Colours For Your Brand – A Guide

slanted pencil crayons over watercolour cosmos flower pink band with text a guid colours for your brand


Before we get to colours that will help us build our brand identity, we need to understand our values.

We are surrounded by colour every day as far as the human eye can see; there is colour. It follows us in anything we do and everywhere we go.

And these colours often underpin our values.

But how do we decide what we value?

A Value Exercise

We start by identifying our personal values. What principles and beliefs are most important to us? What do we want your brand to represent?

That’s where this comprehensive list of values comes in.

Go through them and write down what you would consider to be your personal and brand values.

I suggest you pick 3, or at the most 4, that hold great value to you.

You may find that your personal and business values overlap – that’s absolutely perfect.

Reflect on what these mean to you.

This brings us to just how important is it to have the right colours for your business, now that we know the values that drive us.

Colour Psychology

Did you know that colour psychology goes back thousands of years to the Egyptians? They studied colour’s effect on mood and used colour to accomplish holistic benefits.

Colours go in and out of style, exactly the same with certain design trends. Have you noticed these changes?

In the 1970s, earth tones were popular, then gave way in the 80s to turquoise and mauve.

Later still saw the appearance of pinks and blue greys.

Consumers can make up their minds about a product in a rapid-fire 90 seconds and approximately 62-90% of the assessment is based on the colours.

Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of Pantone Color Institute

This is not lost on brand managers and advertisers. They know certain colours, tints, hues, and shades evoke emotions and will move people to action. This effect is both subtle and powerful.

And when you’re doing your own Canva designs or have them done for you, knowing what your dream client wants to see should make the biggest decision in picking your brand colours.

Culture Awareness with Colour Decisions

Be very aware of the meanings of colours in different cultures …

Let’s take the colour red for instance.

Here’s a teeny tiny list of what some cultures associate with the colour red:

  • Asian cultures associate the colour with good luck and prosperity
  • South Africans – particularly Zulu and Xhosa – associate red with mourning and death
  • Native American cultures associate red with spirituality, healing and life force
  • Indian culture associates red with bridal wear as it symbolizes purity, fertility and prosperity
  • Russian culture associates the colour red with communism (as of 2021)

Going back to South African associations … I’m a white South African woman and red to me does not mean mourning or death … so even within the South African society, there are various associations with the colour.

Why did I mention this here? Simply because it matters who your dream client is going to be; where they come from; and what the association is for that ONE person around that ONE colour you want to make your focal colour.

Not understanding the cultural meaning of colours can cause you to unintentionally offend different cultures. It can help you use it more effectively in the various forms of communication, INCLUDING your Canva* designs, marketing and branding.

Selecting the right colours for your brand is like choosing the perfect outfit for a first impression. Just as attire conveys your style, emotions, and personality, colours have the power to evoke the right emotions and communicate the essence of your brand to the world

a general statement reflecting the importance of colour choice in branding and design

Below is a block with some colours and characteristics. Keep in mind that the perception of colour and its characteristics can be subjective and influenced by (as mentioned) cultural and individual factors.


I can bet you that the colours I see on my screen differ to yours. Not only that, when printed they are even more different than you’d like to believe.

When you work with a branding expert they will know the differences between HEX, RGB, CMYK and PMS.

 For you, today, reading this, pick a colour that, when printed, looks closest to the colour you have on your screen. I’m saying this because you will need to ensure brand consistency throughout your printed as well as on-screen presence. More so though … you want to be recognised!

Build Your Colour Palette

Now that we have identified our values and have an idea of how to work our values and the colour characteristics, let’s build a colour palette.

Your colour palette should ideally consist of no less than 3 colours. The number of colours depends on the specific needs of your brand, but don’t have too many – it will just end up confusing you or at worst look chaotic.

You should have:

A primary colour: A professional colour palette typically starts with 2-4 primary colours. These are the core colours that represent your brand and its values. One of these will be your dominant or primary colour, while the others will serve as accents.

A secondary colour: To add depth and variety to your palette, you can include 1-2 secondary colours. These colours should harmonize with your primary colours and can be used for secondary elements such as buttons, headings, or backgrounds.

A neutral colour: In addition to primary and secondary colours, include 1-3 neutral colours. Neutral colours like whites, greys, or blacks provide balance and are often used for backgrounds, text, or borders.

I like using to generate, mix-and-match and tweak my colours. It is free to use, but be aware that the free version has limitations on what you can do within the platform.


In conclusion, the journey to building a strong and impactful brand identity begins with a deep understanding of your values and a conscious selection of colours that truly represent your message, speaking directly to your dream client. We live in a world awash with colour, and these hues often reflect the very values we hold dear.

Don’t be afraid to play, but don’t hesitate to call a halt when you are finding yourself going in circles.

At any point, test and refine what you’ve got. And DON’T be afraid to adapt over time. As you, your brand and your values evolve, so should you revisit your colour choices and make adjustments for continuous alignment.

Once you start sharing your own Canva designs on your social media, you may also need to consider your own discoverability with image SEO. I can assure you that search engine optimisation for visual content is as important as keywords are for the rest of your online presence. This is why I put together this download for you detailing what it is and how you can get the best out of your visual content in terms of discoverability.

At any time when you feel the need to hand it over, give me a holler on LinkedIn or Instagram or just schedule a block of my time so we can discuss what your needs are.

Together we can craft a starter guideline for your brand taking into consideration these colours and values you’ve just listed.

All the best and take care

Stephanie 🤍

*An affiliate link to Canva – sign up for a complimentary 30-day trial to the premium version.

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