Choosing the Right Color Palette

Erin Ferree

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Color is a highly personal experience – everyone has favorite colors, and other colors that they absolutely don’t like. So, how do you determine which colors that will work for your business identity, and that will send the right message to?

We have developed several methods and approaches for determining successful color palettes. For your corporate identity, you should choose colors that:

  • Have a positive meaning in your industry – Think about things that you come into contact with in your industry or emotions that are very positive in your industry, and choose colors that associate with those accordingly. For example, red is a great color for a flower company, since it is the color of roses, but it is a poor color choice for a health care professional, because of the association with blood. Contact us to inquire about color significance for your industry.

  • Reflect the emotion of the experience your clients have when working with you. If you have a high-energy business, consider using bright, clear colors. If your services are more complex, consider choosing “complex” colors, like sage green, slate blue, maroon, or another muted tone that speaks of the intricacies of your work.

  • You like – You live with this logo and look at it often, so pick colors that excite you. Also, colors you like tend to have commonalities with your personality, so your color palette will begin to speak to your potential clients about who you are and the way you work.

  • You wear – Especially if you are a consultant or a sole proprietor, use your personal color palette for your business as well. That way, what you wear will reinforce your brand and will be a constant, subtle reminder of your business to people you meet. Or, if you’re running a larger business that will include uniforms for employees that mirror your logo design.

  • Match or complement each other – Eye-catching color palettes that are made up of colors that match or complement each other will be more pleasant for your customers to look at.

  • Contrast each other – You will save money if you use a limited color palette (one or two colors) in your printed materials, so choose colors for your logo that contrast each other. That way, you can design your materials in just a few colors, but they’ll still be legible and eye-catching.

    If you use these guidelines, you will be able to devise a strong color palette for your business to use both online and in your printed corporate communications. Your color palette is an important aspect of your corporate identity, as it contributes to your visibility, credibility, and memorability.

    About the Author

    Erin Ferree, Founder and Lead Designer of elf design, is a brand identity and graphic design expert. She has been helping small businesses grow with bold, clean and effective logo and marketing material designs for over a decade. elf design offers the comprehensive graphic and web design services of a large agency, with the one- on-one, personalized attention of an independent design specialist. Erin works closely in partnership with her clients to create designs that are visible, credible and memorable – and that tell their unique business stories in a clear and consistent way. For more information about elf design, please visit:

    Logo design at

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