How to DIY Your Own Brand, Part 2: #Choosing Your Color Palette & Typography

Branding and color palette for business

Welcome back to our series on How to DIY Your Own Brand! In these posts, I’ve decided to do something a little crazy: I’m telling you what the actual iterative steps are in my program, Pursuit with Passion. I’m doing this because sometimes knowing the “what” is all you need (if you’re interested in the “how,” it means it’s time for you and I to chat about your business and how I can help — click here if this sounds like you).

In our last post (click here if you missed it), we focused on drilling down on what you do and who you do it for. This week, we build on that info and start building out the basics of our brand: our color palette and typography.

Your Brand’s Color Palette = Your Business Mood Ring

I had a client once who, when asked what colors she saw in her branding, mentioned all of them. It was the full Roy G. Biv (remember him?). Not that I’m against a lot of bold colors or even rainbow elements — I’ve seen some incredibly fun sites with impressive color explosions — but there is a method to the madness.

  1. Pick out colors that blend well together. These are going to be colors that tonally belong to each other, even if they are of completely different colors. See some examples below.

Colors for branding

You may be thinking, “Wow, that’s a lot of color,” and you’d be right. But these colors all play well together, so it doesn’t feel overwhelming. Also you’ll want to pick only two or three to be your primary colors that you’ll be using. You can pull in other colors in random bits and pieces, but only your primary colors will take the front seat.

The question you want to ask yourself is, which combinations of colors reflect you and the feeling you’re looking to instill in your clients? And, I want you to not ask yourself another question: What color palette should I use that would be appropriate for my industry? Because we’re rooting your whole business in reflecting who you and your business is. Sure, it’s good to know who the big players are in your industry, but don’t let it get inside your head where it can start making decisions for you.

What’s Your Type?

font combination ideas and inspiration

Most companies use one, two, or three typefaces throughout their branding. In this next step, you’ll decide on the type combination you want for your business branding. The difference between a font and typeface is easy: a font is a specific font weight (and would only be a single font file that you’d load into your font library), while a typeface is a set of designed fonts that come in different weights (think of Garamond or Didot, which come in various weights, including italic styles).

There are literally hundreds of thousands of typefaces you could choose some, which can seem overwhelming at first. The first questions you’ll want to ask yourself is, do you want to use free, open source typefaces or can you splurge on paid-for typefaces?

Purchasing a single font out of a typeface collection is usually not terribly expensive, and if you can pair it with an open source font from a website such as Google Fonts or Font Squirrel, you can get the best of both worlds.

Here’s what you want to be thinking of when deciding your fonts:

  1. What is the impression you want people who see my logo or website to have? What do you want it to say about your business and mission?

  2. Look for inspiration in other companies that have a similar look/feel for what you’re going for. How can you make it yours? What would you do differently?

  3. Does your font combination fit well together? Does it have a complimentary feel and feel polished?

At this point, you’ll want to pick one font each for your primary “Header” font, your secondary” Sub-header” font, and your tertiary font (in descending order of size). You can have similar typefaces repeated throughout, but I encourage you to play with the different weights and sizes to create visual interest and hierarchy.

Once you pick a combination, just know that you can always change it. By no means are you “locked in.” Some companies do slight re-brands every few years (even more often in the beginning), so you’ll always have an opportunity to tweak!

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And, if you’re interested in the Pursuit with Passion program, make sure to check it out here.

Scott Robson