How to Pick the Right Colors for Your (Personal) Brand

As a freelancer, your business image isn’t just a reflection of your work, it’s a statement of your personal identity. With every project you complete, a portion of your personal design beliefs, creative insights and unique identity is woven into the results. These ties should be reflected in the freelance identity portrayed to your clients.

As such, when creating an identity for your freelance business, care must be taken to create a logo and brand that portray your unique business mission. While all elements of your business’s design must be chosen with care, few are more important than the colors you use. Here are six tips for choosing the best colors for your business’ identity.

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Start with Questions

Before diving into the color selection process, it can be helpful to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Which colors am I naturally drawn towards?
  • Are there certain colors that can represent my design niche the best?
  • Which colors would I prefer to avoid?
  • What do I want the identity of my freelance business to say to my clients?
  • What is the mission of my design work?

By asking these questions, you can begin narrowing down the list of color options to those that are most suited for your design niche. People are instinctively drawn to certain colors and, by selecting those to which you naturally migrate, you’ll be off to a solid start.

Preceding image by The 5th Ape

Know Your Competition

In the freelance world, it’s difficult to size up your competition since the market is so vast. However, if your freelance work is primarily focused within one community, scope out your fellow freelancers from that community. It would be unfortunate to accidentally develop a business image similar to your top competitors. This can be avoided with a little research.

It can also be helpful to research the business identities of those freelancers whose work you admire. Often, the best way to learn something is to follow the lead of those at the top of your industry. While you shouldn’t blatantly copy their identities, you can learn from the elements that are working well for them and incorporate those color principles into your identity. The business cards of Accentuate and Magics Friends show how effective the combination of great designs and proper colors can be.

Know What a Color Says

Each color stirs particular emotions in people. As such, care must be used to not choose colors that stir negative emotions in your potential clients. Colors such as orange and red are sometimes viewed as risky options since they can provoke thoughts of anger and lust.

Many online tools are available to learn how others associate colors with words. Cymbolism is one such tool allowing you to vote on color and word combinations and view the results submitted by others.

Understand Cultural Differences

If you serve an international market with your freelance work, you must pay close attention to differences in cultural color symbolism when using colors in your business materials. While white is a symbol of peace and hope in the Western world, it can mean something very different to other cultures. Many online charts are available to assist with color symbolism to avoid a cultural blunder when expanding your freelance work to international markets.

Mix It Up

When choosing a business color identity, you aren’t constrained to only one option. Instead, create a full color palette with your top choices. By doing this, you may find the perfect way to implement several colors into a streamlined business image.

However, it’s important to exhibit caution when using multiple colors for your logo and other elements. While, independently you may be drawn to particular colors, when combined those colors may produce an unexpected negative result.

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Test Your Color Choices

As a responsible freelancer, you would likely never send your designs to a client without first rigorously editing them. Therefore, your freelance identity shouldn’t be officially adopted, nor should the business cards be sent to print, until you’ve tested your color selections.

Send the options to friends and fellow freelancers for feedback. If the responses are encouraging, it looks like you’ve got a new business identity. However, if the responses are mixed, be prepared to revisit the coloring board.

When testing your color choices, pay special attention to such things as how they’ll be interpreted by the visually impaired. Color-blind audiences view colors very differently than others so you must be conscientious of these differences.

Colors are the backbone of every great design. They ignite emotional responses in viewers and can move people to action. Considering the immense power that colors hold for you as a freelancer, great care must be taken to use them appropriately for your business identity. By properly selecting colors, you can create an enduring identity that will portray your freelance mission exactly as you desire.

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Your Turn

What colors did you choose for your own freelancing website and why did you choose them?