Creating the Perfect Color Palette for Your Brand

Creating the perfect color palette is so much more than throwing your favorite color in a logo. You’re creating a flow that will set the tone for your entire brand. Whether you like it or not, your color palette sends a message that will tell your viewers to do either one of two things: stay or go. Your job is to know your message and portray it in a way that leaves people wanting more.

First Impressions

A first impression can make or break a person’s entire perception of your brand. Within just a few seconds, you need to create an emotion that compels people enough to make them want to find out what you’re all about. What does this have to do with your color palette? More than you would think! Research shows us that 60% of people will decide whether or not they’re attracted to a message based entirely on color. That’s significant! Have you ever been to a website and found yourself instantly turned off by the colors that were just thrown everywhere? Nothing seemed to match and on every page, the colors were creating a different theme. Or maybe the colors were just too bright or too dull. Not only is this not appealing to the eye, but it also makes for an extremely ineffective experience for viewers. People like order and class, not mismatched chaos.

Create a Message

By this point you should already know this, but colors create a powerful message, whether you intend them to or not. Red, for instance, is a deeply emotional color. Being the color of fire and blood, it often stimulates feelings of passion, love, and power. It also is used to signify danger or a warning. Blue, the color of the sky and the sea, is often associated with loyalty, peace, and stability. Yellow is an attention grabber, like the sun. It is commonly known to trigger excitement, positivity, and warmth. These are just a few examples, but you get the point. My question for you is this – what’s your message? Don’t overthink it. Sit back and let your colors do the talking.


Truthfully, there are no rules when it comes to creating your palette. This is your brand and you have full freedom to do what you want. What we would like to give you is a guideline. Step number one: Keep it simple. As a general rule, you should aim to have three core colors, or color categories, in your palette. I recommend starting with your accent color and working down from there.


Your accent color should be the color that defines you most, even though it will be used the least on your actual site. This is the attention-grabber that highlights the important things. Your calls to action and your powerful one-liners. This is the color you should really put the most time into as it truly will set the rhythm for your brand.


Once you have determined your accent color, you should create 2-3 shades of that same color for hover effects.


Next is your base color. This will make up most of your palette and, in most cases, should be white or a light pastel. Your base color is the color that people will notice the least, but it should actually make up about 90% of your palette. For variabilities sake, it’s always good to have a base color and a secondary base color.



To complete your palette, you need a contrast color. The aim of this color is to complement your base color. In general, your contrast color should be dark and strong. This color will be dispersed throughout your site filling areas such as the header and footer backgrounds.


Once again, you want to make sure you’ve got some variation. It’s a good idea to create several lighter versions of your contrast color.

Readability & Inspiration

Another key factor that is not always taken into account when establishing a color palette is readability. Lucky for you, the web is full of tools to help you create the perfect contrast with your colors. A free resource that we recommend is called WebAIM.

Still feeling stuck? Check out Hue for some sweet color inspiration. Canva also has a great selection of color palettes that are sure to motivate and get you headed in the right direction. Bonus – both options are free! If you’re looking for some real-life website inspiration, check out to see how others are using color on their sites.