COLOUR COMMITMENTS

As a follow to last week's blog post, Colour Me Consistent, here are some more thoughts on colour development as it relates to brand building.

If you haven't yet chosen your colours for your brand, then I invite you to start researching colour palettes you like and be prepared to ditch the palette you have your heart set on. 

This is for two reasons. Firstly, most entrepreneurs gravitate towards colours that are already popular in their given industry, and that will end up making you look the same as your competition. Not cool. You want to stand out. The financial industry, for example, has a love affair with stuffy blues and gold, and the coaching world is currently all over hot pink and black. There is nothing wrong with these colours, of course, but resist that initial urge to look like everyone else. It may be that doing the exact opposite of what everyone else is doing is the right choice for you.

Secondly, you need to be open to ALL colours because surprise!, a magical colour combo you never considered may be the brand inspiration you need. No one was more shocked than me when I ended up choosing to use red in my branding for alanaruos.com. I am not a 'red person', I don't really wear red, and I don't often use it in my design work (sidebar: black and red is my least favourite colour combo ev-ah). But when I was experimenting with colours and the minty/tealy green you see on my site, the red just worked. It reminded me of mid-century modern dresses (not sure why), and I always love a cool colour paired with a warm colour. It is also a power colour, and since I was going to be talking about bravery and pushing through fears, it made sense. So red it is.

Now if you have already committed to a colour palette, and it is looking a little stale, fear not. You can always do a 'refresh'.

This means not totally changing your colour palette, but updating it. Colours do come in and out of style, and sometimes just changing the shade of the colour(s) can update your brand. For example, changing a lime green to a fresh grass green, or a burgundy to a lively cherry red. It is amazing what changing the shade of a colour can do. It still keeps your brand identity in tact - for the most part - but it will feel energized. Many corporate brands have done this including RBC, Sobeys and Walmart. Most of the time the colour changes are subtle and you wouldn't really notice. But unconsciously, you somehow know the brand feels 'fresh'.

So when is it the right time for a colour overhaul or a 'refresh'?

Well, here is when you don't do it - when you are bored with your colours.

Never, ever change your colour palette just because you are sick to death of looking at the same damn colours. I repeat - never!

Because you will ALWAYS get bored of your colours. As you should.

If you are bored with your colours means you are being consistent. It isn't about whether you, the business owner, are sick of seeing the same colours. It is about making sure your customer/client/buyer os easily associating specific colours with your brand. I explain more about this in my ebook Million Dollar Brands.

So don't change your colours when you are bored, but it might be the right time to change them if:

  • You change the focus of your company
  • You change the name of your company
  • Your original branding uses universally dated colours. And not in a cool hipster ironic way, but in a way that says "Hello, 80s? Why yes, my peach and teal branding is an homage to Miami Vice, how ever did you know?!"
  • It has been over 10yrs since you have updated your brand

And while I said you don't want to change your colours just because you are bored, there may be an inner voice that just says 'it is time'. Examine that inner voice and make sure it is coming from a real place of knowing, not from a place of fear or, better yet, from jealousy after seeing a competitor's gorrrrrrgeous new branding. Because while changing/updating your colours can definitely increase your marketing cred, it won't instantly make you to a million dollar brand. It is only one piece of the puzzle. But I will say, it is one FUN piece. So have fun with it.

To your brave success,
Alana

Photo: HAYSTAAK