Find Business Colors

3 Simple Steps to Pick Perfect Colors for Your Business

by Nicholas Tart on April 25, 2011 · 4 comments

In an interview with Inc. Magazine, Leslie Harrington, the executive director of The Color Association said, “Before anything else, they see color.”

It’s true. Color is the first thing we see and the last thing we remember. The first and most important step in developing your brand is to pick your color scheme. Once you have your colors, you can make decisions about your logo, website, and business cards.

People have been telling me, “your site looks good” and it’s mostly because of the colors. Before I started 14 Clicks, I went through this 3-step process to pick the perfect colors for my brand.

1. Psychology of Colors for Main Color

There’s a scientific reason most websites use blue (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, etc.) while most fast food companies use red (e.g. McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Chick-fil-A, etc.).

Use the psychology of colors to choose the main color for your business:

  • Red – Energy, attracts attention, creates urgency; the first color we see; often used in clearance sales.
  • Orange – Aggressive; creates a call to action; subscribe, buy, or sell.
  • Yellow – Optimistic and youthful; often used to grab attention of window shoppers.
  • Green – Associated with wealth; easiest color for the eyes to process; used to relax.
  • Blue – Creates sensation of trust and security; often seen with banks and businesses.
  • Purple – Soothing and calming; often seen in beauty or anti-aging products.
  • Pink – Romantic and feminine; used to market products to women and young girls.
  • Black – Powerful and sleek like me; used to market luxury products.

Courtesy of Kissmetrics.

I chose blue for 14 Clicks because I want to build a trustworthy brand.

2. ColourLovers to Find a Color Scheme

Once you have your primary color and maybe a secondary color, you need to find a color scheme that people already like rather than trying to create one from scratch. The best way to do that is with ColourLovers.

  1. Go to ColourLovers.com > Browse > Palettes > Search.
  2. Enter your “primary color, secondary color” into the Keyword box > Search Palettes. The results will be sorted by most popular.
  3. Find a palette you like and write down the HEX codes for each color. Look for a palette with grey and off-white because you’ll use those colors in various design elements.

14 Clicks Color Scheme14 Clicks is based on different reasons by qlaudia. The light blue is my primary color and the dark blue is my secondary color. I use the off-white for the background color of the sidebar and footer widgets and I use the grey for the post intro text.

3. CSG to Nail Down Final Colors

Now that you have a color palette to work with, it’s time to nail down your final colors.

Scientifically, colors match other colors depending on their position within the color wheel. My favorite tool to easily pick matching colors is ColorSchemeGenerator.com:

  • Input the HEX codes from your color palette and adjust the colors as you wish.
  • Use the Harmonious Colors area to find other colors that match your original color. For instance, “Hue Incremented by 45” will give you the harmonious colors at every 45 degree angle from your original color.
  • Use the Variations area to find colors that are incrementally lighter or darker than your original color.

14 Clicks Color Scheme FinalFrom my original palette, I used ColorSchemeGenerator.com to brighten up the light blue. It was too dull for a website. Then I used “Hue Incremented by 45” for both the light blue and the dark blue to pick all the colors on the sidebar and in the footer. So now I have 20 colors that supposedly live in perfect harmony on 14clicks.com.

You can also use ColorSchemeDesigner.com if you’re looking for something more advanced.

Other Ways to Choose Brand Colors

  • Paint sample color strips from your hardware store.
  • Book covers and websites in your niche.
  • Products and advertisements in your industry.

Off the top of your head, can you think of a popular website that doesn’t use blue? How about a fast food company that don’t use red?
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