How I Chose My Brand Colors
If you’re an author or business owner, what inspired your choice of brand colors? For me, it was blue ink and the classic yellow pencil with a green metal tip and pink eraser. Going through school in the ’80s and ’90s, I mostly used pencils for composition assignments. Writing with a pen can be stressful for perfectionists like me. As a student, I needed the freedom to write, erase, and revise. Now we have the luxury of typing on computers. The keyboard shortcut Command+Z (Undo typing) has become deeply lodged in my motor memory.
The Classic Yellow Pencil
When I think of writing, I still think of pencils. My oldest son started kindergarten this year, and his school supply list called for “Two packages of twelve #2 Ticonderoga yellow sharpened pencils.” If I knew the brand name, I had forgotten. The Dixon Ticonderoga Company is one of America’s oldest corporations, dating back to the American Revolution. Joseph Dixon, son of a ship captain, made the first pencil in 1812. He discovered a variety of uses for graphite and opened a business in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1827. During the Civil War, pencils proved to be more practical for soldiers than quill pens and became popular. By 1872, The Dixon Crucible Company was making 86,000 pencils a day. In 1913, they introduced the yellow No. 2 Ticonderoga pencil. The color scheme is now iconic and inspires me to write.
I’m also inspired by nature. “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God” (Romans 1:20). My two favorite colors have always been green and blue—earth and sky.
My Brand Colors
So here’s a quick summary of what my colors symbolize, in case you’re curious.
Blue: ink, sky, water
Green: growth, nature, Ticonderoga pencil
Yellow: sun, light, joy, Ticonderoga pencil
Pink: love, women, mothers, Ticonderoga eraser
Questions to Consider When Choosing Brand Colors
Publishing a book makes you a business owner. You now have a product to market and sell. Have you thought about your author/business brand? What do you want to convey to your audience visually? What colors and visuals best represent your story and services? What will appeal to your target audience and resonate with them? It’s important to be consistent with colors and fonts so your friends and followers will recognize your posts and images online.
If you’re wondering where to start, I recommend Canva. Canva offers a generous free plan that gives you access to design templates, fonts, images, graphics, AI-powered tools, printable products, and endless content creation ideas. Their Pro plan includes Brand Kit, which allows you to set up and easily manage your brand (logo, colors, fonts, photos, graphics, and icons). I’m fairly new to the Canva community. Since 2021, I’ve used it to create my logo, website graphics, social media images, Instagram highlight covers, infographic PDFs, and printables for personal use. I’ve also used it to collaborate with an author on her book cover. It’s designed for people with no design experience.
I recently listened to an episode of the Nonfiction Author’s Association podcast about “How to use Canva to create better visuals for your brand and your book,” which prompted me to write this post. Calvina Nguyen, a visual brand strategist, talks about things to consider when coming up with your visual aesthetic and ways you can use Canva to create it. She says don’t worry about color wheel psychology. Instead, make mood boards. Look at other people in your industry and observe what colors are being used, but ultimately be a little different and consider your audience. How can you make them feel seen?
I also follow Kristin Rappaport. She offers done-for-you brand kits, website graphic templates, social media templates, lead magnet templates, courses, and Canva design trainings.
Marketing for Authors
Is this a topic you’d like to know more about? If so, comment below and let me know what would be helpful. I studied marketing in college and enjoy learning more about it as it relates to authors and entrepreneurs today.
Start somewhere. Don’t let brand decisions paralyze you. I struggled with that myself. Our brands can evolve with our businesses.
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