6 Staple Color Types for your Branding

by | Dec 29, 2020 | Blog, Hot Tip Tuesday

I’m not writing the 📕 on branding and I’m not pretending to replace a Brand Identity Expert, but I’ve been around long enough in the web world to observe what works and what doesn’t for color palettes 🎨 as a part of branding identity. It’s not even that complicated; it’s totally possible to do all of this by your lonesome! With that said, there is a whole lot of value in getting a branding expert 🤓 on your team to help create that foundation you’ll be bouncing off of later. ⛹️

However, perhaps you are the only one on your team or perhaps you’re willing to come back to the drawing board several times if it means you get to do it all on the cheap. 🆓 Plus, it is handy to even just start getting an idea of what you might be expected to produce when an expert does arrive on the scene.

In any case, you’re here looking for the color types that will help you to create that rock 🤘 solid brand that looks good for print, promos, socials, and of course (my favorite) the web. 👼♥️👼 Let’s go on a journey together and explore 👀 these types out in their natural habitat! (ie. with some examples)!

1. The “Black” ⚫️

Your rock, your ultimate foundation. Your text will likely be in this color (unless you have an inverted theme with the next color type being the no. 1 for you.) This color should be in high contrast with the no. 2 to allow for maximum accessibility!

Hold for Home's Palette

In Hold for Home’s palette, the smokey “black” color pairs well with the oceanic and natural feel of the rest of the palette.

2. The “White” ⚪️

This will be whatever is behind your foundation. The no. 2 needs to be in high contrast with the no. 1 for reasons above. These two are necessary to keep all of your assets “on brand” and they certainly help to get the right feel across, but the branding is not quite defined by these two.

Toad Spool Press' Palette

In Toad Spool Press’ palette, the “white” (that is not true white) pairs very well with the funky, natural palette.

3. The “Grey” 👨‍🦳👩‍🦳

Think of this as the in-between for your no.1 and your no. 2. It’s helpful to have another color that works as an alternative background color for focus sections on your website. This color is so subtle, even I forgot about it when I first wrote this article and had to slip it in afterwards! Include this color in your palette if you don’t want your web designer guessing what that other color should be!

Bio-Stream's palette

In Bio-Stream Diagnostics’ palette, the grey color is crucial in adding slick professionalism.

4. The “Accent” 🥊

This would be the color you would cough up if someone asked you to present ONLY ONE COLOR to represent your brand. The rest would simply be implied!

Gigi Jobb's Personal Palette

If I had to describe Gigi Jobb in one word, I would say “retro”. The third cherry red accent color perfectly captures that rich and whimsical history.

5. The “Accent’s Best Friend” 👯‍♀️

This color compliments that main color so frickin’ well! Whether it’s the same hue with a different saturation, the next color on the color wheel, or a contrasting (opposite) color on the wheel, the no. 4 and the no. 5 are obvious best buddies and add that sugar and spice to your brand.

Paige Knickle's Palette

In my personal palette, the fourth royal blue pairs so wonderfully with the accent. Ah! It makes my heart sing! This example just so happens to have a second what-the-heck type of color to really emphasize the uniqueness and boldness of this brand, which we’ll hear more about next!

6. The “What-the-heck-is-this-color-doing-here?” 🤡

This color is the shocker. The hidden jalapeno inside the chocolate 🍨 sundae. If that was a thing… This color reminds viewers that, just like people, brands are complicated and have multiple sides. This color is the cherry 🍒 on top that gives us that little bit of surprise that we seek after we know that we have found security in the foundation. Use this sparingly, otherwise it may be mistaken for the accent!

Copper Cabbage Studios' Palette

Last, but not least, our palette doesn’t feature a true copper-like color at all, rather this lovely brown takes the cake!


And most importantly, as soon as you know the “rules”, feel free to break them! Toss the salad 🥗 by:

  • adding a 7th or 8th color! Oooo! Bold! Preferably another color along the same vein as the no. 5 (best friend) or no. 3 (grey).
  • removing one of the more excessive color tropes like the no. 5 or the no. 6, you risk-taker, you!
  • or picking your top 6 favorite colors and forgetting that this blog post ever existed! No prob, Bob! You do you! It’s your brand! 😉

Have fun ruling the world web!! 🦾

BTW, I use coolors.co (not sponsored) to make my palettes for myself and for my clients! Super handy tool!!