The Color of You: Color Theory in Brand Identity and Event Planning

by Jennifer Beatty

When you are choosing color for your own unique identity, whether it be for your business, your personal brand/image or for your wedding or special event, you need to be mindful of your choices and select a palette that is an authentic representation of you. It should represent your core values, goals and true self so that when clients/customers/guests approach your business or attend your event, they get what they anticipated. Their expectations are met.

That’s right, this goes pretty deep. If you think about it, the palette that you choose represents you visually, a critical piece to your identity. This palette will also be present throughout your entire brand identity, from your logo to your business cards to your website to your store signage (both physical and online storefronts) and apparel. The list goes on and on.

When I’m designing for a client, I always start with color. Whether it be a logo, website, invitation or event collateral, I construct a color palette at the start of the project. How do I do this? By working with the client and getting to know them and their business and then drawing on my knowledge of color theory and design. I learn what their values and passions are as well as their short and long term goals. From there I start building color palettes and then present a Mood Board to the client (by the way, mood boards are excellent tools in the design process. They are a collection of colors, fabrics, images and anything else I can think of that helps me to communicate the vision I have for a project). Once we solidify the color, the rest of the design begins (but that’s another post or more!)

What I’d like to share with you in this post is a snippet of the world of color. There is so much to share, I wish I had all day! However, there are, like all things in design, fundamentals that, when utilized, will bring a brand identity together.

Below is a quick history on how color is made along with descriptions of two basic color combinations along with examples of where you can find them. These will give you some insight to what I mean about the importance of color and how it works.

It all starts with the color wheel. Here, we start with the purest forms of color, the primary colors; red, yellow and blue (check out the colors in the Burger King and McDonald’s logos for use of the primary colors; very dynamic and even kid-friendly) and build out from there, creating thousands of palettes. You can mix them and then mix again, tweaking hue, value and intensity to create custom color combinations.

Analogous colors are next to each other on the wheel. They are similar in hue and flow well with each other. Analogous colors create strong moods and can be very powerful, like warm reds and oranges for romance or cool greens to elegantly display healthy food (many spreads in Martha Stewart’s magazine feature great use of analogous color).

On the other hand, complimentary colors are directly across from each other on the color wheel, like blue and orange or violet and yellow. Complimentary colors are complete opposites yet they play off of each other well. Take a look at the world around you (school and sports team colors for example), especially when something colorful catches your eye. Chances are, those colors are complimentary. Take red and green, used extensively during the holiday season. These two colors are compliments and have served to brand this time of year well.

So what does this mean for you and your brand?

Color affects us emotionally and physically. It creates perceptions about things, people, businesses and anything else it is a part of. It also has cultural meaning throughout the world. These are all things that you should have as a part of your research when developing your identity or planning events that you are hosting, especially if you have a global business and, with the rapid advances in technology, reaching markets worldwide is very possible. Work with your designer on what color palette is best for you, your business, or event.

Have fun with this and get out there and color the world!

Check out a page of color palettes that I put together on my website, complete with graphics for better visual clarity.

To contact me, click here.


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