colors

What Do Your Brand Colors Say About Your Business?

 
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The color palette that you ultimately choose for your business shouldn’t happen by chance.

There is a lot of psychology involved with the meanings of colors, so the right collection of swatches may make or break how a prospective client or customer perceives you when they come upon your website, scroll through your Instagram feed, hold your business card in their hand — and more. 

At first glance, colors evoke certain emotions. Not only do you want your color palette to express the style, personality, voice and values of your brand, but you also want it to speak to and attract the right audience to whatever it is that you’re selling. In order to attract that ideal audience, consider using colors that will resonate with them. 

First, think of colors within these two general categories:

  • Warm: red, orange, yellow

  • Cool: blue, green, purple

 Next, think about what each color within those two categories means:

  • Red: excitement, anger, energy, heat, loud, meant to grab attention.

  • Blue: corporate, professional, cool, peaceful, serenity, calmness.

  • Green: health, fresh, nature, environmental, growth.

  • Purple: bold, unique, royal, power.

  • Orange: similar to red, but on less of an “alert” or “anger” scale. More bright, fun, hopeful and positive.

  • Yellow: similar to orange. Youthful, happy, positive, cheerful.

Next, think about how certain colors pair with others, by taking some inspiration from the good, old-fashioned color wheel!

  • Complementary: These are two colors that are fall opposite each other on the wheel, think blue-yellow and red-green.

  • Analogous: These are three colors that fall next to each other on the wheel, think blue/blue-green/green.

  • Triadic: These are three colors that are spaced out like a triangle on the wheel — think purple, orange and green.

Your color palette should be like a puzzle, where the pieces fit together just right. Consider the psychology behind each one that you’re using and let it help you to create a strong combination. 

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4 tips for choosing colors for your brand

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Do you ever struggle with choosing just the right combination of colors for your brand, a client’s brand or an individual design project? There are literally countless colors that exist, in different shades and tints. Even just increasing the darkness or lightness of a particular color can change how it looks within a design, entirely.

How many should you even use? 2? 6? How do you piece together what works and what doesn’t? What do certain colors mean?

There is a ton of psychology involved with colors — and they alone play a huge role in your branding or any design project — because a palette is one of the aspects that someone remembers the most. It hits on certain heartstrings, can alter a mood and evoke a specific emotion, like happiness or anger. It can really set the overall tone for a design — like a logo, a website or a poster.  

Today, I want to break down how to even begin in general when it comes to pairing a collection of colors together, to create a palette that looks really professional, attractive and timeless. It’s important to note that I’ve even seen lovely and successful brands that just use black and white. The secret is in simplicity, using colors that are visually-pleasing and therefore, memorable — along with considering emotions associated with individual colors.

  1. Decide on 2-4 colors — It’s easy to get very overwhelmed when looking at all of the different colors that the world offers us. If you’re just starting out, stick with planning to choose a minimum of 2 or a maximum of 4 colors. For example, I’m sure that Target uses other colors within their official brand standards, but I (as a consumer) only think of two specific ones — red and white. And remember, you can always add more to your palette later, or if it’s for a brand, you can create a secondary palette that can be used in special circumstances. Extra pops of accent colors can always enhance a brand.

  2. Consider your audience — Different people may feel differently about certain colors, but overall, there is a general science behind most colors. Keep in mind who you are communicating to or trying to reach. If it’s an entirely male-dominated demographic, you might not want to use pink and purple, as they tend to give off more of a “feminine” vibe, but you might try using a mix of blues, greens and greys. If your audience is something related to children (like a school program) you could play with colors that are more youthful and exude a fun, bright and youthful flair. If your audience is professionals in the wedding industry or brides, you could consider colors that are softer or more pastel-based — over ones that are bolder and harsher. These are just general tips to follow — of course, men can like pink and some brides use darker and moodier colors for their weddings. To each their own!

  3. Consider emotion. On the other side of that same psychology coin, it’s important to think about how certain colors will evoke emotions, within a particular group of people. Colors have universal and basic associations to specific feelings, moods, thoughts and are big stimulants. The below descriptions might seem simple enough, but they’re crucial to remember. Again, think about not only WHO you are trying to attract, but also HOW your brand or design might make them feel, when they respond to seeing colors. Below is just a quick breakdown of a few, to illustrate what I mean:   

    • Red: excitement, anger, energy, heat, loud, meant to grab attention.

