How to pick a brand colour palette

Three brains colour palette

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Snapshot : Read about the process we went through to pick the brand colour palette on three-brains. The steps we took and the thinking behind our choices. 

As we we started to work on the brand identity for the three-brains brand, one of the first areas we considered was the brand colour palette. As you can read in our guide to the use of colour in marketing, colour plays an important role in establishing your brand.

Firstly, your brand colour palette helps you target audience recognise your brand. Consistent use of the same colours creates mental associations between those colours and your brand. 

And secondly, people have psychological associations with certain colours. And you can use these psychological associations as a short cut to help link your brand to what those colours stand for. 

You’ll see in the image above the final brand colour palette we settled on.

It’s not confidential. Anyone with access to the eyedropper tool in a decent graphic design tool like Adobe Photoshop could easily work out these colours. In our guide to colour in marketing, you’ll find examples of other brand colour palettes we worked out this way. And our article about about why your choice of colour matters also covers more on just how important your brand comity palette is. 

For this article, we wanted to share how we got to this brand colour palette and what our thinking was. If you are creating a new brand or working on your brand colour palette, the thought process might spark some ideas in your head.

It’s a mix of creative judgement and what we wanted the three-brains brand to stand for.

Getting started with your brand colour palette

We had no major pre-conceived ideas of the what the specific brand colour palette would be.

On some brands there might an obvious choice, but for a completely new brand, it helps to start with an open mind. 

So we started on coolors.co a great website to get inspiration about colour. It’s a great site to experiment with colour choices and see what colours work together. 

Our first couple of clicks generated a few ‘meh’ responses. That was until our first colour Japanese Violet (#503156) appeared.

Japanese Violet

This colour appealed for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, purple is a combination of Blue and Red. And when we’ve done insight profiling, those are two strong colours in our team. So, there was a bit of a connection mentally. Our insight profile strengths are in Blue and Red. So, a purple colour was a good start. 

Purple also has associations with authority. And sophistication. And, something about those association felt right to us.

We wanted to content to convey our expertise in marketing, creative and e-Commerce. And we wanted the way we did things to be smart and thoughtful. Purple helps convey those values. 

And it’s also the colour of red wine. Something else, we like the association with. 

We thought that this colour would help our target audience form strong associations between the brand and those values. That’s why we picked that colour first, and it’s used frequently in our designs and marketing communications. 

And then finally, there’s that name “Japanese Violet’. Japan has been a huge hub for creativity and design and there’s just something very cool about that country that we like a lot. So Japanese Violet was a good start.

We’ve used this as our highlight colour through all the content on creative as it felt like a good fit.

Air Superiority Blue

Next we wanted to pick a couple of complementary colours to go with the purple, which took us in to Blue and Red. Complementary colours are colours which “go” together, which sit naturally together and don’t clash. 

We wanted something from the lighter end of blue to give some contrast to the Dark Purple, and a few more Coolors clicks brought us to Air Superiority Blue (#6EA4BF).

So, starting with a ‘luxury’ colour and then a blue that’s ‘superior’. That’s a sign, right?

Blue is also associated with trust, calm and serenity. It also has strong associations with wisdom and intelligence. Given the brand is called three-brains, we definitely felt we needed a blue colour for the association with these values.

There’s also a nice richness to this shade of blue that would work well in many situations. It also seems to work well with both light and dark fonts, so we used it a lot in backgrounds.

It’s our highlight colour in all the marketing articles which are a bit more theory driven than the other sections.

Ruby Red

This gave us two ‘cool’ colours. But, we knew that on certain parts of the site, we’d want something warmer. A colour that was more action-oriented. Something that gave us a colour that was more attention-grabbing.

We didn’t want to stray too far away from the premium feel of Japanese Violet, but something with a bit more vibrancy and impact.

Ruby Red (#A31621) felt like a good choice. Ruby makes us think of ‘port’, so again with the red wine connection. It also makes us think of the song ‘Ruby Tuesday’ by the Rolling Stones, and Ruby by the Kaiser Chiefs. And once we’d thought of those songs, we couldn’t get ‘Ruby” out of our head for days afterwards.

You’ll find red on most of the buttons, links and other calls to actions on our website. It’s a colour that demands attention and stands out from the other colours we use. 

Ruby Red is the highlight colour we’ve used in the e-commerce section of the site. It feels right for a section that’s all about action. Because, e-Commerce is where we focus the most on action. 

Because red colours generally signify strength and power. Values that are associated with being dynamic, decisive and making progress. And that means action. 

Silver Sand / Snow

We added Silver Sand (#BCD8C1) and Snow (#FCF7F8) just to give us some lighter colour options as our first three choices were on the rich and heavy side.

To be honest, we’ve not put them to great use yet.

The Silver Sand feels like a nice contemporary colour. The hint of green makes it feel quite fresh. And it seems to works surprisingly well next to the Ruby Red.

We wouldn’t normally pair Red and Green – and also with its cooler cousins in Blue and Purple. The name also feels very Australian given it’s beach-side associations.

And as for Snow, that was really just for us to get slightly away from really strong white. You’ll find it as the background colour on most of the pages on our site. 

It’s not a colour we associate with Australia per se, but it’s  good contrast colour for all those dark colours. We’re still on the fence about using that one, but you’ll see it crop up here and there.

So, our colour choice has the following associations.

  • Luxury (and red wine) 
  • Wisdom
  • Action
  • Contemporary

Those do feel like they might be a good start for creating the personality section of our Brand Identity.

But let’s maybe save that story for another day. 

You can read more about how to use colour in marketing in our guide here, or you can contact us if you’d like help to go through this process on your brand. 

Colour psychology - an applied use of colour in marketing
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