Many of the world’s most recognisable brands rely on colour as a key factor in their instant brand recognition. For example, if you think of which brands have red as their dominant colour you may think of brands such as Coca-Cola, Target, Vodafone, Qantas and Virgin. With purple you may think of Cadbury, and with blue you may think of IBM, Facebook, or LinkedIn. According to a study conducted by Loyola University Maryland, colour increases brand recognition by over 80%. For this reason alone, choosing the right colour for your brand, product or design is imperative in attracting attention and creating a brand identity. So, where do you source your colour inspiration from?
There are multiple areas that you can get ideas for a colour palette. I’ve outlined five below:
1. Mother Nature
Some of the most amazing colours can be found by just looking outside. The colours of the ocean, the sunset, landscapes, and flora and fauna can all provide inspiration for a brand. Jessica, creator of the Design Seeds site, states that she finds much of her inspiration at farmers’ markets and farm stands. The beauty of mobile technology is that you can capture these moments wherever you go.
2. 60-30-10 Principle
Pick up an interior decorating magazine or head into the paint section of a hardware store and often you will see that many of the room shots and paint swatches follow a simple guide when it comes to colour: 60% dominant colour, 30% secondary colour and 10% accent colour. This principle can be applied to graphic and web design too to give your design some focus.
3. Colour Palette Creator
Design Seeds offers a great range of colour palettes for designers, artists, crafters, home decorating, and more. Jessica provides the hexadecimal colour codes for all her colour palettes. You can search by RGB colour values or themes or just view the most recent colour palettes created. If you are on Pinterest, you can pin these colour palettes easily to your boards. That way, you can reference them easily when needed.
4. The Colour Wheel
The colour wheel is a great resource for developing colour themes. If you look at a basic colour wheel you can create an analogous, complementary or monochromatic colour scheme. An analogous scheme is where you select three or more hues that are positioned next to each other on the colour wheel. A complementary colour scheme involves selecting any two hues positioned exactly opposite each other on the basic colour wheel. A monochromatic scheme is when you select a single hue and use all the shades, tones and tints in that hue. If it’s too difficult to compile manually then there are a myriad of online tools to help you come up with a colour palette. One is the Adobe Color CC that helps you find colours that work together beautifully. They also have a host of themes created by members to choose from.
Both graphic designers and fashion designers use the Pantone colour system. For graphic designers, the pantone colours are widely used in order to ensure accuracy of colour. If you want to know what colours are in trend, Pantone also release a seasonal fashion report. Sometimes, in this digital world it’s nice to pull out the trusty Pantone Swatch Guide and flick through the myriad of colours!
As you can see there is no shortage of places to source ideas from for your latest design project. How about you? How do you use colour in your design and from where do you source your colour inspiration?