    • Blue: corporate, professional, cool, peaceful, serenity, calmness.

    • Green: health, fresh, nature, environmental, growth.

    • Purple: bold, unique, royal, power.

    • Orange: similar to red, but on less of an “alert” or “anger” scale. More bright, fun, hopeful and positive.

    • Yellow: similar to orange. Youthful, happy, positive, cheerful.

  4. Use online resources — I personally like finding inspiration in everyday things or out in nature. I even like going “old school” and taking a look at the Color Wheel to consider colors that are analogous, complementary, monochromatic and more. However, in the essence of time, it can also be quicker and easier to use a few handy websites that will automatically generate palettes for you. These are important when creating a few, so that you can compare them all and see what colors you like together and which ones that you don’t. Here are a few of my favorite online tools to use:

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5 steps for designing your visual brand

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Have you ever wondered how a visual brand identity comes together, from concept to completion? From finding inspiration for the brand itself, to the first sketches and drafts of logos, to piecing together just the right combinations of colors and fonts, to creating the secondary logos, icons and assets that get used on a website, social media graphics, slide decks, printed materials and more?  

It can be a challenge to know when and how to start the design process in an orderly way that allows certain ideas and concepts to naturally develop, evolve and flow from one step of the process to the next. A lot of time, revising, refining and hard work goes into a visual brand that will look professional, be relevant and stick around for a while, but the framework can still be simply broken down in ways that are easy to implement and execute.

I have refined my design process over the years and nowadays, there is a simple, 5-step framework that I follow each and every time someone signs on to work with me. This way, my workflow is consistent and systemized — and I can give someone the same quality process over and over. Follow these for yourself and discover the amazing results.


1) Create a Mood Board: I go through a "brand personality assessment" with the client to nail down the style, vibes and emotion behind the brand — that then translates into a mood board that sets the tone for the brand "at a glance." The mood board is a collage of imagery (that consists of photos, colors, textures, patterns, icons, quotes, etc.) and it's digitally-generated. Only meant to serve as inspiration for the overall visual identity that will soon be built.
   
2) Design Logo Concepts: While many designers take the "1 concept" approach and maybe I'll be brave enough to try that one day, I personally like to give my clients a variety to choose from. Sometimes this is 4, even up to 6 — if I'm feeling really inspired and creative. We go through revisions + tweaks until we have a final design that is "the one." If we already have a set color palette to work with, then I design using those colors and format the final logo files in the proper sizes, formats, resolutions + color systems. If we need to explore palettes a bit more, then I will design the concepts in black and white for the moment. This way, the focus is really on the design and clients aren't as distracted by the initial color drafts.
    
3) Choose Colors + Find Fonts: Next, we move onto exploring different color palettes and font pairings. If particular fonts used in the logo happen to work for the regular brand fonts (to be used across the board of various materials and graphics) then we roll with those. As long as there are serif + sans serif options. If we used a more decorative, handwritten or unique typeface in the logo, then I offer a mix of font pairings that I think will complement the brand and the client can choose which ones they like the best. Usually, a client will have a general idea of the colors that they like, so I will keep those in mind and generate 3-5 palettes that reflect those. Sometimes, if necessary, I will throw in a "wildcard" — just to give them something different to consider that they otherwise wouldn't have and to compare others back to.    

4) Build the Brand Assets: Here is the fun part! Now that we have a beautiful logo, colors and fonts all solidified, we get to build out the rest of the brand identity! This includes whatever assets are needed. I will create anything from textures and patterns, to a secondary logo to an icon library — it just depends on what the client plans to use for their collateral, website, etc. I then piece it all together and design a brand board. This is a single display of all of the assets organized and how they can work together, to give a quick preview of the entire identity. It's helpful to share with other client partners, vendors, printers, etc. so that the brand visuals stay intact and are used cohesively and consistently across various platforms.

5) Apply the New Brand in Real Life: Now that we have the entire visual brand created, it's time to "apply it in real life." Through the creation of social media graphics, business cards, PDFs, a website and more — it's important that the same elements are used over and over — to again, ensure consistent and professional applications of the brand. Whether someone experiences you online or offline, through your blog, a podcast, a sales page, etc. — they should always see the same identity. I always refer to Starbucks as having an obvious strong brand awareness — whether you walk into a shop, use a gift card, visit their website or follow them on Instagram, you will always have the same visual experience. The same should be true of any professional brand!

