Here's How to Choose a Color Palette for Your Brand

January 5, 2020 | Startup Branding | By PDCo.
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We know that deciding on a color palette for your new brand, your baby, can seem overwhelming. But that’s why we’re here. Thankfully there are a few simple questions you can ask yourself to help you decide what palette will work best for speaking to your audience.

Did you know that color improves brand recognition by up to 80%?


Color Psychology

But before we help you dive into actually choosing some hues, let’s talk a bit about the psychology around color and the influence it has on decision making.

Color is essential to any marketing and branding toolkit. It impacts our emotions and behaviors. It guides us on where to look, how to act, or how to interpret what we see. It adds life to content and helps us figure out levels of importance. So if you’re looking to brand your business, color is of utmost importance.

color wheel

Color Studies

Many studies on color have been done over time, and truly the impact that color has on us, psychologically, is a bit subjective. That’s because everyone reacts differently to different colors depending on factors like your experiences, memories, cultural significance and so on. However there are some common threads and general known ways on how most audiences respond and react to color, and that’s what we’ll touch on here.

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Red is the color of power. Whether it’s a powerful way to show affection and love or to portray fear, terror and fright. Red portrays energy and strength, but can also be demanding and aggressive at the same time. Use red sparingly, because on-screen, it can be tough on the eyes.

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Orange combines red and yellow to give it a unique psychological meaning and falls between yellow’s approachability and red’s energy. This comforting color means warmth, stimulates appetite and reassures safety. It’s a motivational color that leans toward a positive outlook and general enthusiasm. It creates a sense of fun and freedom in visuals.

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Yellow is joyful, happy, optimistic color. It has a long color wavelength, which translates to a powerful psychological meaning. The long wavelength also makes it easiest to see, and coincidentally is the first color that most infants respond to. It is energetic and inspirational but too much of it can be critical and cause anxiety.


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Green is a balanced and harmonious color. It brings psychological balance and brings us clarity around decision making, because of its logical and emotional balance. It has a strong presence in nature, and therefore reflects a peaceful sense of life and rest. It can also be a sign of growth – both physically and in the financial sense. On the negative side, green can be associated with envy but it depends on what context it is used.


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Blue is known as one of the most well-liked colors across audiences world-wide. It portrays trust, dependability, reliability and credibility. It’s responsible and soothing. Blue speaks to our minds, allowing us to de-stress and become calm. It has a short wavelength, however, so it can be hard to be seen, especially next to black, and it can be thought of as unfriendly and cold if used in large amounts.


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Purple is whimsical, energetic and spiritual, combining the power of red with the stability and reliability of blue, making it the perfect balance between physical and spiritual feelings. It’s also used to show royalty, mystery and magic. Purple is intriguing and soothing however over use can cause distraction, so use it sparingly!


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Pink is a variation on red – softer more more compassionate. It creates a soothing feeling similar to purple, but unlike purple represents caring, thoughtfulness and compassion. It’s a sign of hope, empathy and sensitivity. Overuse of the color, though, can feel juvenile or sappy.


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Brown represents solidity, security and reliability. It can feel protective and serious, as well as down-to-earth, given it’s earth-like tone. Shades of brown can feel boring, like tans and beiges. It can make a good neutral when used properly. It’s considered a safe color.


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Gold carries various connotations depending on the culture. Universally, it represents wealth, treasure, luxury and charm. Those qualities translate to abundance, prosperity and celebration. Over use of gold can seem self-righteous and gaudy. It typically works best as an accent to bring attention to something of importance.


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Black is a color that can be powerful or recede into the background. It is used to show sophistication, control, and seriousness. It is often associated with evil, mystery and dying. It provides high contrast and ease of legibility. Because it is a powerful color, like red, too much black can cause melancholy and negativity.


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White is the opposite of black and signifies simplicity, purity, cleanliness and innocence. It is a peaceful color that represents rebirths and new beginnings. It is refreshing and balanced. On the negative side, overuse of white can be stark, isolating and spur feelings of emptiness.

Which one works best for your audience?

Armed with the right knowledge about the impact of color on your audience, you can decide what will work best for your offering. Remember, color is a bit subjective so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.

Go forth and live your best brand!

Sincerely and creatively
Lauren at PDCo.

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