how to use trendy colours effectively

Colour schemes are constantly updating, going in and out of fashion year upon year. 2018 has seen a boom in gradients and pink/red combos, while 2017 was all about tropical greens and yellows. Pantone have recently revealed their colour trend predictions for early 2019 - fiery reds and zesty yellows with lashings of warm orange. Exciting stuff! But how do you use these on-trend colour schemes without having to replace them year on year when they go out of style? Rebranding every single year is impractical for even the smallest of businesses, so this blog will show you how to use these colours in a timeless way so that you won’t have to!

Keep it relevant

As discussed in a previous post, different colours have different contexts. We get used to certain colours being linked to certain industries or to certain areas. Green means nature, blue means finance, purple means luxury etc. This isn’t to say that you can’t subvert these assumptions (in fact plenty of companies do this brilliantly) but if you’re going for a trendy colour scheme you should be able to justify why. If it goes deeper than just being fashionable, then those colours will become synonymous with your brand and you’ll own them! Don’t use pink and red if you’re a financial company just because it’s what’s currently cool. That’s a colour scheme mainly used by millennial female led groups, unless that’s your banking demographic it doesn’t necessarily work for that industry. Gradients work best in the digital sphere (they don’t always print well) so if your business is largely a physical company then avoid them from a practicality standpoint. Make sure it works well for you on more than a fashionable level.

Brand design colour theory

Understand the psychology

Colour psychology influences the way we feel about colours and what we associate them with. Above is a breakdown of some of the ways we view certain colours, note that there’s overlap and none of it is 100% strict. Is blue and orange the latest colour trend? If you feel your business is modern and social, then go for it. Understanding how your customers may feel about the colours you use can give you a nice element of control. If the trendy colours happen to illustrate your business’ core values well, then use them if you want to. There’s no danger of the colour scheme going out of fashion if it’s so well linked to your business aims.

Colours/patterns could be changed gradually within this identity without causing too much upset

Colours/patterns could be changed gradually within this identity without causing too much upset

Use trendy colours as part of a larger brand identity

If you’re using a colour scheme purely based on it being fashionable and relevant, don’t make it the core element of your brand identity. Plenty of brands have their core branding and then different coloured alternatives; sometimes for different branches of their business. If you’re relying on a colour scheme purely for the fact that it’s on-trend, and not because it represents your business or speaks to your audience, make sure it’s a background element and not the full deal. In a year it may end up looking dated, and it’s easier to phase out or replace it if it’s just one element of your branding and not your entire visual identity.

Get in there early

Instead of forcing the latest trendy colours to fit into your branding, keep an eye on upcoming trends and become an early adopter. If you can spot an upcoming colour trend that you think would work well for your business, get in there before everyone else. This will lead to customers associating the trend with your brand, as you’ll be where they saw it first. Adopting a colour scheme before it becomes too fashionable makes you look current without trying too hard, and will ensure people associate your brand with that colour in a natural, authentic way.

Immediately recognisable as a cohesive set

Immediately recognisable as a cohesive set

Keep it consistent

As we know, a visual identity is about so much more than just your logo. There’s a lot to consider when working with colour, and the likelihood is you’ll need more than one colour across your entire identity. In branding, consistency is key. If you’re dead set on a particular colour scheme trendy or not, you must make sure that your branding materials are consistent. Want pink and red? Make sure your business cards and website match! Want to use a blue-green gradient? Don’t use solid yellow for your letterheads. Pick a full colour system and then stick to it, this will ensure your brand stays memorable and timeless rather than ‘faddy’.