Graphic designers carefully select colors to best showcase the personality of a brand. That decision seems easy enough, but very subtle differences in tone and color depth can transform the look of a business card — and even convey a whole different message than originally intended.
Your mission is to seek out a color that will be memorable, one that expresses what your brand is all about. How do you find that color? We’ve assembled this guide to help you get started.
More than just a color
Depending on the direction and intent of your brand, you can choose a color combination with a broad appeal, or select the road less traveled to create an emotional connection with a specific audience. A lumberyard with a sea green business card may not seem like an obvious choice, but it might make more of an impression.
Here are some commonly used color associations to consider for your cards:
- Gold is widely seen as a mark of status across cultures
- Frequently used as an accent color (font color, border color, etc).
- When used in a metallic foil, a golden glimmer is especially eye-catching
- Traditionally connected with royalty and power
- Very bold, commonly used as an accent color so as to not overwhelm
- Soft purple tones, such as lavender, are popular for kid-related businesses and maternity brands
- Peaceful, harmonious, and calming associations, related to the sea and sky
- Evokes reliability and relaxation when used in branding
- However, dark blue is often considered a somber color, one that doesn’t excite or vie for attention
- Closely associated with the natural world
- Popular for sustainable and environmentally-minded brands
- A classic look that’s also popular for iconic industrial companies (think John Deere)
- Associated with happiness, positivity, summertime, and sunshine
- Richer yellow hues are also used as warnings (construction signs, for example)
- More playful and optimistic than most colors, so it’s great for kids
- Associated with fun, liveliness, and whimsy
- Attention grabbing, especially in high-visibility color tones
- Great for brands that associate themselves with summer
- Popular for calls to action
- Associated with excitement, energy, and action
- Captures attention with engaging boldness
- Used in warnings, so can also be perceived as threatening
- Powerful and serious on its own, black also makes other tones stand out
- Highly sophisticated and elegant with a touch of mystery
- Commonly associated with darkness, so not necessarily the best choice for fun/whimsical brands
- One of the most variable (and trendy) color tones
- Soft pink is calming and gentle, whereas hot pink is attention-grabbing
- Commonly associated with more feminine branding, frequently tapped by brands in cosmetics, fashion, and beauty salons
- Also associated with women’s health advocacy
Of course, you need to consider associations with color combinations as well.
Red and yellow branding incorporates two highly engaging and active colors, but that duo is also most commonly associated with McDonalds.
Gold is viewed as a traditional symbol of wealth and privilege, so it’s no surprise that it’s a popular color choice for high-end brands. But the impact created by a set of black business cards with gold lettering will greatly differ from a set of pink and gold business cards with the same information, same layout, even the same logo. How so?
When paired with black, it becomes an attention-grabbing accent color. Alternately, gold helps to balance the delicate, romantic appeal of pink to give it a sophisticated edge.
This subtle difference in pairings can be tempered and balanced by the focus placed on each color, the layout of the card, and many other factors.
What color will make your brand stand out? Start designing your business card with Silkcards and see what connects.