“What business color should I use?”
It’s one of the most common questions I hear. And I understand why it’s daunting. With millions of available choices, where should you even start?
In today’s post I’m going to share five techniques for choosing business colors, plus a free tool you can use as a reference whenever you need to create a color palette.
1. Think two baby steps
I recommend choosing two main colors first. It’s easier to communicate your business brand if you use two colors consistently in all your marketing materials.
Companies and organizations have been doing this for years. Everyone from sports teams to corporations represent themselves with two business colors.
When you’ve got two colors to choose from, you just have to answer the question “should I use color A or color B?” This makes setting up your web pages and print material easy-peasy.
2. Use a color wheel as your guide to find your best business color
The first thing to understand about color is that exists on a spectrum, and each color has a relationship with the others. To understand these relationships, let’s take a look at two color wheels.
Color wheels help you decide which colors you’d like to try experimenting with. You can use this screen image, or download the “Color Confusion Resolved” PDF I’ve created for you.
For an interactive tool that will help you choose exact colors, try using the tips here with Canva’s on-screen color wheel.
The left color wheel shows colors that move from darker in the middle to having progressively more white added to the pure color on the outside ring. The right color wheel is lighter in the middle, and the outer ring colors have more black added to them.
Use the three concepts below as a guide when you’re choosing two colors from these color wheels.
3. Opposites attract
Colors that sit on opposite sides of the color wheel look great together. Because the colors are opposites, the overall effect is vibrant and high contrast.
That’s great if you’re looking for a high-energy color combination. If you want something more soothing to the eyes, choose colors using the “Next-Door Neighbors” technique below.
To tone down your opposite colors, try choosing hues from the parts of the color wheel that have added black or white. You’ll still have a high-energy combination, but it won’t be jarring to the eyes.
4. Next-door neighbors get along
For harmonious color, choose colors that are “next-door neighbors” on the color wheel. Imagine you’re taking a slice of pie and choose colors that are within the same slice.
These colors have so much in common they look great next to each other and blend well.
Your colors are guaranteed to look balanced and well-matched when you choose color “neighbors.”
5. When it comes to business color, compatibility counts
I mentioned above that the colors on these wheels are arranged by lightness and darkness.
Whether you choose color “neighbors” or try color opposites, your combinations will look best if they’re located on the same “rings” of the color wheel.
Colors along the same “rings” have similar amounts of white or black added to the pure color. This will help them blend well when you use them together.
Ready to dive in and start choosing colors? Read this post for some online tools for choosing colors.
Most of the online tools will allow you to save your color palette. Hang on to those HEX codes — you’ll need them every time you create a branded image or apply color to a website element like a button, rule line, or font.
Harness the power of your business colors to create stunning visual marketing
Your brand colors help people recognize your business at a glance. Use the tips here to choose your color palette, and use them consistently. A great visual brand helps build your authority — and you can have some fun doing it!