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  • Jenny Woldt

Utilizing the Concepts in the Color Wheel to Elevate Your Branding

6 color wheels demonstrating monochromatic, dual complementary, tetradic, triadic, similar. and complementary colors.

The color wheel should be used as a starting point for your design or branding. There are many color theory concepts to utilize in the color wheel to elevate your branding.


Color wheels can make the job of the graphic designer or marketing director a little easier when determining a set of branding colors for a company. It is important to have a beautiful selection of colors. These will enhance your marketing pieces and give them all a cohesive look and feel that becomes your brand. You want these colors to convey a mood or feeling about your product. You can research color theory to figure out which colors convey which ideas to your customers.


You will also need to think about all the various mediums and places that you'll be promoting your product. For example, what if you only have 1 color option, or 2 color option? Which colors will you use that keep your brand on point? What if the project calls for several colors? Do you have enough brand colors for a colorful design? Once you establish this list, protect it and make sure that everyone in your company, ad agency and other marketing outlets are sticking to these branded colors.

We usually start with the color that our client is using in their logo. We create a couple of monochromatic options. This way if we are designing a one or two color only piece, We have variations with that one color that will work well with both black and white type.


Creating a palette of complimentary colors is important for when you want to have colorful designs that still fit into your branding. Complimentary colors are any two colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. They are high contrast to each other. Some classic examples of these are blue and orange and green and red. Using a couple of complimentary colors for your branding gives you well-rounded colors that you can use to make elements stand out in your design.


Dual complimentary colors take two colors that are close to each other on the color wheel and pairs them with one or two colors that are on the opposite side of the color wheel from them. This is a beautiful way to create a four-hue palette for your client.


Once you have established the base of colors you will be working with, then you can play with the saturation of these colors. Looking at the pastel, vibrant, muted, natural, intense, or rich variations on these colors and establish which ones work with best with the logo and mood of the company.


We generally like to establish 6 primary colors for our clients’ brands. This gives us plenty to work with in designing their pieces. This also helps to keep things fresh as you have a fair number of colors to choose from. When we provide these final colors to the client we provide the PMS, CYMK, RGB and HEX codes. This way they can use their branded colors across all platforms and have the colors always appear very similar.

Make sure to keep a color index or color wheel around your desk. It can provide inspiration for your future projects!


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