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6 color palettes for spring

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It’s sure been chilly and muddy here in southern Indiana for the last month, but the sun has finally decided to come out and show its shiny face the last few days. Alas, spring is just around the corner — I can feel it!

To celebrate bluer skies and warmer temps, I’ve been inspired to create a few go-to color palettes that are perfect for some fun designs, with the help of Coolers. If you haven’t checked it out yet, it’s a great website that allows you to quickly generate palettes. Whether you’re a bolder/brighter kind of person, you like the fresh and clean look and feel, or you prefer the traditional “Easter egg” pastels, there is a collection of swatches below, just for you.

Feel free to use any (or a mix) of these for your own branding (if you like any of these color combos year round) or for a special spring project! Share this post with your fellow small business bosses and friends. And, be sure to tag @untethereddesign on Instagram so that I can see your designs using my color palette(s)!

Whether you’re using these for print or digital platforms, or a website/blog, I’ve provided the specific Hex codes for easy and quick references to start. If you like a particular color, enter the Hex code (#xxxxxx) at Color-Hex, a website that will generate the other color codes (CMYK, RGB, etc.) for you. Just type in the code at the top and click “Get Info.” Voila! And, in case you need to remember the differences between each color system and when/where you need to properly use them, refer back to one of my latest posts that gives the exact breakdown!

Happy Designing (& Spring!)

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SPRING PALETTE 1

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SPRING PALETTE 2

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SPRING PALETTE 3

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SPRING PALETTE 4

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SPRING PALETTE 5

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SPRING PALETTE 6

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Branding 101 - Free Downloadable Guide
If you’re not a design professional, branding might be something that you don’t love to do for your business or you simply don’t have time for, so let someone else take over! Sign-up below to receive the link to download my new and free PDF tool “Branding 101: What it is, what it isn’t and why you need it” — right now! This quick and simple guide will walk you through why it’s important to establish consistent and memorable branding within your biz — and if you can DIY some of it or if you should hire that professional. If you have any questions after going through it, let’s connect and chat some more! 

7 creative resources for non-designers

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Whether you’re a small business owner still DIY-ing your branding and visuals, or you’re a professional designer (like me) — it’s important to have go-to creative resources online that you regularly visit. You might be needing to look for new fonts, piece together a new color palette, design some simple illustrations or icons for your website or need new, strong photos to use within your blog and social media graphics. Or, you might simply hit a wall from time to time and need to download some new templates and find inspiration for your designs.

Below is a quick-hit list of (just a few of) my favorite sites that I constantly defer to when I’m working on a new brand for a client or even my own business development graphics. Leave a comment and let me know what a few of yours are as well, if they’re not listed here, so that I can check ‘em out!

Creative Market: This is absolutely one of the best online resources for design! You can find and purchase anything that you need — from fonts, to vector illustrations, stock photos, textures, patterns — and beyond. They also email featured freebies that you can download (which I do often! Gotta love a free font that comes with a commercial license or some new vector watercolor splashes!) They even offer templates for flyers, brochures, social media graphics, business cards, logos and more. Buy from one of their package options and stay stocked up on your credits, so that you can quickly download what you need, when you need it! (I know that I do.)

FontSquirrel + DaFont: As mentioned in my recent blog post about free + premium fonts, free font sites provide fonts that are free for personal use and often have limited licenses that you must consider. You might be able to use some that have commercial licenses and are still free, but make sure to check first!

FontSquirrel advertises itself as being 100% free for commercial use.

A site like DaFont offers plenty of free fonts (but mainly for personal use) and encourage you to donate to the font designer. Oftentimes, I like to peruse fonts that I want to use for a client job — and experiment with a few. But, once I find the right font, I either find the link to the designer’s site to purchase it OR find a provided link that connects to creative resource sites like Creative Market or Design Cuts, where you can also purchase a commercial license for the font — and that might run anywhere from $12-30. Although other typefaces can cost much more, I like finding these types of fonts that are more affordable and that I know I am legally “OK” using. But again, if you’re using a font for fun or with a personal project (that isn’t classified as “commercial”) then certainly play with free fonts! There are countless collections on these two sites alone, ranging from handwritten/cursive, to holiday-themed, to retro and more!

