A color palette is one of the essential elements of your blog brand. Using consistent colors in your blog design, your post images, graphics and even your social media posts and covers is going to help create a memorable brand.
In my epic How to Brand Your Blog post, one of the steps in building your blog brand is to design a color palette. This step comes after discovering your Brand Personality through a series or questions and creating a brand mood board.
Your mood board is used to create your color palette by selecting colors from your inspiration images.
But how do you know how many colors to pick? What kinds of colors should you select (bright, bold, neutral, etc)?
In this post, I’ll dig deeper into the process of picking a color palette for your blog.
I’ll assume you’ve got a brand mood board created or that you’re going to create one to choose your colors from. But…you could pick a color combination without a mood board. (But why miss out on the fun of using Pinterest to create a mood board? Why?!)
A Little Color Theory
We often relate colors to emotions. Green for jealousy, pink or red for passion and love, and blue for sadness. So, you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that color theory delves into the feelings that colors invoke.
I’m quickly going to cover what kind of feeling each major color is known to stimulate in viewers. Depending on your brand personality, you may want to pick a certain color for the emotion it can engender in your visitors.
Red is a stimulating and lively color. It can also be viewed as demanding, powerful, or intense. Red is associated with love and passion as well as warmth and comfort.
Red is a great color for Calls to Action like buttons, etc. It is a good color to use as an accent and sparingly.
Blue is often associated with stability, trust, and responsibility.
Have you noticed that financial and medical institutions often use blue in their brand colors? Ever wondered why? Now you know!
A quiet color, blue is also considered calm and peaceful. Blue is a great branding color for health-related brands as well as when you want to convey a brand personality of trustworthiness or stability.
The color of sunshine is considered a joyful, energetic color. It conveys energy and enthusiasm.
When paired with other bright colors, yellow is a great way to convey a happy, energetic brand.
This all-natural color is the color of harmony and balance. But it can also represent growth and money.
Green is often used by brands related to natural products, health care or psychology.
Like red, orange is a strong, warm color. But orange conveys confidence, success, and courage. It is also considered a friendly, energetic color.
Orange is another great color for CTAs and accents as too much of this bold color can overwhelm.
Violet has long been the color of royalty. The rich hues of the purple family indicate luxury, wealth, ambition and nobility.
Another great color for accents and CTAs.
Though really a variation of red, pink invokes its own special group of emotions in viewers. Pink is seen as feminine, sweet and compassionate.
OK, Now that you understand the feelings evoked many of the popular colors, let’s talk about how to pick colors for your blog.
How many colors should your blog color palette include?
You’ll want to choose 4 – 6 colors maximum.
Black and white don’t count unless they are going to be predominant in your theme (menu background, sidebar title backgrounds, etc.).
My color scheme actually uses 9 colors (counting black because our primary logo is plain black). BUT 3 of those colors are variations on one of the main colors. i.e. 2 shades of yellow from the same family and 2 shade of pink from the same family plus 2 shade of blue-green from the same family. The other 2 colors are neutrals used mainly as backgrounds.
Anyway, for simplicity’s sake, stick with 4 – 6 colors.
Let’s break it down: Main, Accent & Neutral Colors
1 – 3 Main Colors
These colors will be used for 70% of your branding.
These colors will be used for backgrounds, patterns, textures, graphics, imagery, logos, headings and more.
1 – 2 Accent (Pop) Colors
These colors will be used sparingly to accent important information.
This color should be reserved for things like CTA buttons, very important text, social icons you want to highlight, etc.
Don’t go overboard with your accent color or it will lose its power to draw your visitors’ attention.
Your Accent Color doesn’t necessarily need to be a bright color. It could also be a metallic shade like gold. Or a juxtaposed color versus the rest of your scheme. If your color scheme is mainly warm shades of red, yellow and orange, you could use a green accent color that would really stand out.
1 – 2 Neutral Colors
These colors will be used for body text, backgrounds and throughout your website and branding. Black and white are neutral colors along with grays, browns, and tans.
Break it Down a Bit More: Dark, Light, Contrast & Neutral Colors
So, let’s get even more specific.
You should choose:
- 2 dark colors
- 2 light colors
- 1 bold/contrast color
- 1 neutral color
One of your dark or light colors can also serve as a neutral color. Again, neutral colors include shades of black, gray, brown, tan, etc.
A contrast color is generally a color from the opposite side of the color wheel. For example, green and purple are contrasting colors or orange and green.
How to Grab Colors from a Mood Board
Photoshop has an excellent Eyedropper tool that you can use to pick colors from your inspiration images within your mood board. You can then get the color Hex # and CMYK from the color palette box.
You can also check out these online color palette tools:
And check out my Pinterest board dedicated to Blog Color Schemes:
I’ve put together a few color schemes for you to check out as examples.
Now that you understand that colors aren’t just about being “pretty”, that they also convey feeling and personality, you will better be able to pick a color scheme that matches your Brand Personality.
You’ll notice some of these palettes follow the color patterns above while others don’t. Remember the patterns are just guidelines and not hard and fast rules. These 10 palettes will give you an idea of how different palettes that fit the patterns can work and how sometimes, breaking the ‘rules’ works tool.
You can download a full-size version of the color schemes graphic in the Resource Library for a closer viewing.
Sum It All Up
I hope this short and sweet intro to color theory as well as defined tips for picking out your blog color scheme has helped you on your way to designing a brilliant brand for your blog!
Be sure to check out The Blog Style Guide Workbook to define your Brand Personality and helpful tips for creating your inspirational mood board. A Color Palette Planner is also included in the workbook to help you plot your color design scheme.
And don’t miss the free Mood Board templates (4) for Photoshop in the Resource Library. If you’re not already a subscriber, just add your name and email below and you get immediate access to all the goodies in the Library.