The Science of Brand Colors: Why You Only Need a Few

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The Science of Brand Colors: Why You Only Need a Few


Color immediately speaks to our emotions. When it comes time to pick the colors of your brand, you don’t want to make the decision lightly. However, one overlooked factor about color choice might have slipped your mind: how many colors should you have? Keep reading to learn the answer.


The Optimal Color Palette

Sorry readers. You might be expecting a simple answer like two or five. Long story short, there is no definite number, but there is a risk when using too many colors. A lot of colors can be hard to manage and make the design look busy and distracting.

In a word, loud. And not in a good way. Generally, it’s better to have fewer colors than to have too many.

If you do a search on some of the top businesses, you’ll find that most are using two to three colors in their logo and brand. One easy hack to create a color scheme is by picking two primary colors and one accent color to stand out. Or another safe pick is to go with a triadic color scheme where it’s equally spaced around the color wheel. Having three colors hits that nice, sweet goldilocks spot, just right.


The 60-30-10 Rule

Once you’ve selected your colors, it’s important to know how often you should use these colors on your website, marketing materials, and other designs. The 60-30-10 rule is an old design rule that helps you divide how much you use each color. In this rule, the primary or neutral color should cover about 60% of the theme of the design. 30% should go to the secondary color and the accent color should be about 10% of the overall design.

Let’s look at the popular website Houzz as an example. When you look at their website you’ll quickly see a triadic color scheme: green, light gray, and black. The two neutral colors, grey and black, are used frequently throughout all the design elements on their website. Green is used sparingly to draw attention like on their call to action.


More Colors

It isn’t uncommon for a design to sometimes need more than three colors. For example, in high content web pages, brochures or other instances when you need to visually separate graphs, captions and icons, using multiple colors is a must. Instead of using a completely different color, use a shade or tint of the colors you already have. Tints are colors that are mixed with white to create a lighter color and shades are mixed with black to create a darker color. You can also create a tone when a color is mixed with grey to create a less saturated color.

Now that you know the right number of colors to use and when to use them, you’re one step closer to creating a memorable brand. Just remember to keep your color scheme simple and unique. Don’t forget to check out our color theory post about the meaning of colors.

Contact us if you need help with branding for your business.



-Stay Creative, The Juicers