How to pick the perfect colour palette every time

Group 1: Type 1 personality

group 1 colours

Group 1 colours are often used for fun brands

Group 1 colours are clear, delicate and warm, and contain yellow, but no black. Examples include soft cream, turquoise and cobalt. "They're lively, sharp, fresh, clean and youthful – all about new beginnings," says Wright. 

"It's very common to use them in the branding of things like children's toys, PR, sales, sport, and fun sectors of anything." However, if misused, these colours can be perceived as frivolous and immature. 

Personalities that reflect these colours are "externally motivated and eternally youthful". Light on their feet, these people love to dance and are clever, but don't like being bogged down with academic debate.

Group 2: Type 2 personality

Group 2 colours

Group 2 colours reflect understated elegance and timelessness, but are seen as recessive

Group 2 colours are cool (they contain blue), mid range (most contain grey) and delicate, but not necessarily light – for example raspberry, maroon or sage green. Characteristics include understated elegance and timelessness.

"The personalities are cool, calm and collected," says Wright. "They're internally motivated, but very sensitive to how others are feeling. They don't want to be at the forefront of anything, but they'll be the power behind the throw. In branding terms, these colours are rarely – if ever – used, because they're very recessive," she explains.

Group 3: Type 3 personality

Group 3 colours

The Group 3 palette features quite flamboyant and unusual colours

Group 3 colours are warmer than group 1 (they contain more yellow-based hues), are intense and fiery, and contain black. Examples include olive green, burnt orange and aubergine. "They're quite flamboyant and unusual; you don't get many primaries in there," says Wright. "And the personalities are strong. Like type 1, they're externally motivated – but they're fiery, even if it isn't immediately apparent."

Friendly, traditional and reliable, these tones are popular in branding and work for well-established companies. However, they can convey bossiness or appear old-fashioned if they are misused.

Group 4: Type 4 personality

Group 4 colours

Group 4 suggests efficiency, sophistication and excellence, but also expense and unfriendliness

Group 4 colours contain blue and are cold rather than cool. They're pure and either very light, very dark or very intense. "The personalities are the same – very clear; everything's black and white," says Wright, adding that type 4 personalities are internally motivated, often very efficient and don't suffer fools.  

Containing black, white, magenta, lemon and indigo, this group's characteristics include efficiency, sophistication and excellence – but misused, the colours can be seen as unfriendly, materialistic and expensive.

This article originally appeared in Computer Arts, the world's leading graphic design magazine. Subscribe here.

Related articles:

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Julia Sagar
Editor-in-chief retail

Julia is editor-in-chief, retail at Future Ltd, where she works in e-commerce across a number of consumer lifestyle brands. A former editor of design website Creative Bloq, she’s also worked on a variety of print titles, and was part of the team that launched consumer tech website TechRadar. She's been writing about art, design and technology for over 15 years.