Now that you’ve determined your color palette, it’s time to create your color system.
I know what you’re thinking, “What in the world is a color system?”
Let me explain.
Your whole brand should be viewed as a system.
It’s sort of like an equation; you plug in the values to the framework and you get the right answer.
This post is part of Elle & Company’s 4-week Brand Challenge. Click here to see more details, sign up, and access the free workbook.
Throughout this brand challenge, you’ve been creating separate parts of the equation so that when you add them together to create a website, business cards, and other collateral items, you’ll achieve a cohesive, professional outcome.
Now that you’ve chosen colors for your brand, it’s time to create consistency in how you pair them together.
Let’s look at an example.
Here are the colors we chose for my branding client, Jen Neal.
But in order to maintain consistency on Jen’s website, social media graphics, and business cards, we needed to come up with a color system, outlining how the colors would be used.
Navy blue would be used for backgrounds.
The custom floral pattern we created for Jen’s brand would always be the lighter shade of blue on the navy background.
Pink would be used in small doses for a bold pop of color, mainly through thin borders.
Gold would only be used sparingly for the logo and headers.
You can see the “system” start to develop.
Having this system made it easy to design Jen’s website and collateral items because we simply plugged in the values and came out with a well-designed solution.
So start thinking through your color system.
It will probably continue to take shape as you add patterns, icons, and other visuals into the mix, but go ahead and define your color pairings.
Which colors will be used as background colors?
Which colors will be used on top of those background colors for text and icons?
Note that the best color pairings are usually those with contrast (which is why I had you choose light, medium, and dark tones for your color palette).
Spend some time playing around with your brand colors to see which combinations pair best together.
Once you’ve settled on some color pairings, set those standards on page 15 of your workbook.
You might find that you need to go back and refine your color palette after this step to give yourself a little more versatility or create better color pairings, and that’s okay! I usually make small adjustments here and there throughout the branding process.
But be sure to take the time at the outset to set boundaries for how you use and pair your brand colors. It will make designing your graphics so much easier in the long run.