Pexels.com + Unsplash.com: According to the Pexels website: “It's hard to understand complex licenses. That is why all photos on Pexels are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. This means that the pictures are completely free to be used for any legal purpose. The pictures are free for personal and even for commercial use. You can modify, copy and distribute the photos. All without asking for permission or setting a link to the source. So, attribution is not required.”

The same applies to Unsplash.com. There are many photos that crossover between the two sites, because they are so similar. I use these sites because the stock photos are beautiful, sleek and artistic. They are not like what you will find on iStock or Shutterstock that are a bit generic — and that everyone has used at one time or another. The best part, they are 100%, totally free to use!

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Canva: By now, I’m sure that you’ve heard of or are using Canva for creating graphics, especially if you’re DIY-ing your designs. I used to not be super crazy about this platform, as I felt that it made “everyone a designer” but now, I see its importance as I help to serve small business owners who are creating their own graphics, until they have a budget to work with a professional designer. I’m actually planning to setup and share an account with my social media strategist, so that we can quickly create and access graphics together. I currently design my brand images in Photoshop, so this will help to free up some space on my computer and allow me to be more efficient with the constant creation of small + simple graphics. (And, I can still use my brand + stock photos, fonts + colors, so that my graphics look just as professional as before.) With that said, Canva is great when it comes to creating a template for anything imaginable — posters, flyers, social media graphics, cards and more. And, it uses a drag-and-drop format, which makes it user-friendly and pretty intuitive to pick up on.

Colour Lovers: This is a handy site for browsing and creating color palettes, shapes and patterns. It also provides you with the RGB, CMYK and HEX codes, so that you can use the exact swatches in your designs. If you’re not sure what the color modes that I just mentioned mean, reference this post that I just wrote last week about color systems!

I like to use this website when I’m experimenting with colors for a logo or creating the official palette for a client’s brand. I like to see what works well together and what doesn’t and file/save away different collections and themes. Even if I don’t end up using a particular palette for the current project that I’m working on, I might use it for another one in the future!

With this list of resources, you should be equipped with some solid, go-to sites for discovering fonts, downloading graphic templates and photos, designing your own graphics and creating color palettes. Happy designing!


Branding 101 - Free Downloadable Guide
If you’re not a design professional, branding might be something that you don’t love to do for your business or you simply don’t have time for, so let someone else take over! Sign-up below to receive the link to download my new and free PDF tool “Branding 101: What it is, what it isn’t and why you need it” — right now! This quick and simple guide will walk you through why it’s important to establish consistent and memorable branding within your biz — and if you can DIY some of it or if you should hire that professional. If you have any questions after going through it, let’s connect and chat some more! 

4 color systems that every brand should use

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If you’re a small business owner DIY-ing your visual branding (your logo, website, business cards, social media graphics and more) or if you’re working with (or have worked) with a professional designer, it’s important to be familiar with some “designer lingo” from time to time. Have you ever heard someone reference “RGB” or “Hexadecimal” before and wondered, “what the heck is that?” You’re not alone. When it comes to design, understanding how colors work and effect a design in many ways is crucial. And, understanding that you need to design within specific color modes within specific platforms, in order for your design to be of the best quality and setup professionally, is even more crucial.

The short and sweet of it is this — you must design using a different color system for print than you do for digital. If you’re preparing files to send to a printer (let’s say, your business cards, a brochure, or a banner) they will need to be “CMYK-compatible” for best results. Or, if you’re developing your website or designing a graphic for your blog or Instagram (images that will only be viewed on a screen, digitally) you’ll need to use the “RGB” format or even a “hexadecimal” code.

Are you still confused?

That’s OK. Let me break it down for you! After all, I’m all about keeping things as simple as possible. Keep this information handy the next time that you’re creating on-brand graphics or working with your designer. (They will appreciate you knowing these things!)

RGB stands for red, green, and blue, which are the three additive primary colors. We use this system when designing something to be displayed digitally (think websites and social media graphics), but not to be printed.

CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and black. This system is used in 4-color print processing, as these four are the standard inks for producing colors. When a file is sent to print, it must be setup in CMYK mode.

PMS: The Pantone Matching System is a universal color matching system, also used in printing. Pantone colors are specific swatches that are already pre-mixed. So, if you use these colors in your design, they’ll print the same every time. This is important when you’re dealing with brand colors that need to be exact. A CMYK-based blue might print lighter or darker depending on the printer, but a Pantone-based blue should print the same from one printer to the next.

