12 modern color palettes to elevate your brand

Color is an amazing thing. This shared cognitive experience of interpreting wavelengths of reflected light and assigning them to the perceived illusions we call color is mind-boggling. And when you consider that color may have universal connotations that have influenced our perceptions and understandings over thousands of years - you can't tell us that color is not one of the most fascinating human constructs outside of time.

Consider that red is not hot. Blue is not cold. Brown is not cozy and green is not earthy. Rather, these colors are hexadecimal code combinations that carry meaning only to those who are not visually impaired. But the power behind colors is their relationship to meaning. When used with a keen intention, color can be an incredible visual tool to convey emotion, create meaning and subconsciously appeal to an audience.

But before we harness the power of color for your business branding, we need a quick introduction to color psychology and theory. Come on, grab your notebook.

Understanding business color schemes

Color is a powerful tool that can evoke emotions, influence behavior and convey meaning. Color psychology studies how color affects our thoughts, emotions and behavior, while color theory focuses on how color combinations work together and affect our perception.

Color psychology

Color psychology studies how colors influence our thoughts, feelings and behaviors, based on the idea that different colors evoke different emotions and associations. For example, we often associate red with excitement, passion and danger, while we associate blue with reliability, dependability and calmness. Breaking Bad has made excellent use of colors to create atmosphere, associate meanings and set moods throughout the series.

Color theory

Color theory studies how colors work together and how they affect our perception based on three primary colors: red, yellow and blue. As we learned in primary school, these colors combine to form all the secondary colors we know and love.

Color theory can also be used to create different color schemes: monochromatic, analog, complementary or triadic.

  • Monochromatic - A monochromatic color scheme uses different shades and tints of the same color. This type of color scheme is simple and elegant, perfect for a more unified and cohesive look. For example, a business selling minimalist or high-end products might use a monochromatic color scheme of black and white. Monochromatic schemes are seen in brands such as Apple (black and white), Chanel (black and white) and Tiffany & Co (turquoise)


  • Analog - An analog color scheme uses colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. This color scheme is harmonious and pleasing to the eye, ideal for creating a sense of balance and tranquility. For example, a business selling organic products might use an analog color scheme of green, yellow and orange. Similar schemes are seen in brands such as Mastercard (red and orange) and Instagram (gradient yellow, orange, red, purple, blue).


  • Complementary - A complementary color scheme uses colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. This type of color scheme is bold and attention-grabbing, creating a sense of energy and excitement. For example, a business selling fitness products might use a complementary color scheme of blue and orange. Complementary schemes are seen in brands such as McDonald's (red and bright yellow), Pepsi (red, white and blue) and Coca-Cola (red and white).


  • Triadic - A triadic color scheme uses three colors evenly spaced around the color wheel. This type of color scheme is vibrant and dynamic, perfect for creating a visually appealing and engaging look. For example, a business selling children's toys might use a triadic color scheme of red, yellow and blue. Triadic schemes are seen in brands such as BMW (blue, white and black) and Google (red, yellow and blue).

Designers use these color schemes as color palettes for various design and marketing needs; your color scheme is a framework for selecting harmonious, unified and consistent colors, while your color palette or brand palette is the specific set of color combinations you use in brand designs.

Choosing your business color scheme and palette

For businesses, choosing your color scheme and palette is key to creating initial appeals to a specific audience. Color can create a stronger brand personality that is both impactful and emotional. However, remember that when choosing a color scheme and palette for your business, it is vital to first consider your brand identity, your industry/sector, and your target audience, including the overall tone you want to convey.

  • Think about your brand identity. What are the core values and mission of your business? What image do you want to project to your target audience?
  • Think about your industry and your competitors. What is the industry standard and how do you differentiate yourself from your competitors?
  • Research your target audience. What colors are they likely to be attracted to? What emotions do you want them to feel when they see your business brand?
  • Stick to the principles of color theory. Choose a color scheme as a framework to create various color combinations. These combinations will form your brand palette.

