Are Your Brand Colors Scannable?

A colorful panel of a building

Business brand colorsColor communicates without saying a word, and it does so in a split second. Are you sure your colors are saying what you want them to say?

Making your colors scannable helps make them memorable. To do this, you’ve got to follow a few rules. I’ll outline them here, and give you lots of resources so you can explore further.

Don’t worry: we’re not going to talk about analogous and complimentary, and I won’t overload you with a lot of technical terms.

We’re going to talk about how to wield color to make it do what you want, so you can make your business color scannable and memorable.

Choose your memorable two main colors

Too many colors are too much of a good thing. There’s a reason companies, sports teams and schools use two colors: it’s easier to absorb and remember just two instead of a long list of hues.

So pick two main colors, and use them consistently in everything you do. It’s only by using them consistently over time that they’ll begin to make an impact and be associated with your brand in the minds of your audience.

Color is your brand’s best friend

Your color choice is a pivotal decision when it comes to your visual brand. It has the power to:

  • Set the tone by choosing colors that show your brand personality
  • Get a response by using color in your calls to action
  • Make your brand memorable … or not

Two approaches to choosing your two main colors

What do you want to accomplish with your two main colors?

  • Choose colors that are near each other on the color wheel for a cohesive, serene look
  • Choose colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel for a high energy, vibrant look

Not sure how to do that? Download my free Color Confusion Resolved resource sheet and I’ll show you what I mean.

For more on choosing your brand’s colors, dive in to the articles on this business color resource page.

Color theory, Big Brand System style

Still not sure how to get started picking colors for your business? Here are some general guidelines:

  • Light, bright, pale = energetic, friendly, open
  • Dark, saturated = intense, corporate, serious
  • Bright, intense = high energy, powerful
  • Pure = child-like, unaffected, trustworthy
  • Grayed-down = low-key, neutral, non-threatening

Question of the week

Do you agree with these interpretations? I’d love to hear from you. Response to color varies by your culture, gender and history. Do certain hues evoke a specific response in you? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

Harness the power of color to brand your business

Brilliant Brand Color
Brilliant Brand Color doesn’t just show you how to choose your brand colors, you’ll understand how to use them, too. It’s a complete system for building color confidence.

Get the Brilliant Brand Color Guide

Pamela Wilson

Pamela Wilson

Pamela Wilson coaches people to build profitable online businesses. She's an online educator, author, and keynote speaker. Read reviews of the tools used to run this site and business. Have you taken the free Focus Finder quiz yet?

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4 thoughts on “Are Your Brand Colors Scannable?”

  1. Pam – Another great article about color for your brand. You’ve made a difficult subject for me much easier.

    I agree with your choice of types of colors for different businesses.

    It reminds me of car brands, and how different brands want to appeal to market segments. Will Volvo ever make a “bright” color car? 😉
    Darlene Cary

    • That’s a good point! The Volvo brand is appealing to a very specific segment of the market, so candy apple red with pin stripes is probably not on the drawing board … 🙂

  2. Pamela,

    This is a really interesting post. I gave a lot of thought to the colors I chose for my Firmology logo and website fonts, but it never occurred to me that there was a science behind choosing a color. I just went with my gut-instinct on what I thought my colors symbolized.

    To understand my logic on the colors I chose, here’s how I made up the name Firmology:
    Firmology defined: the study of business
    Firm [noun] a company or business
    Ology [suffix] the study of (a particular subject)

    Dark green: I chose dark green because I felt that it symbolized money, business and success. It’s also my favorite color and the color of my eyes, so it felt right to incorporate this color into my business logo and site. The impact-type font is meant to convey strength and perseverance.

    Grey: The grey halo alludes to “ology” and provides a feeling of innovation, continuity and security. Notice how the halo wraps around the word “Firm” and the grey accent on the “G” ties everything together.

    Even though my colors don’t follow your color wheel sheet guidelines, they do follow your color theory guidelines mentioned above. Dark green conveys professionalism, while grey not only complements the dark green, but also provides a feeling of approach-ability.

    Now that I wrote all this out, I might just put up an explanation on my about us page!


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