The DNA of a branding color palette


Design Tips & Resources



While the look and feel of the color palette for your brand is going to be dictated by your style, personality, and industry, the genetic makeup of it will not be unique to you or your brand.

At least it shouldn’t be.

Don’t worry though, my lil unicorn, that doesn’t mean you have to bleed the same rainbow as anyone else, it just means that there’s a genetic structure you want to preserve, to ensure your color palette has unf*ckwithable genes.

In the first part in this series, I showed you the 5 types of branding color palettes that reign supreme and exactly how each of them works.

In this second installment, I’m going to dissect the DNA of a agency quality brand color palette, so you understand exactly what versatility you need in yours.

A branding color palette can be divided into 4 sections, each one fulfilling a VERY specific purpose, so let’s run through those in the order you should define them.

As we go through each section, I’m going to give you an example, courtesy of my clients, The Over 50 Roadmap, so you can see a real world brand palette in action. At the end of the post I’ll show you a side by side of their palette + their website homepage, so you can see it all in one glance.

1. Website Backgrounds and Text Colors

Let’s get the least visionary section out of the way first, because I know your unicorn veins run thick with creativity and this category is not where you need to use much of that.

The first two colors you need to define for your brand color palette are for the backgrounds and text on your website. These colors should be as far on the intensity scale of color (which I show you in the 3rd partof this series) as you can get away with. Meaning, as close to pure black and pure white as will fit with your brand identity.

Readability is of the utmost importance here, which is why I want you to keep it basic on these two “colors” (you’ll understand the quotes in just a minute).

Let me make these two a no brainer for you.

Your options for the dark color are:

  • Black
  • Dark Grey
  • Navy Blue
  • Dark Brown

Choose whichever option blends best with the color palette you’ve chosen and the overall style of your brand identity.

Your options for the light color are:

  • White

Yep, that’s it, JUST white.

Unless you want to time travel back to the early 2000’s when colored backgrounds on websites were all the rage, I highly recommend you stick to white.

The white is not going to physically wash out the rest of unicorn fabulous color palette (in case that’s what you were thinking), it’s simply priming your palette for maximum usability.

2. Iconic Brand Color

The next color you’ll need for your palette is an iconic brand color, which is the color that will be most widely associated with your brand. In other words, when people see this color, they know you’re behind the content without ever having to read a word. THAT’S brand recognition, baby!

This color will be the dominate color used across your visuals; including your logo, your images, and your website, so this color HAS TO capture the essence of your brand.

If you’ve chosen a triad brand color palette (which is 1 of the 5 types of color palettes that reign supreme that I showed you in the (first part in this series) this will be the main color we talked about, so you’ll want to build your palette around this color.

Regardless of what type of color palette you chose though, make sure you’re sticking to the specific relationships that exist on the color wheel. Those relationships are what make those palettes reign supreme, so it’d be pretty bonehead to mess with perfection.

3. Action Color

Next up, you’re going to need an action color, which will be used for all action elements, like your buttons, links, and calls to actions.

By reserving this color for those elements ONLY you’ll increase the potency of those elements. In other words, that shit will be POPPIN, like ‘look at me!’ without you having to scream it.

Quickly your readers and fan’s eyeballs will be primed for that color. Their eyes will naturally be drawn to it, like a moth to a light, which is the first step in getting them to take the action, right?

First, they must see the button (link, CTA, etc.), THEN they can click that sumabitch.

When it comes to your action color, make sure it pairs smashingly (very technical term here) well with your iconic color, because more often than not those will be the two colors paired together.

4. Accent Colors

The last section of your brand color palette is reserved for your accent colors (which you should have 1-3 of), which are the colors you’ll use to interrupt your dominate + action color pairing, when you want to accentuate or highlight something special.

There are endless ways to use your accent colors, but here are just two of my favorites…


Assign each of your accent colors to a specific type of content, topic or product. For instance, all of your podcast episode visuals use one accent color, and all of your opt-in offers use another.

Color coding your content like this will help your readers and fans spot new content that hits the spot when they’re on social media. If they love your podcast and they know those visuals are always red, when they see that red pop up in their feed they’re going to be much more likely to scroll pause and get their click on.

This is also great for creating super clear content paths on your website. Kinda like follow the yellow brick road, only with the color of your choosing.

Yeah, baby!


Accent colors are great for creating a signature style for your featured images too.

You can create a tricolor gradient overlay, OR alternate your accent colors as a solid backgrounds in your images.

The latter option will save you a fuck ton of time scouring for stock photos or patterns to use as the background of your images.

That alone is reason enough to consider it!

However you use your accent colors, make sure, like the rest of the colors in your palette, that they fit into the theme of the palette you’ve chosen. That means, if you’ve chosen a monochromatic color palette (which I showed you in the first part in this series) then your accent colors will be tints and shades of your chosen color.



Wrap Up

If you follow this DNA profile (which is why it’s here), you’ll end up with a color palette for your brand that’s loaded with 5-7 colors.

Colors that you’ll know EXACTLY how and when to use, which will help you build copious amounts of brand recognition.

Now that you know all about the 5 types of color palettes that reign supreme, which we covered in the first part of this series, and the DNA makeup you want to model your palette after, it’s time to get busy building your palette out.

In the 3rd and last part in this series I’m going to show you 3 ways to create your fail proof color palette, so you can get that shit crossed off your to do list this week and start putting it to good use.

Resources: www.thebrandedsolopreneur.com

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