When you visit a website you really love, sometimes the colors just pop right away. Within a few seconds of being there, you’re really inspired and feel a certain mood in the site. If you really connect with it, then it will relate to you and the whole reason you’re there in the first place really makes sense.
Let’s say you’re shopping for activewear and want a sustainable workout shirt. You click on a website that fascinates you with their styles and fits. As soon as you get to the homepage, there are neutral pops of green, tan, and orange. The colors confirm that this startup finds sustainable and fair-trade clothing.
You feel like their brand aligns with your values and you sense trust. They’re also very modern and youthful, so you trust the styles they come up with are fashionable.
How did they do this? It’s usually with a careful choice of brand values, aesthetics and color psychology.
Within your brand values, you’ll be able to uncover words that are in your business.
It can help you align with goals and it can help you figure out your mission and your overall feel of the brand. Taking the time to do this will help you uncover words and other patterns that you will start to notice when you’re doing the discovery work.
I have another article that helps you with how to do a in-depth brand strategy.
I also have an e-book to help you if you want even more help to an advanced brand strategy before figuring out your visuals.
You want to start with overall goals for the business and what you’re trying to achieve. How do you want to help people? And it doesn’t matter if you are trying to help a lot of people at once or an individual. The point is you want to specify how you’re making a difference.
Now think about how you want others to feel when they work with you or see your brand.
All these things need to be considered with your brand values. Because the point is, you are making an impact on either another person or another business.
Next, think about what you I want others to say after they’ve had an experience with your business. Let’s say you do brand photography. Maybe you want them to say that you are very professional, sleek, timeless, etc.
If you’re a coach, maybe you want them to feel motivated and ready to do the work. Almost like a best friend or a cheerleader. There’s even a tone of how professional you want to sound versus how casual you want it to be.
None of these are wrong – just think about how you’re trying to portray yourself to the world. Go through this, and when you have all of this written down, think of the words that really popped and use that later to choose your colors.
Here’s the really fun part – visuals and aesthetics: the thing that people most associate branding with.
The easiest way to do this without having any professional to help you (if you’re trying to do this by yourself) is simply to make a mood board or go to Pinterest. Pinterest is my absolute favorite. And I’m sure a lot of you feel the same way.
I go to Pinterest for recipes, for pretty cocktails, for pillow pattern inspiration, and every other weird and obscure thing. I also go there a lot for branding inspiration when designing a brand for my next client.
I also encourage my clients to go on here and take a look around to pin anything that really inspires them.
Here’s the thing, you’ll be liking a lot of things on Pinterest.
That answer is probably no.
What you can do is brainstorm and brain dump everything into visual mood boards and then from there, refine it into something cleaner and more cohesive.
Before even looking at color palettes and searching that term on Pinterest, try this strategy instead.
Think about the brand values that you were that you wrote down in the beginning. try some of those adjectives and just search for those. You might find illustrations, quotes, typography. Pin some of the ones that you really like try to see if you can translate those words into visuals.
Sometimes quotes are okay too but usually if a quote is more stylized or artistic you can really get a feel for what they’re trying to say. So the more aesthetically pleasing the words are, that’s something that you should probably try to save.
Definitely look for photography that will help you imagine what can come from this brand. See if they’re little hints in the colors and the mood of the photos that’ll help you out.
Once you have everything, just take a look and see if you can notice some sort of pattern. You might notice some blues here and there. Some reds. Maybe some greens. And from there you can really start refining what color is he want to choose.
I made a quick guide for color psychology.
However, remember that psychology, though it is studied, is going to be subjective to the individual.
While some people might see a color in one way, if you grew up in a different environment, a different culture, a different country, then your use might be totally flipped. So make sure you know what your target market is, here’s a link to finding out more about your target market if you haven’t already.
It would help to know where they live, the gender, the occupation, and all the things in between. The more you know your target market, the more you can see the color through their eyes and we resonate with them.
So here’s a quick guide and again everything can be translated differently. That’s the beauty of color. But here’s just cheat sheet for you so you can get started on choosing your perfect color palette.
If you need a little bit of help, here are some color palettes I’ve created for some of my clients. As I make images, I’ll update this periodically.