Interactive

3 Reasons to Document Your Brand's Color Palette

Margaret Foster

April 28, 2021

Margaret Foster

April 28, 2021

Don’t let your color palette come back to haunt you.

 

You’ve done your due diligence when it comes to your branding. Chosen a primary color and a complementary palette to go along with it. Your chosen palette conveys the messaging of your brand, making your brand aggressive, for example, if you are trying to convey power or increase turnover in your restaurant, by using a bright red or conveying a quality of peace and tranquility if you want to convey relaxation or a sense of calm, for example, by using a soft blue color palette for your spa. But that’s only half the battle. Once you’ve chosen your brand’s color palette, you have to document your decisions and pass along that information to anyone who might need to use your branding in the many different production channels within which your brand operates. Why? A documented guide…

Keeps Everyone on the Same Page

The first reason is simple. Giving everyone a complete brand identity guideline for your brand, including your color palette, keeps everyone on the same page. You have worked hard to come up with your brand philosophy and know the reasoning behind your decisions. Explaining this to users of your brand at the outset helps invest them in your brand’s defense. Once explained, there is no question about what decisions were made or why they were made.

 

Keeps Your Brand Consistent

Depending on whether your materials are being used for the web in an RGB or Hex format or for printing in a spot color or four-color process format, there can be quite a few color shifts. Working through these pitfalls at the outset and making the hard decisions up front can save a lot of trouble and heartache down the line, not to mention money for reprints, more paper, etc.

 

For example, you may have chosen a bright royal blue, sometimes called Reflex Blue, for your brand color. This color is easy to explain to most people. Everyone likes blue. The color looks great on screens either used with a white background or a black background. It’s easy to order T-shirts as that is a common color that most vendors carry, there’s even a spot color called Reflex Blue that doesn’t even need a Pantone Matching System color chip to remember.

 

But, when it comes to four-color process printing, you and Reflex Blue are in deep trouble. The reason being, that most four-color presses tend to gain red during the process of printing. That easy Reflex Blue turns into a monster on the press and usually ends up turning a bit purple especially when viewed under fluorescent lighting. Most branding companies are aware of this sort of pitfall and plan for it by choosing a PMS color that is close to Reflex Blue but which takes some of the magenta out of the mix to solve this issue. Making sure your palette has been documented up front can keep this sort of thing from turning into an ongoing problem every time you’re on press.

 

Avoids Confusion

By making sure your color decisions are carried through consistently, you save time AND money. Quite often, for example, communications are sent out in four-color format but when the time to print is at hand, it turns out that it is more economical to print your envelopes or your letterhead in bulk in two color or spot color format. By providing your vendors with your color palette in advance, your vendor does not have to guess at which PMS color corresponds to your four-color process branding or spend valuable production time on communicating back and forth with you on your color decisions. Even with the convenience of web conversion tools, you would be amazed at the number of options there are when using this process. Valuable time is saved, which, in turn, saves you time and money down the line in avoiding rush shipping costs or time-consuming press checks.


Save yourself time and money by being up-front with your color palette choices. As we all know, the demon is in the details. Taking the guesswork out of color-matching will win you friends all the way down the line in your production process.

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