Join Sean Adams for an in-depth discussion in this video Making a color palette, part of Branding for Designers.
- You've determined that one color is best as the primary color for your brand. How do you then create the secondary pallet or know what tones are best? Fortunately, this isn't as complicated as an electronics manual. It does take exploration and courage. I have one folder in iPhoto where I save interesting color combinations I find. They can be on another piece of graphic design, something I find in the real world that I photograph, or an image from the internet. This takes some practice.
Rather than focusing on the subject of the image, look at the colors. I also have a folder of color pallets that I've created using these images. These pallets haven't been applied to a client yet. They're a good place to start. My process to create these pallets isn't precise at this point. It's more of a gesture. I placed the image in Adobe Illustrator in sample areas using the eyedropper tool. These colors give me a rough sense of the pallet. If I like it, I need to go back in and determine the exact Pantone colors, CMYK, and RGB values.
Let's presume, I believe, green is the best primary color for my client. My next step is to decide which green. I do this while I pull together the rest of the pallet. I work with several shades of green before locking down one. Is it Kelley green, Avocado green, or Lime green? Next, I look at these options for the entire pallet. These options can be whatever you want to explore. A pallet can be based on grey tones, bright colors, subtle tones, pastels, warm or cold colors, primary colors, autumn, summer, or winter pallets.
You'll find that one pallet begins to feel better than the others and meets the brand attributes. You may decide you need another color. If so, add one. This is simply exploration. Once you've arrived at one color pallet, you'll need to have three versions. The first is based on Pantone colors. the second CMYK values, for instances, where Pantone colors aren't available, and finally, RGB value for the screen.
When you determine the exact percentages with CMYK and RGB, there is no chance that someone with a color sense, not as good as yours, will try to make their own version. Remember, color is subjective. You might have the absolute best logic to support a pallet, but the client may despise it. If he or she is absolutely adamant that it's wrong either the attributes you are using need to be modified, or it's entirely emotional. You can't reason with emotion.
So, make a new pallet.
- The history of branding (pre- and post-1950)
- The elements of branding
- Conducting research
- Solving problems and presenting solutions
- Creating logos and identity systems
- Building a visual system with color, typography, and more
- Communicating branding with manuals and vision books