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Brand Color 101: Go From Too Bright to Just Right in One Easy Step

It’s a common mistake amateurs make when choosing brand colors, website colors, or social media colors.

People choose brand colors that are too bright.

Brand colors that look like nothing that exists in nature. They’re loud, glaring, and they make our eyes hurt.

Bright brand color swatches

Ouch.

Why do bright brand colors make our eyeballs ache?

Bright colors reflect more light than their toned-down counterparts. They over-stimulate our eyes, and because of that, they can cause eye strain.

Bright brand colors on screens? Double ouch.

It’s one thing to see bright colors printed on paper. But when they’re on a screen that is lit from behind rather than illuminated by ambient light, it’s even more jarring.

(Just try staring at the colors above for about thirty seconds. Look away at a blank surface right after, and you’ll see “ghost” color swatches. Your eyes are still trying to process the bright colors!)

That’s why it’s a good idea to tone down your colors to make them easier to look at, especially when you want people to spend time on your pages reading your information.

Because the last thing you want is to have pages that make people want to rub their eyes and click away.

Tone down your bright colors in one easy step

It’s easier than you think to tone down your overly-bright hues, and you don’t have to be especially artistic to do it.

As a matter of fact, my favorite color palette creation software has a built-in tool that will help you tone down your colors. Just follow these steps:

1. Go to ColourLovers.com. This is my favorite site for choosing colors and creating palettes.

2. Look for the “Create” button on the right side of the page. Click on this button to get the dropdown menu. In the dropdown menu, choose “Palette.”

3. Click on the first rectangle and choose a color. Directly under “Create a Palette,” click on the first rectangle. Use the color selector below to choose a color.

Color too bright? Here's how to tone down brand colors

4. If the color is too bright, move the third slider down toward black. Edge it down until your color looks like it’s sitting the shade, instead of the bright sun! This will make it easier on your viewer’s eyes.

Tone down brand colors with this trick

The result after you add some “shade” to the colors at the beginning of this post?

Toned down brand colors

These colors are still pretty bright, and you should use them in small doses. But they won’t send your website visitors running for the hills, rubbing their eyes as they go!

Let’s put those gorgeous brand colors to good use!

Plug your brand colors into images that you can use on your website, social media, in ads, email marketing, and more!

You can create branded images all by yourself — even if you’re not a designer. Really!

Watch my free on-demand branding workshop to discover how to build your brand and your business with stunning visuals you create yourself. Click here to register.

Free visual marketing workshop

Learn more about brand color with these free resources from BIG Brand System

Brand color is an important aspect of your visual brand! It’s a topic you’ll find lots of information about here on this site.

Start your brand color journey by understanding your “brand personality”

Your brand personality is how you want your business and your brand to be perceived. It’s important to pinpoint it early on, because it will influence your brand color and brand font selections.

Take my free, fast, (fun!) Brand Personality Quiz.

Harness the power of a color wheel

Yes, it’s geeky! But when you understand how a color wheel works, you’ll unleash the power of color in everything you do.

Get a free color wheel here.

Use a simple, two-step method for choosing your brand colors

When you know what brand personality you want to convey, you can use my simple, two-step method for choosing your two main brand colors. Read how it’s done in the article below:

The Simplest Way to Choose Your Brand Colors in Just Two Steps

Use free online tools to choose your brand color palette

Ready to expand your main brand colors to a full color palette? Fortunately, there are dozens of free tools available online to help you select a beautiful brand color palette. I review my favorites in the article below.

5 Free Tools for Getting Your Business Color Right

Ready to share your brand colors with the world? Discover how to make your color palette an integral part of your visual brand.

Register for my free visual marketing workshop and I’ll show you how it’s done!

Brand Color 101: Go From Too Bright to Just Right in One Easy Step
Pamela Wilson

Pamela Wilson

Pamela Wilson is an online educator, author, keynote speaker, and the founder of BIG Brand System. Read reviews of the tools used to run this site and business.

Pamela Wilson

I want to help you take the next step. Pick your free workshop topic and let’s do this!

6 thoughts on “Brand Color 101: Go From Too Bright to Just Right in One Easy Step”

  1. Hi Pamela,
    I have a question about color going in the opposite direction, colors that are perfect on the computer but too dull when printed. I’ve designed most of my materials for the web, chosen my colors on the screen. I use a deep but vibrant burgundy. My printed materials come out brown, muddy, dark. How can I get rich, vibrant printed dark red that looks like the beautiful colors I see on my screen?

    • Hi Leslie!

      The best way to get the color you want is to work with a printer who can show you an ink swatch book. Those books typically have samples printed on coated (shiny) paper, and uncoated (matte) paper. Even paper finish affects color!

      When you see the color swatch you want, the swatch book will have the right formula you can plug in to your artwork so it will reproduce correctly.

      Any good printer or designer can help you with this. Once you know the right formula, you can use it for everything you print going forward.

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