Written by admin in category 
February 2, 2016

When starting a new business or venture, you will need to decide on a colour palette. There are a few concepts to consider- the “Rule of 4”, colour theory and what colours relate to your business.

You can have your designer work out a colour palette or you can successfully choose your own palette with some simple advice.

The Rule of 4: 

When considering your logo or design palette, it is best to keep to a few colours. Many logos will have a variety of versions created and there will be ample opportunities to play around with the look of your logo, so logos can stick to less colours- 2 or 3 colours. For a general design palette you will need-

  1. The Key colour: a bold statement and the one colour that must be associated with your business
  2. The Complement: This is a second colour that works well with your Key colour
  3. The Soft Hue: This is a colour that is not over powering. It is the colour you want to be as a background and is usually a light colour that text or the key and complement colours can be overlayed without distraction.
  4. The Outline: A darker colour that is used little in your design except to outline or draw attention.

Here’s Subway website’s use of 4 main colours-


Colour Theory:

Colour emotion theory suggests that the human mind associates certain colours as having certain attributes. For instance the colour blue is essentially accepted as conveying trust, security, and professionalism, and is a great choice for banks, businesses and healthcare companies. Yellow suggests optimism, youthfulness, while also grabbing attention. Red conveys energy, excitement and boldness. A rainbow of colours in a logo suggests diversity and fun, but in some logos using so many colours may be a little over the top. Colour meanings also vary from culture to culture. While orange means friendly, warm and cheery in western culture, it is associated with mourning and loss in some Middle Eastern cultures. This may be important to think about depending on your customer base.

Colours Related to Your Business:

Potential clients see your colour palette as a representation of your business. The closer the reality of your business and the appearance of your colours will assist potential clients recognise and understand your business. So if you are in landscaping, having green somewhere in your design palette is a good choice. If you are a florist, perhaps your favourite floral bloom colour is a good place to start. The idea is to instantly get people to associate your colours with what you do or what you provide.

Take Jim’s Group of businesses which are household names in Australia. Jim’s Mowing we all know as green and gold. All the other colours of Jim’s group businesses are chosen for their specific associations.


So, when deciding on a colour palette, keep it to four main colours (excluding black or white, although often these two tones become part of a business’ colour palette), consider colour emotion theory and try to select colours that connect to your business.

As an end note, steer clear of colours you particularly dislike too, as you will be seeing a lot of them as your business progresses!