in 30% and if you have a third color then use that one in the remaining 10%.
- Review your competitor’s color schemes. Even though you will find many that use similar colors to your own, a good creative person should be able to manipulate them and combine them in a way that sets you apart. The imagery you select and the type of logo you use (wordmark, pictorial, abstract, etc.) will also play a role in differentiation.
- Make sure the colors you select will present well whether online or in print. For example, if you decide you want to be adventurous and select metallic colors, they may look great in print, but not play out so well online. Make sure your final selection is practical for all uses.
Color is the first perception people will have of your brand. So, think beyond your personal preferences and keep your mind open.