It's worth doing more research on color psychology and theory before settling on any color combinations. Really evaluate the schemes and palettes that best align your business, audience and industry with the message you want, and if you need inspiration, use resources like ChatGPT or Google Bard.

With everything sorted, let's explore some modern color palettes for business.

12 best color combinations

From warm colors, cool colors, neutrals and pastels, here are 12 modern business color combinations to consider for your brand colors.

1. Olive green and peach


This complementary color combination balances cool and warm colors, providing an ideal look for health and wellness brands that want a warm, appealing look and feel.

Hex Codes: #556B2F, #FFDAB9


2. Plum and taupe


Together, plum and taupe create a rich analog color combination that is ideal for businesses in the luxury goods and services space. The deep, rich shade of plum signifies relaxation and luxury, while taupe adds an earthy neutrality, evoking a sense of greater serenity.

Hex codes: #8E4585, #483C32


3. Mustard yellow and navy blue


This complementary color combination is an absolute classic. Mustard yellow and navy blue come together to create a nautical aesthetic ideal for travel, nautical and outdoor businesses.

Hex codes: #FFDB58, #154360


4. Teal and gray


For those looking for a more relaxed yet sophisticated color combination, teal and gray offer a beautiful analogous color scheme, especially ideal for sectors that want to express confidence and expertise, such as finance, law and consulting.

Hex codes: #008080, #808080


5. Dark purple and goldenrod


Reminiscent of rich wine tones and vineyards, deep purple and golden yellow is an ideal color combination for high-end businesses in hospitality industries such as wineries, hotels and restaurants, and wellness industries such as spas, meditation centers and yoga studios.

Hex codes: #800080, #DAA520


6. Mint green and light pink


Together, mint green and light pink create a color combination that feels delicate and dreamy. This complementary color combination is perfect for businesses looking to evoke a more feminine aesthetic, especially in the fashion, beauty and lifestyle sectors.

Hex codes: #AAFFC3, #FFC0CB


7. Royal blue, lemon yellow and gray


For startups looking for a color palette that inspires confidence while projecting excitement and balance, royal blue, lemon yellow and gray are the complementary color combination for you.

Hex codes: #4169E1, #FFF44F, #808080


8. Burnt orange, terracotta and cream


One of my favorite color combinations, burnt orange, terracotta and cream is ideal for almost every sector. These similar colors are very warm and inviting, but also exciting.

Hex codes: #CC5500, #E2725B, #FFFFF0


9. Navy blue, cobalt blue and white


Modern and sophisticated, navy blue, cobalt blue and white are ideal for technology, finance or consulting businesses. Deep and contemporary blues communicate a solid credibility with white, which further enhances the balance of this beautiful color palette.

Hex codes: #000080, #0000FF, and #FFFFFF


10. Sky blue, lavender and white


This soft, pastel color combination reflects a playful idea of romance and femininity, making it an ideal choice for businesses in the wedding and even childcare sectors.

Hex codes: #87CEFA, #E6E6FA, and #FFFFFF


11. Beige, brown and cream


Similar to burnt orange, terracotta and cream, beige, brown and cream is a warm, creamy analog color combination. More neutral than the previous combination, these colors are ideal for the agriculture, health and sustainability sectors.

Hex codes: #F5F5DC, #654321, and #FFFFF0


12. Slate gray, blush pink and mauve


Soft and sophisticated, these quieter pastels combine to create a calming, elegant atmosphere, perfect for nail salons and boutiques that want to stand out without too much unnecessary flashiness.

Hex codes: #708090, #FFB6C1, #E0B0FF


Beautiful modern color palettes

Here's our list; 12 great commercial color combinations for every modern business. If none of the colors mentioned above capture the look and feel of your brand, check out a color palette builder. Once you've found the perfect colors, it's time to start applying them. Start building your website or designing your brand with your new color palette.

ImageNur Oğuz