THE EASY GUIDE FOR CREATING A BRAND COLOUR PALETTE
Updated: Mar 31
One of the most daunting parts of designing a brand identity is knowing how to select the right brand colours. Colours play a significant role in attracting the right customers because they speak to our emotions.
So before you set out to create a brand colour palette for your business, decide on the feeling you want your brand to have. This is where you need to start. Once you have that feeling clear in your mind, follow the simple steps below as I show you how to use Canva to create a brand colour palette.
Use our free Brand Colour Palette Template to follow the steps in Canva with ease!
FINDING INSPIRATION FOR YOUR BRAND COLOUR PALETTE
At the Studio, we rely on Pinterest for colour palette inspiration. But you need to know how to search for the right images that will speak to the vision you have for your brand. Let’s begin the process by creating a Pinterest board called “Brand Colour Palette Ideas”.
The goal is to search for imagery on Pinterest that will evoke the same feeling you want your brand to have. Photography is a perfect source of inspiration because it already captures a feeling and tells a story.
Related: 5 Things to Know about Branding and Colours
HOW TO SEARCH FOR BRAND COLOUR PALETTE IDEAS
There are a few different ways you can fine tune your search. You’ll want to spend some time exploring the results and collecting the images that resonate most with you to your Pintetest board.
01/ Search for the Feeling
With the feeling you have in mind for your brand, start by searching for keywords that use that keyword. For example, if your brand feeling is all about relaxation and ease, try these searches in Pinterest:
Calm photo inspo
02/ Search by Colour
If there is a colour you know what you want your brand colour palette to include, use that for your search strategy. Remember, each colour will have countless shades and tints to inspire you.
As an example, let’s say you know you want your primary brand colour to be a pink hue, try searches like:
Here are a few photo examples we got from searching for “pink photography”. The results are amazing because you're letting the photographer work their artistic eye!
Maybe you aren’t sure what specific colour you want to lead with but you know you want a brand colour palette that’s cool or warm. Try searching for:
Cool colour photography
03/ Search by Theme
Personally, I often turn to interior design for inspiration. Maybe for you it’s travel or food! Inspiration can come from the strangest of places. Go nuts and search for things that you think might trigger ideas for your brand. Here are some examples that might give you some ideas:
interior design inspo
book cover designs
Related: How to Attract Dream Clients with Emotional Branding
HOW TO START CURATING YOUR BRAND PALETTE
How Many Colours Should a Brand Have?
There is no right or wrong answer here but somewhere between four to six colours is ideal. Our Brand Palette Framework uses five colours to ensure your brand palette will both function and achieve your desired aesthetic.
Primary colour: something you know will appeal to your target audience
Complementary to your primary colour
Tint (light) or Shade (dark) of one of those colours
Light or white neutral colour
Dark anchor colour
This starting framework is a great guide to ensure your brand will have enough tonal contrast both through colour and value (light to dark).
Selecting Your Brand Colours
Here’s where the fun begins. In Canva, create a new design or use our free Brand Colour Palette Template.
Go to your Pinterest board that has all of your saved colour palette ideas and find one image that really resonates with you to start
Right-click on the image and click “Copy Image”
Go to your blank Canva design and paste the image on the canvas
Click on an empty area of your canvas background
Click on the colour panel from the menu and you’ll see suggested colour swatches based on your image. It should read “Photo Colors”
Using the 5 steps above, repeat the process with as many images as you want. You can keep adding new images to your canvas and additional colour palettes will appear under “Photo Colors”.
Now, we’re going to start playing around with the colours that work best together.
Add a blank canvas below the one with your images and add four to six rectangles evenly spaced across the canvas (already set up for you in the template). These will serve as your sample brand colour palettes.
One by one, you’ll change the colours of the rectangles using the suggested colour swatches from the “Photo Colors” menu
Create a few palettes to experiment with different colour combinations
Consider how your colours will be used in your brand and refer back to our Brand Palette Framework to ensure you have a functional palette
After some experimentation, choose one palette combination that seems the strongest
By hovering over the colour swatches in the menu, it will give you the hex code numbers. Those are important to refer back to when you decide which colours you want to move forward with for your final brand colour palette.
Use our free Brand Colour Palette Template to follow these steps in Canva with ease!
TEST DRIVE YOUR BRAND PALETTE
Once you’ve narrowed down your brand colour palette, the best way to make sure it will serve your brand well is to start using it. Let’s use some Canva templates with your new brand colours.
Go to the Templates menu and select a design that you would potentially use for your brand
Start editing the design to use your brand colours
Keep in mind, you don’t need to use every single colour. The point is to experiment with them to make sure they’ll function together overall.
Pay special attention to how well the colours work together
Is there enough contrast to make elements stand out?
Is text easy to read?
Does the design feel congruent?
Does something feel off?
Make adjustments to your palette as needed until it feels just right
STAYING ON BRAND WITH YOUR COLOURS
Congrats! You just curated your brand colour palette—and it looks great! Use the hex codes of each brand colour and add them overtop of each swatch for reference.
To make staying on brand as easy as pie, download your final palette with hex codes to your computer and send one version to your phone. You can use the one on your phone to keep your Instagram stories on brand by using the eye dropper tool to pull your brand colours for text and backgrounds.
Be sure to use your brand colours consistently and remember, these are the only brand colours to use in your brand now. Consistency is key to growing your brand awareness.
Jenny Henderson is a brand strategist and business mentor. She collaborates with service-based solopreneurs to design memorable brands that allow them to make a living doing what they love. Since 2020, her branding studio has become a place where small business owners learn to think like a brand.