Everything You Need to Know About Color Palette Branding

From your website and emails, to business cards and logo, your color palette branding is a big presence across all of your marketing platforms, so we have to make sure we get this decision right.

Everyone strives to make a good first impression, and your color palette plays an important role in creating that impression for your brand. Your brand’s colors should reflect how you want to make someone feel when they think about your company. So whether you’re starting fresh or rebranding, it’s time to take a look at your color palette!

Why Color Palette Branding Matters

Color palette branding is important because it’s a tangible component of your brand that people notice first and foremost. Color actually increases brand recognition up to 80 percent and is the biggest reason why consumers choose to buy! Your colors also play a large role in how your brand’s personality is perceived. So be sure to choose colors that are memorable and recognizable so that you can attract people to your brand — and keep them around. 

Before choosing your colors, first determine the mood you want your brand to convey. Is your company more professional or easy-going? Quirky or traditional? Fun or functional? Do you want your brand to provide a sense of calm or feel energetic? Once you’ve reflected on these questions, you can start picking out the individual colors.

How to Choose Your Colors

Keep in mind that depending on what you are selling, you may pair several colors together in order to evoke more than one feeling. 

Create a sense of balance by sticking to just two or three colors. These can either be complementary colors, which are colors that sit on opposite sides of the color wheel such as red and green, purple and yellow, or blue and orange. For a split-complementary palette, pick one color and the two colors on either side. Or, go for a monotone look by selecting one color and using it in a variety of tones, tint, and saturation.  

A Breakdown of Each Color


The Color Red

As you can see, the color red is a showstopper; it’s used to make a big impact because it’s so noticeable and literally “pops” out at you! In general, red is associated with energy, strength, desire, danger, passion, determination, and love. In this image, the vibrant red colors catch your attention and force you to stop scrolling. 

You might choose red for your color palette branding if you want to grab someone’s attention from afar (think of red sales tags). Plus, red is a color that can increase your heart rate, so it’s good for generating a response of excitement or passion in people. 

Brands that use red in their color palette branding

Because it’s so eye-catching and has such an impactful response, red is very popular within the food and car industries. For example, both Coca Cola and Pepsi use red as a way to grab attention and stimulate the appetite. Whereas car companies such as Kia, Honda, Toyota, and Audi also use red in their logos.


The Color Orange

As a secondary color, orange is known to be joyful and is often associated with being cheerful, creative, fun, playful, and exuberant. While orange is not nearly as aggressive as red, it’s still a warm color that stimulates emotion and encourages people to take action — which is why we use it in our company branding! In this image, the orange color is lively and even alluring. You might be tempted to stop and read the bottle when walking past it in a grocery store.

Brands that use orange in their color palette branding

Orange is known to be popular in food, healthcare, youth, and technology companies. Well-known companies utilizing orange include Nickelodeon and Penguin Books, a children’s book publishing company. As companies that cater towards children, they’ve chosen orange as a way to represent their fun and playful brands. 

Related: How to Captivate Your Audience with Experiential Marketing


The Color Yellow

Yellow is the color of happiness and optimism, and is associated with sunshine. Yellow is a bright color that evokes feelings of positivity, hope, energy, and warmth. This is another option for color palette branding if you’re trying to create a positive and lighthearted connection to consumers. Perfect for summer — as described in the tagline — this drink looks like it would be light, crisp, and refreshing.

Brands that use yellow in their color palette branding

Yellow is commonly used in the technology and food industries. The color yellow is known to stimulate the appetite as well. Brands like Lays, Denny’s, McDonald’s, Sonic, and Subway make great use of the color throughout their branding.


The Color Green

Known for being the most restful color to the human eye, green is a color of freshness, health, and vitality. Green also creates a connection for people to the natural world. Being a color that is popular among many different companies, green is associated with serenity, good health, wealth, and growth. In this image, green is used to make a connection between the matcha green tea flavor and the earth (notice the leaves added throughout).

Brands that use green in their color palette branding

You will notice green is popular among food, finance, and holistic industries. Companies such as Animal Planet, John Deere, and Roots remind people of nature and give them a feeling of grounding — literally and figuratively. 


The Color Blue

Blue is one of the most popular colors used by many different brands. This color represents trust, responsibility, and dependability; all qualities that everyone aspires for their company to be. When buying mouthwash, you may be tempted to choose this particular brand because it seems like it would get the job done. 

For your color palette branding, you may consider this color if you’re looking to show your company is confident, successful, and trustworthy. Some companies also use blue as a way to get people to buy, since navy blue is known to be attractive to impulse buyers.

Brands that use blue in their color palette branding

Blue is commonly used for branding in travel, technology, finance, healthcare, and agriculture industries. Most airlines have blue in their branding as a way to signal trustworthiness. United, American, Delta, and Southwest are just a few of many airlines that implement blue in their branding.  

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The Color Purple

Purple is another color that pulls its qualities from two colors. It gets its energy from red and stability from blue. Additionally, purple is a rare color in nature so it can produce a sense of mystery or even extravagance. This color is often associated with power, luxury, and royalty. Just from this image, you get the idea that this skincare brand is expensive and would assume it works better than a cheaper alternative.

Brands that use purple in their color palette branding

Purple isn’t as popular of a brand color as blue, but you can often find it in the color palettes for finance and technology. Speaking of airlines, another prominent company that utilizes purple as a symbol of luxury is Hawaiian Airlines. A trip to Hawaii is synonymous with luxury and wealth, a smart branding move on their part!


The Color Black

If you want your brand to exude the feeling of luxury and sophistication, black is the way to go. Often associated with prestige, power, and elegance, this color is sexy and elegant. On the other hand, it can also be seen as grim or dark (as in scary). Pairing black with another color, such as red, can create a different feeling altogether, and cause people to see it in a unique way. The pops of red against this black car looks luxurious, sensual, and powerful. Those who prefer the finer things in life would be more drawn to this image than if the black was paired with yellow. 

Brands that use black in their color palette branding

Black is a color that’s often tied to expensive brands, which is why it’s seen throughout the clothing and car industries. The color black is used as logos for Ferrari, Chanel, Gucci, Prada, Nike, and even Apple. 


The Color White

When you think of white, you often think of simplicity, cleanliness, innocence, or purity. This is why you often see cleaning products or companies using white as part of their color palette branding. Here, white is used to focus on cleanliness, where the secondary colors of blue and orange show how this product works and why you should buy it.

Brands that use white in their color palette branding

White is a color that works great for brands that represent nature, children, and healthcare. The World Wide Fund is an endangered species conservation organization that features a black and white panda as their logo. While the Disney Channel logo features white writing in front of a blue background.

How Pinckney Does Color Palette Branding

Choosing your color palette is a fun process, but it can be daunting when you realize so much more goes into your brand’s palette than just picking your favorite color! If you’re feeling stuck about what direction you want to take your brand, we can help you find the direction you’re looking for. 

With our branding services, your business can begin to generate not only leads, but loyal customers as well. For a taste of what we’ve done in the past, check out our Lookbook for inspiration to improve your brand’s look. 

This blog post was originally posted in 2017 and was refreshed in 2020.