Colour Theory: How to Pick the Perfect Colours for Your Brand.


Colour Theory: How to Pick the Perfect Colours for Your Brand.

Colour Theory: How to Pick the Perfect Colours for Your Brand.


From YMG – The Award-Winning Digital Marketing Agency in Chelmsford, Essex.


You might have covered colour theory in art classic in school, and since then it has slipped to the back of your head. However, as a business owner, you’re going to need to make an important decision about brand colours. To help guide you through the process, we’re going to look at how colours work.


Why Are Colours Important?

A person will make a judgement on a product in around 90 seconds. Colour and design play a huge part in the decision to buy. According to the Seoul International Color Expo, 92% of people said that colour plays a role in purchasing decisions.

It’s not just about the colour of the product. This can also be applied to the colour of the packaging – it’s a subconscious decision that is extremely important to pay attention to. Colours can dictate the way a person feels about a brand – does it seem cheap? Is it luxurious?


Why Is Having a Brand Colour Scheme Important?

Brand colours help your customers identify your business without even seeing your logo. They go hand in hand with your overall brand identity.

When you think of Coca-Cola, what comes to mind? Chances are it is red. Coke’s use of the colour red adds to a strong brand identity. You know when you see these adverts you instantly know the brand. Coke has also made an enormous effort to show that Coke brings people together. Remember the “I want to buy the world a coke” adverts? Or perhaps the “Share a Coke with…” campaigns where names were added to the bottles.

Brand Identity is important. And colour goes hand in hand with that. Picking a colour scheme and sticking to it is the perfect way to keep your marketing campaigns feeling cohesive. It helps users feel like they’ve come to the right place when they click on your campaigns or visit your shop after seeing a flyer.


Colour Theory – The Colour Wheel.

You might have seen this image in your art lessons in school. Seem familiar?

the colour wheel

No, it’s not a rainbow bagel. This is colour wheel, and it can be split into three parts:

  • Primary colours – Red, yellow and blue.
  • Secondary colours – Orange, green and purple.
  • Tertiary colours – red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, and red-violet.

Most colours work together, but there is a science to get a good colour scheme. The colour wheel helps pick perfect colours using a few tricks. These are the most common ways to select colour schemes.

Complimentary: Two colours that are opposite to each other on the colour wheel. Complementary colours are also known as contrasting colours. These work best for call-to-action buttons, as they help them stand out.

Analogous: Colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel. They usually take in a contrasting colour to use as an accent.

Triad: Put an equilateral triangle over the colour wheel and use the colours the corners touch. These colours need to be carefully balanced, using one colour for a main colour, and the other two to add accents or contrasts.

Tetradic: Stick a rectangle over the colour wheel and use the colours where the corners touch. It should help get a nice balance between warm and cool colours.

Split Complimentary: One main colour and three contrasting colour shades. These work best with websites where you need a compelling call to action all over your website.

Using a tool such as Adobe Color can help you pick fantastic colour schemes that work brilliantly with your brand.


Warm and Cool Colours:

If you run a line through the colour wheel, you get a split of warm and cool colours. As seen below.

Warm colours: Reds, oranges and yellows. – Welcoming, associated with fast service, but also associated with danger (fire, stop signs, etc.).

Cool colours: Blues, greens and purples. – Calming and relaxing.

Color Picker


Colour Context.

Colours often look different against different backgrounds. Usually, a colour can look sharper or softer when put next to another. Sometimes, colours can make an item appear smaller.


The middle squares in this photo are all the same colours. The colours around them change the way the eye processes the colours.

Color Theory

Be careful which colours you put together, as the effect can have an impact on the user.

Humans are visual by nature. Using the right colours can make your target audience relate to your brand. It can give a person an instant idea about the brand, its values and its products. Understanding colour theory is a powerful way to improve your brand and its identity.


YMG are an award-winning and full-service digital marketing agency based in Chelmsford, Essex, and home of the Jargon Buster series, helping business owners to understand the technical terms of digital marketing.

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