Color is, often, the first thing that catches a potential customer’s eye when he or she stumbles across your brand online, in a store, or at an event. The right colors draw a person in by clearly articulating the feeling and aesthetic of your brand. The wrong color, on the other hand, pushes a person away.

While all design elements – from typography to balance to layout – are important to branding, if you don’t master the color aspect, you’ll lose people before you get the chance to engage with them at all.

The key to becoming a master of color is to use it in a way that’s a) pleasing to the eye and b) gets you the results you’re looking for. Let’s dig deeper into exactly how you do that, shall we?

Choose Colors That Work Together

When choosing a color palette for your brand, select colors that work together and complement each other with pleasing contrast. This pleasing color contrast is known as color harmony.

The goal, with any color palette, is to create a harmonious visual experience for the viewer. If you choose colors that don’t match, it will overwhelm your viewers. Colors that clash, like burgundy and lavender, will compete for your viewers’ attention and make your design feel busy and out of alignment.

Refer to the color wheel to choose a color harmony that fits your brand:

  • Complementary colors are directly opposite from each other on the color wheel (like red and green).
  • Analogous colors are next to each other on the color wheel (like blue and green).
  • Triad colors include three colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel (like blue, yellow, and red).
  • Square colors include four colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel (like yellow, orange, purple, and blue).
  • Rectangle colors are four colors that are made up of two sets of complementary colors (like red, yellow, green, indigo).
  • Split complementary colors include any one color, plus the two on either side of that color’s complement on the color wheel.

Use any of these harmonies to create a color palette that’s visually appealing and grabs your potential customers’ attention.

Apply the “Sugar and Coffee” Principle

When choosing how many colors to use in your branding, apply the “sugar and coffee” principle. Just like putting sugar in your coffee, you don’t want too much, you don’t want too little in your brand color palette. You want just the right amount of color.

As a general rule of thumb, use three to four colors to create a powerful color scheme. Choose one or two focal point colors and one or two colors that complement them. More than four colors is often visually overwhelming. The more colors you add, the harder it is to create color harmony.

Use Color To Inspire Action

Brand designs should be pleasing to look at, but should also inspire action. If your colors don’t drive results like conversions and follows, they aren’t an effective branding tool. Use color in a strategic way to create graphic design that’s both visually appealing and inspires action.

By leveraging the principles of color psychology for branding, you can actually influence your audience in subtle ways that have a not-so-subtle effect on your conversion rate.

Have a call-to-action you want to drive your audience to? One study found that a red call-to-action button drives 34% more conversions than a green button.

Want to encourage spending during an upcoming flash sale? Incorporate orange, which is associated with fairness and affordability, into your marketing materials.

Learning how to use color the right way is a prerequisite for creating amazing designs and mastering it is essential for building a strong (and well-designed) brand. Color is the foundation of great design, and when used correctly, can have a huge impact on your branding, your business, and your sales.

Once you’ve settled on a color scheme, learn how to save your color palette in your DesignBold workspace.