Color Guide – How to Pick The Perfect Colors
Colors can be as overwhelming as fonts.
There’re so many palettes to choose from and so much MORE that goes into
choosing colors than just what you think “looks good”. And maybe that’s the
I had a client once tell me that she never knows what looks good. That she wears polka dots with stripes and thinks nothing of it. At least she admits it, right?!
So, I wanted to put together this no-fluff, to-the-point guide for picking colors and a cheat sheet to help you quickly choose colors when you aren’t sure where to start.
Let’s get right into it.
Obviously, if you were in graphic design school, there would be a lot more to this.
However, you are a blogger and you’re busy so I’m going to keep it to what you need to know.
Think fire. Warm colors are as follows:
Warm colors give an overall inviting feel. They are warm and convert well on social media, particularly Pinterest. Reds are also thought to convert well with Facebook ads. Warm colors, in general, get more clicks. But it’s important to be thoughtful about your warm colors.
I’ll go over that more in the “Color shades section”
Think ice. Cool colors are as follows:
While many of the cool colors are popular, they simply don’t convert well on social media. They don’t stand out as well or shock the eye. Cool colors are most often portrayed as pastels that blend well, and provide a calming feeling.
Calm is a nice vibe for a blog, but “exciting” is what gets the clicks. If you are really set on having a color palette of mostly cool colors, there are definitely ways to incorporate at least one warm color while keeping it complimentary. Which brings me to the next term you’ll need to know as a blogger.
Complimentary colors are colors that are opposite on the color wheel. Why is this important? It’s basically a quick way to find colors that go perfectly together. A very famous example is Strawberry colors: red and green. These colors are directly across from each other on the color wheel- which means they are a perfect match and 100% complimentary.
Check out the color wheels on the next page for reference.
While you may not want every single image or product you create to have the exact same brand colors- you still don’t want them to clash with your website (brand colors). So choosing complimentary colors are important when choosing an off-brand color palette.
Color psychology is a bit complicated. While I think it’s important to understand the vibe you’re giving off with your colors, I also don’t think you should pick your entire palette solely on color psychology.
Like all psychology, it’s not an exact science. You’ll also notice in the list below that most colors have both positive and negative connotations. The use of color and how it is perceived will vary greatly by context and also by person. Everyone perceives color differently.
That being said, here’s a quick reference for you as a blogger:
- Provokes physiological response
- Attracts attention
- Attention grabbing
- THE Unknown
I truly believe that personality plays a big part in choosing a color palette.
You’ll notice all my designs are bold and colorful. I have a wide variety of style. You won’t see bold colors in my house- just a whole lot of light, bright whites, greys, and neutral tones. But my personality is bold.
Here’s how I describe my personality: Tell it like it is, honest, bold and creative. I can be shy at first but once I get to know you I’m fun to be around. I can be a little blunt, but tactful and I’m not a fan of confrontation. I’m not super nurturing and I don’t coddle. I’m a teach-a-man-to-fish kind of gal and use the word “awesome” a lot (lol).
Needless to say, I wanted my brand to reflect that. I don’t have pastels or neutral tones in anything I do online. So while I personally am a fan of light, bright neutrals– I didn’t want those to be included in my color palette since it doesn’t give off the vibe that I want to portray.
So- if you struggle with this, I want you to open a document and title it “brand personality” (or use the space below). Then I want you to set a timer and brain dump all the words that come to mind when you think of you and your personality. Refer to the list anytime you need to start choosing colors.
If your brand reflects your personality, it will also attract other like minded people.
That’s how you’ll find your tribe.
Earlier I mentioned its important to be thoughtful about your colors. Looking at the color psychology reference list, you can tell that one color can have many meanings and effects. Not only does context affect a persons perception to color, but also the shade.
For example, a person in a blogging group I belong to posted her website for
feedback. It was a health/wellness blog.I clicked through and immediately
noticed a very bright, almost neon green all over the place. As you can tell from the color psychology list above, green does mean health and wellness but the shade was all wrong. Her message would have been much more clearly conveyed had she chose a muted, earthy shade of green.
Let’s get more visual for a second with the following examples:
It goes without saying that your text should be easy to read. Especially when creating social media images. You will want to make sure all the colors you use are easy to read on desktops, mobile devices, and even in print (if creating a product)
Colors difficult to read are yellows and any light pastels. I’m not saying you can’t have these in your palette, but you may want to find other ways to use them in your designs (such as design elements like banners, or overlays on social media images)
NOTE: THESE COLOR PALETTES ARE A TEMPLATE SO YOU CAN QUICKLY PAIR COLORS THAT LOOK GOOD TOGETHER. OR YOU CAN LOCATE COLORS CLOSE TO YOUR BRAND TO FIND OTHER COLORS THAT PAIR WELL. YOU DO NOT NEED TO USE ALL THE COLORS IN THE PALETTE (EACH ROW IS ONE PALETTE)