Visual Branding 101: Color Palette and Typography

Visual branding applies to all aspects of how your brand appears in public, including your:

  • Website
  • Business cards
  • Correspondence
  • Signage
  • Flyers
  • Product packaging
  • Menus
  • Print and display ads
  • Direct mail
  • Social media

Your visual branding extends well beyond your company logo and encompasses many different elements. But in this post, we’re going to focus on just two: Color palette and typography.


Defining a Brand Color Palette

Determining a color palette is an integral part of brand messaging. But how do you go about selecting one?

First, consider the overall mood or vibe of your product or service. Is your brand high-end? High-tech? Health-conscious? Is your audience mainly women, seniors or millennials?

Often, colors are psychologically associated with certain demographic groups or industries. For example, green is a hallmark of eco-conscious branding, while pink often connotes a feminine vibe. Many senior care organizations incorporate silver in their logos as it can symbolize both age and refinement. In most cases, you want to select colors that reinforce your messaging and don’t conflict with it. For example, you probably don’t really want a brown logo if you’re a cleaning company.

But also remember that the use of your brand color palette will extend beyond your logo. Will your website background be bright and clean, or dark and moody? Ditto for your print materials and signage.

You’ll need a pleasing collection of background colors, accents and neutral tones. In the end, try to come up with about half a dozen colors that you can easily mix-and-match whenever you’re creating visual content. You’ll also want this information in a visual branding guide that you can conveniently send to printers, web developers, and graphic designers when you’re working on a project. The guide should provide formats for print and digital use including: CMYK, RGB and HEX tones as well as Pantone names and numbers for color matching.


Selecting Typography

The font and typographical style you choose to represent your brand is another important decision. Like color, fonts can also express your brand personality. Fonts can appear funky, highbrow, futuristic, vintage, corporate or virtually anything in between. Whatever graphic style you choose should tie in to your branding. If you’re a B2B, you probably want to stick with something on the traditional side unless you happen to be in a highly creative field. Keep in mind that sans serif fonts (the ones without the little tails on the letters like Calibri or Arial) tend to be much easier to read online.

There’s an almost limitless number of fonts to choose from. However, if your font will be used online, you probably want to limit your choices just a bit for some very practical reasons. A good rule of thumb is to stick with two fonts – one for headings and one for body text.

In addition, not all fonts are “web-safe,” meaning they can appear distorted online. This is why it can be a good idea to select a font for body copy and headers from Google Fonts, an online collection of free, open-source and easily downloadable fonts. These styles reproduce accurately online and across platforms. With hundreds to choose from, you’re actually not limiting yourself very much at all.

You can afford to take a less-conservative approach when it comes to the typography in your logo as it will most likely be reproduced as an image rather than as text online. If you want a consistent look across digital and print mediums, you may want to stick with Google Fonts even if you’re starting with your business card and stationery.

When using colors and typography on a website, there’s more to keep in mind than your aesthetic preference. You need certain contrast levels and font sizes to help ensure the copy is legible and to facilitate reading by those with disabilities.

Your color palette and typography decisions can have a big impact on your visual branding. As a digital marketing company with full service on-site printing, we can help you select the color palette and typography that will represent your brand well online and in print. Contact us to take your branding to the next level.