Color palettes unify, strengthen a brand’s image
Your colors—whether used in a logo, brochure or website—are part of your company’s brand.
Colors can make people feel hungry or sated, happy or sad. People bring individual experiences to the meaning of colors, too. For fun examples, watch this video of your peers sharing favorite colors. Once you pick your brand’s set of colors, tie those colors into all of the materials produced throughout the year.
Less is more
How many colors should your brand’s color palette include? Follow the rule of thumb designers follow for fonts; stick to two or three colors for consistency.
Unsuccessful designs may use five or six different fonts. There is no consistency, which can make the creative feel unprofessional and disjointed. You can use more than one font, but do it thoughtfully. When using contrasting fonts, have a clear purpose in mind to draw attention to a key word or phrase.
The same guideline can be used for color. Pick a primary color, then add a color or two that complement or contrast the primary color. Use those colors when you want to draw attention to something.
Remember, less is more. It’s nice to have font and color options when designing for your utility, but you do not need to use all of your options all of the time.
Ruralite Services’ member colors are mainly navy blues and forest greens. There are few pastels or neon colors used. For the most part, utilities opt for safe, traditional colors. But as we work to connect with younger consumers, we should consider colors that resonate with a younger crowd, too.
Consumers Power’s combination of blue and orange is nice and bright. It’s a good example of a fresh color palette. The colors pair well on the logo. The website plays the colors off each other, and some magazine pages use the colors to draw attention to headlines.
Umatilla Electric’s logo is another fun example of a bright, friendly color palette. The utility uses one primary color—a bright blue—on their logo and website. A lighter shade of the color is used on the back of the magazine, complementing the primary color.
Be Color Blind, Too
Not all communications are in color (forms, for example), and some utilities do not use color regularly on their magazine pages.
Although powerful, always remember design does not start with color. Some people are so tied to color that it blinds them to the actual design. Color can be a distraction in the early stages of designing a logo or other graphic.
Working on a design? See what it looks like in black and white, first. An easy way to test a design’s strength is to use a photocopier to make a black and white copy of your work. See how the bones of the design or layout—not the color—stand out.