How to choose your brand colour palette

There are so many things to consider when choosing your brand’s colour palette.

Color matches as people Melanie Johnsson

From brand colour psychology to tints, tone and logo colour schemes, we demystify the colour jargon so you can get on with the fun part – branding your business.

Why is your brand colour palette so important?

For businesses big and small, a colour palette is one of the most crucial considerations. Along with your tone of voice, fonts and brand values, your colour scheme helps people understand who you are and why you’re here – which, in turn, attracts the right customers to your brand.

“Choosing the right colours for your brand is like putting the right clothes on in the morning,” says MOO’s Head of Design. “It all says something about what you stand for and represent.”
Nailing your brand colour palette will help determine the look and feel of your company website, Business Cards, Flyers and any other marketing material – keeping your brand consistent and, in time, recognizable.

Color combinations as people
Credit: @melanie.johnsson

Start with some colour inspiration

If you’re wondering how to choose colours for your brand, take the time to find inspiration. Start by creating a mood board of any colours and images you feel align closely with your brand identity. You can find inspiration anywhere – from packaging and fashion to nature and interiors.

You can follow artists you admire on Instagram or use Pinterest to create dedicated boards by colour. Pinterest is a great resource for pooling content, and by sharing boards with colleagues, you can widen your colour inspiration net even further.

Consider brand colour psychology

As you do your research, you’ll notice whether you’re drawn to warm or cool colours. Picking colours for your brand shouldn’t be done lightly. The connotations and moods evoked by the hues you’ve chosen should also reflect your brand values and personality.

Colour theory is the idea that any hue can be linked to a mood or value. When applied to branding, it’s also known as “brand colour psychology”. Some of these links are instinctive, whereas others are a little more subtle. Whichever you choose, they can all have a big impact on how your brand is perceived.

Here’s a rundown of some common colour schemes and their associations to help you choose brand colours:

Yellow colour palette

This sunny hue is on the warm side of the colour wheel and is associated with positivity. Think of the golden arches on the side of a Happy Meal.

Yellow illustration inspo Melanie Johnsson
Credit: @melanie.johnsson

Green colour palette

From vibrant lime green to rich forest colours and khaki, a green colour palette is varied and evocative of nature – like that of Tropicana.

Green pattern Melanie Johnsson
Credit: @melanie.johnsson

Blue colour palette

Blue has the benefit of projecting calmness, making it a sign of stability and especially useful for tech or finance businesses like PayPal, Visa and Samsung.

Blue pattern Melanie Johnsson
Credit: @melanie.johnsson

Black colour palette

When used well, black can show sophistication. This link has been harnessed by numerous high-end brands, including Prada, Chanel and Gucci.

Black pattern Melanie Johnsson
Credit: @melanie.johnsson

Red colour palette

Fiery hues denote excitement, passion and energy. Red Bull is a great example of a brand that has aligned colour connotations with their values seamlessly.

Red illustration pattern Melanie Johnsson
Credit @melanie.johnsson

Orange colour palette

Orange is an invigorating, warm colour that inspires creativity (think of the classic covers of your favorite Penguin books).

Orange pattern Melanie Johnsson
Credit: @melanie.johnsson

Purple colour palette

Shades of purple can evoke luxury, richness and quality. This indulgent hue has been used by many luxury brands such as the premium card makers, Hallmark.

Purple pattern by Melanie Johnsson
Credit: @melanie.johnsson

Colour terminology explained

Once you’ve identified a dominant colour that projects the right image for your brand, you can decide which accent colours will best complement it in your brand colour palette. This is where the colour wheel, along with colour theory, really come into play.

  • Colour wheel

A visual that demonstrates the relationship between the 12 primary (red, blue and yellow), secondary (purple, green, and orange) and tertiary colours. This is a great tool for finding contrasting and complementary colours, especially if you’re wondering how to decide on your brand colour palette.

color wheel Melanie Johnsson
Credit: @melanie.johnsson
  • Hue

One of the 12 single colours found on the colour wheel.

Colors as people holding hands Melanie Johnsson
Credit: @melanie.johnsson
  • Tint, shade or tone

The different ways of transforming hues into a variety of colours. A tint is a hue mixed with white, while a shade is a hue mixed with black. A tone mixes a hue with black and white.

Creating a mixed brand colour scheme

Once you’ve got to grips with the different colours, you can start using your knowledge to build out colour schemes. A colour scheme is simply the way colours are combined or arranged.


A palette comprising just one hue, with different tones or shades. Think Oreo’s different shades of blue.

People hanging to a color scheme Melanie Johnsson
Credit: @melanie.johnsson


A palette made from colours that complement each other, as seen in agricultural firm John Deere’s brand colour palette of greens and yellow.

analogous colors Melanie Johnsson
Credit: @melanie.johnsson


Colours that are opposite each other on the wheel. When used side-by-side they can help you create a stand out colour scheme. Think 7 Up’s logo.

complementary colors Melanie Johnsson
Credit: @melanie.johnsson


Also known as “split-complementary” this palette takes two adjacent colours on the wheel, and matches them with a colour on the opposite side.

Color matches on color wheel Melanie Johnsson
Credit: @melanie.johnsson


A palette built from three colours taken from evenly-spaced parts of the wheel. Burger King’s red, blue and yellow is a classic example.

Color wheel as people Melanie Johnsson
Credit: @melanie.johnsson

Choosing and testing your brand colour palette

Once you’ve got to grips with the colour wheel and scheme options, it’s time for the fun part – playing around with different palettes based on your dominant colours. You could even test out a few of your favorite combinations. 

It’s also worth researching how your business colours compare to your competitors – and whether they’re going to make you stand out – and what your business’s colour palette means in a global context. For example, in France and Germany yellow denotes envy, while in the UK green is the traditionally envious colour.

Next stop: getting creative with your logo colour schemes, Business Cards and website. You could also head to our beginner’s guide to branding for more tips.

Ready to go further? MOO Business Services can help you with all things print and design. With three service plans that cater to different business needs, there’s never been an easier way to make your brand shine.

Simply fill in your details and a member of our lovely team will be in touch.

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