Hexadecimal: I’ve never been a math whiz, so this one can be a little tricky. Although I don’t even (always) understand how the numbers work, this is a color code that you can use when developing a website and when you’re utilizing HTML or CSS code. Within this color system, digits (in pairs) indicate the red, green and blue components in the RGB system, mentioned above. The code uses sixteen distinct symbols and when working within CSS, the symbols “0–9” represent values zero to nine, while “A, B, C, D, E, F” represent values ten to fifteen.

So, you can represent 16 values with one hexadecimal. And, with two hexadecimals, you can represent 16x16 values (which = 256 values.)

RBG looks like this: R=0-255,G=0-255,B=0-255

So, 3 pairs of Hexadecimal symbols are used.

For example: Hexadecimal code: #fefafd is RGB: 254,250,253.

Why? Because: fe=254 (which is red), fa=250 (which is green) and fd=253 (which is blue.)

(Again, don’t stress too much about this one. It’s handy when working with a web developer, but I think it’s important to understand RGB first. If you’re formatting a DIY website, you can often enter the RGB code for one of your colors and it will also display the Hexadecimal code, so you can just copy/paste it to use it elsewhere, if need be. That’s what I do!)

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Now that you have a little better understanding of when and why to use RGB, CMYK, PMS and Hexadecimal color systems within print + digital platforms, you might be wondering HOW to make sure that you have the systems “turned on” and correctly in use. I’m going to breakdown how to set this up in Adobe InDesign + Photoshop (the programs that you should be using to either design materials for print or digital platforms.)

Adobe InDesign: First, use this program for anything that you need to lay out and that will be printed (again, business cards, postcards, annual reports, booklets + more). Secondly, remember that you need to design these soon-to-be-printed materials in CMYK mode. To do this, open your “Swatches” palette. Click on the upper right-hand drop-down menu and select “Ink Manager.” If you’re using CMYK colors, the four of them should appear in a little window: “Process Cyan, Process Magenta, Process Yellow, Process Black.” You should also see CMYK values for each swatch in the palette (unless you’re using PMS spot colors, which is totally acceptable!) However, if any appear to be showing RGB values, simply double-click on the swatch, click on “Color Mode” and select “CMYK.” Before you export a PDF for printing, make sure that ALL of your swatches are setup in CMYK (or PMS options/spot colors.) Either CMYK and/or PMS (Pantone) is what you want your swatches set in before finalizing your design document.

Speaking of PMS swatches, where do you find those, you might be thinking? Simply go back to your “Swatches” palette, click again on the upper right-hand drop-down menu, select “New Color Swatch” and you’ll see multiple Pantone options to choose from. If a designer setup your brand colors via the PMS, ask them to provide you with the swatches. Then, simply add those exact ones to your swatch palette.

*Extra notes: Remember, when exporting your PDF for printing, select either the “Press Quality” or “High Quality Print” option under the “General” tab. Also, make sure that you choose “Maximum” image quality under the “Compression” tab. Finally, don’t forget any necessary bleed or crop marks if your design goes off the edges and the document is a certain size that will require trimming.

Adobe Photoshop: I create my digital brand graphics (for social media, my blog, etc.) in Photoshop. It may also be easier to use Canva. But, in Photoshop, once you create the image, simply go to “Image” (in the top menu) → then “Mode” and select “RGB Color.” In another instance, if you are formatting an image that is going to be printed for some reason (like a logo on a sign) you would choose “CMYK Color.” Are you getting the hang of it, now?

Keep in mind that if you do have a question, simply type in a keyword (like RGB or CMYK) in the search bar under the “Help” tab in the navigation menu at the top of your window (in both Photoshop and InDesign.)  


Branding 101 - Free Downloadable Guide
If you’re not a design professional, branding might be something that you don’t love to do for your business or you simply don’t have time for, so let someone else take over! Sign-up below to receive the link to download my new and free PDF tool “Branding 101: What it is, what it isn’t and why you need it” — right now! This quick and simple guide will walk you through why it’s important to establish consistent and memorable branding within your biz — and if you can DIY some of it or if you should hire that professional. If you have any questions after going through it, let’s connect and chat some more! 

Fall + winter color palettes for seasonal graphics

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Although we are experiencing an Indian summer here in southern Indiana, the leaves are changing and the temps are dropping. I’m arranging pumpkins and mums on my outside porches. It’s official: fall is finally here.

