Join Sean Adams for an in-depth discussion in this video The color palette, part of Branding for Designers.
- We remember visuals based on color and shape. A strong brand must be memorable and identifiable. Consider any major brand. You will remember the color. Major brands go to great lengths to find a unique color that they can own. They will use it repeatedly and consistently to create brand identification. Color can be the strongest and most proprietary part of a visual system. I don't need to see a logo on a Tiffany box. The turquoise color immediately identifies it.
The blue is not copyrighted, but Tiffany has maintained strict standards to never deviate, a little more blue, or green. The consistent usage of the color gives it value. Other brands are easily identified with a color palette. Nickelodeon uses orange, Coca-Cola is red, and UPS is brown. Like the rest of the branding process, I start a palette with research. I do a color study of the competition, make a diagram that shows which colors each of the other company uses.
Typically, I'll find that they all will skew toward one palette. Now that I know that a certain palette dominates the field, I go the opposite direction. The point is to differentiate the brand from the others. Using blue because all other financial institutions use blue creates a brand that blends in. I choose a primary color based on the competition and values. This isn't the place to say, "Gee, I don't like purple," if the attributes are royal, vibrant and luxurious.
A secondary palette adds additional colors that unify the brand. These colors should never be left to chance. If yellow is one of the colors, the palette makes sure that everyone is using the same exact shade of yellow. As I mentioned in my course, Fundementals of Layout and Composition, color is subjective. This is the place where you will need to remind your client the choice isn't about likes or dislikes, but what color best communicates the attributes.
- 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