With the changing of the seasons, as a designer, I often like to read up on the emerging color trends that accompany them. While it’s obviously important to stick with your brand colors for consistency purposes, I’m a big believer that it’s OK to experiment with some different palettes if you’re creating or launching something that is seasonal or holiday-specific. As you might know from one of my past blog posts, colors have such power in evoking certain emotions and feelings. Add the magical transition of a new season to the mix and you can have a lot of fun with graphics for social media use, blog posting, sales page layouts and more — whether you work with a designer or DIY it.

With that, take into consideration these unique colors + combinations and leave a comment below with a link to some of your seasonal print + digital pieces!  

1. Fall into the warm + cozy

To me, the popular fall palettes this year that seem to work well are mixes of warm colors. Think along the lines of burnt oranges, wines and caramels — with some blue + green hues thrown in to add a touch of “nature.” They’re all inviting and derived from the outside environment.

2. 50 shades of…

Clearly, grey is the perfect neutral tone that isn’t just meant for winter. It’s a great choice for a secondary color to be used with almost any brand palette (I use it constantly.) However, it’s an obvious choice for a classic, timeless and clean look. Combine grey with with shades of lilac, navy, tan, gold and blue — and you have the ultimate winter palette!   

3. Links for inspiration:

To dive in further, I’ve provided links to more detailed palettes that I briefly touched on above. Which ones are your favorites?

Color Trends (this includes a palette for this fall + past seasons’ as well)

Winter Colors: 9 Palettes for Web and Print Designs


Branding 101 - Free Downloadable Guide
I got a question for ya. How is your branding looking? Do you have a logo, website and more that you absolutely love…or…not so much? If you’re not a design professional, branding might be something that you don’t love to do for your business or you simply don’t have time for, so let someone else take over! Sign-up below to receive the link to download my new and free PDF tool “Branding 101: What it is, what it isn’t and why you need it” — right now! This quick and simple guide will walk you through why it’s important to establish consistent and memorable branding within your biz — and if you can DIY some of it or if you should hire that professional. If you have any questions after going through it, let’s connect and chat some more!

Spring color palettes worth checking out

I don’t know about you, but Daylight Savings Time has kicked my booty the last couple of days. I’ve felt more tired and like I’m just dragging myself around, trying my best to be productive. It’s definitely been tough pushing those clocks ahead an hour, here in the U.S. Now, don’t get me wrong, I also LOVE the time change. It stays lighter out longer and as each day comes and goes, we’re getting closer and closer to summer. Bring on the (consistent) warmth and sunshine!

With Daylight Savings Time also comes the official start of spring — on March 20th! In celebration of that, with the help of some great resources, I’m giving you the scoop below about the popular, seasonal colors to design with during this time of year. These might be ones that you can incorporate into your social media and blog graphics, while still not straying too far from your brand colors. Or, they might give you some inspiration to create or expand your palettes. Either way, enjoy! Comment below and let me know what some of your top picks are…

What Pantone says…
It’s going to be a season of bright and cheery, but also earthy. The hues that Pantone has picked out are reflective of nature and the environment, to evoke and stimulate certain emotions. Click here. 

Creative Market’s choices   
This fabulous, go-to resource for many designers has created and provided (15) different palettes to help you with your creations. They’re inspired by a lot of colorful flowers and food and they’re a mix of warm and fresh! Click here. 

Refinery 29 has their “it colors” picked for the season
This is more fashion-based, but Refinery 29 is all about the fluorescent palettes this spring. Think hot pink and neon orange! Click here. 


Branding 101 - Free Downloadable Guide
Here we are, 2017! How is your branding looking for the new year? Do you have a logo, website and more that you absolutely love…or…not so much? If you’re not a design professional, branding might be something that you don’t love to do for your business or you simply don’t have time for, so let someone else take over! Sign-up below to receive the link to download my new and free PDF tool “Branding 101: What it is, what it isn’t and why you need it” — right now! This quick and simple guide will walk you through why it’s important to establish consistent and memorable branding within your biz — and if you can DIY some of it or if you should hire that professional. If you have any questions after going through it, let’s connect and chat some more!

3 ways to choose the right colors for your brand

Brand Colors Untethered Design Studio

I recently read an article online that talked about the psychology of colors. Colors that people seem to like over others depends on cultural roots and plain old personal preference. It’s an interesting thing (and sometimes difficult) — choosing the colors that fit your brand just right. The palette that you choose to put out into the world doesn’t necessarily have to be permanent, as branding always changes and evolves overtime, but you need to make a good first impression to your potential audience — especially if you have gone through a rebrand and want to now be perceived differently or if you’re a new business that wants to draw in a slew of interested client prospects.

To put it simply, in any context or situation, colors stimulate emotion. They make people feel or think a certain way. They evoke memories and help to create experiences. Although fonts and colors aren’t the very first elements that a brand should be concerned with in beginning branding stages, they are significant when it comes to creating the visual identity and aspects, soon to follow, down the road. What do you want people to remember your brand for? Who is your ideal audience that you hope to reach and sell to? What kind of experience do you want that audience to have every time they come into contact with your brand? Colors will help with this overall experience and below, I’ve outlined (3) simple ways that you can choose the perfect mix of hues:

1) Think about the emotional experience that your audience will have.

Consider the demographics of your potential customer or client base. Are they young adults, baby boomers or older? Are they primarily male or female? What are their interests? Where do they live? What do they need from you and what you’re selling? A group of 35-55 year old corporate males who live in suits and ties every day might enjoy a more professional and colder palette that includes blues and greys. But, 25-35 year old mommy bloggers might appreciate something a bit warmer, inviting and cozy, like pastel pinks, oranges, ivories and tans.

2) Start with 2-3 colors.  

There are a lot of great color combinations out there. Some seem to make perfect sense and others might appear to be a little wilder or bolder, but somehow, they still work. I have seen palettes that incorporate even 4-5 different colors and that can also be fine, but if you’re just starting out, I think that 2-3 is definitely plenty to play with. Choose a main, primary color or two (purple and teal, for example) and then add a secondary color that can be used as an accent (like grey.) This accent color can do just that — serve as an extra way to highlight certain parts of text, create call-out boxes, pull out quotes and more.   

3) Reference the color wheel — complementary and monochromatic colors pair well together.

Even after you’ve considered your audience and know that 2-3 colors should be great to start with, you still might be clueless with actually choosing the exact colors. There are plenty of resources online that you can use to generate color palettes for you, like COLOURlovers, Coolors and Colllor. I also like to recommend pulling up the old-school color wheel — that’s right, the one that you may have not seen since your high school art class. In case you forgot, it’s basically a circle that represents the relationships between primary, secondary and tertiary colors. I’ve broken down what those are below:

Primary: red, yellow, blue
Secondary: orange, green, violet
Tertiary: yellow green, blue green, blue violet, red violet, red orange, yellow orange

The arrangement of these colors is originally connected with the wavelengths of light, as opposed to actual hues. It’s been around for literally centuries.

The reason why I recommend the color wheel is because you can see what colors work well with others. A good rule of thumb is to choose complementary ones. These are the colors that are simply opposite of each other on the wheel. For example: red orange and blue green match well together, just like blue violet and yellow orange. They’re usually bold and create good contrast. In an opposite way, monochromatic colors are the ones that fall next to each other, like red violet, violet and blue violet. They are varying shades of the same hue and a collection of 2-3 will always work well together in a visual identity.     

Beyond just choosing the right colors, there are so many other important things to consider and nail down when it comes to branding. If you're in need of some advice centered around this, I have *TWO* freebies that will help!

30 Minute Brand Analysis Session
Grab a spot on my calendar, include a link to your website and separately email me any other branding visual elements or examples that you have by Friday, 9/16. I take a look at it all and prepare valuable feedback, suggestions and other bits of advice for what is working, what you can improve and how — and we meet via video chat — so it's virtually face-to-face! These 30 minute sessions usually cost $100, but for TWO DAYS ONLY in September, I am offering 10 of them for FREE. Seriously, no gimmicks or sales pitches. Just straight up, constructive and honest branding advice from a design professional. Grab your spot today — for either Monday, September 19 or Wednesday, September 21. Choose a 30 minute time slot between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. EST. Trust me, 10 spots won’t last long. Go sign-up now! 

Branding 101 - Free Downloadable Guide
Click the link above or sign-up below to receive the link to download my new and free PDF tool - "Branding 101: What it is, what it isn’t and why you need it — right now!" This quick and simple guide will walk you through why it’s important to establish consistent and memorable branding within your biz — and if you can DIY some of it or if you should hire a professional. If you have any questions after going through it, let’s connect and chat some more!