Brand colors by archetype
& why they work
The 12 Brand Archetypes & Their Colors.
You’re all about breaking rules, being disruptive, and might occasionally combative. We know that your audience is motivated by a desire to fight back, a thrill of anarchy, or a drive to disrupt. Your color choices should show that you’re with them in their quest for revolution. They want to see something that stands out. You can use bold or deep colors and a lot of black. Which bold color depends on the other messages that you want to send, but the main thing is that you’re aiming for high contrast. Dark vs bold.
The Magician can make anything happen. This archetype is influenced by power, but in a very different way than The Ruler. In essence, your brand style is mystical, informed, and but also reassuring and in control. You take their customers on a transformative journey so your brand palette should evoke this. It should show a blend of transformation and trust. Rich purples and blues are particularly suited to Magicians.
You’re always there to tell us all that “where there’s a will, there’s a way”. Always honest, candid, and inspiring, this archetype comes through as a symbol of courage and leadership. Your best asset is engaging the psyche of your customers to boost them into taking actions that will help them overcome challenges. You’re less bound to specific colors than to how they combine. Your color palette should be bold and strong but not so loud that it leans into juvenile or comedy. Dark colors against brighter bolds. Deep blue with yellow like the US Navy or red and black balanced by white ala Nike. Think balanced with high contrast.
The Lover only has eyes for you, or you and anything they’re smitten with. This archetype is ruled by intimacy, with a sensual, soothing, and empathetic brand voice. Since this archetype fosters deep relationships, make sure that your brand targets the aesthetic appeal of your audience. Stimulate their desire to be passionate with soft palettes like beigey pinks, go sexy with a mix of red and magenta, or be bold and daring with bright pinks and black. You can also use an elegant blend of black and white or pull in purples. It’s important to note that a Lover brand does not need to be “sexy”. Some can be, but in real estate that’s not the direction you should go. The people who are attracted to a Lover brand fear being along, unwanted, or unloved so your goal is to have an enticing and inclusive brand style that they’ll find irresistible.
You are fun loving and see at least a little bit of humor in almost anything. Humor is a sign of intelligence, so quippy and witty rules the day. Your goal with the colors you choose for your brand should be to evoke a feeling that is fun-loving and optimistic so they relate your brand with good times and fond memories but smart and trustworthy at the same time. You want to pull people in, not take them out of their comfort zone so while almost any color can be used, they need to be contrasting but balanced in hues.
The Girl or Guy Nextdoor evokes a feeling that they are one of the crowd, It’s a come as you are, all are welcome thing. You are telling your audience that it is okay to be normal, so that they get a sense of belonging. You’re showing affordability, and authenticity with this archetype. Since your branding strategy is to appeal to the common man, your brand needs to be friendly and down-to-earth. This is because your target audience fears rejection or being singled out from the rest of the world. Hence, your brand colors should feel like a comfort zone for your customers. Which colors you choose depend on your market and your audience. Go-to colors that work well are blues, greens, orange, or yellow. Contrast is important. You want your colors to pop, not clash, and not to be too bright to where they veer into a childish vibe.
You’re all about “Love your neighbor as yourself”. You want to elicit a perception of service, caring, warmth and reassurance. It’s about empathy, nurturing, and compassion. Your customers always come first. Your target audience relies on you for compassion and support. They are more likely to respond to marketing campaigns that incorporate emotional elements or show empathy towards their lifestyle. There is, however, a very fine line between showing empathy or giving motherly advice and coming across as bossy and overbearing. You should aim for a softer color palette. Soft blues and greys, muted pinks or greens, buttery yellows.
The Ruler sees power as not just everything, but the only thing. You communicate control, a sense of being commanding, refined, and articulate. Your brand style shows your audience that you are the best of the best. Louis Vuitton, Mercedes-Benz, and Rolex are known to use this kind of archetype. Everything you do should show that you lead the market. Your brand colors should show expertise and control. Your audience is just as domineering as your brand. Use strong and deep colors to evoke the feeling of power that your audience craves. Black, deep blues, and dark purples are associated with luxury and sophistication. Depending on your market segment you can also use other power colors like red or orange. Aim for rich and bold colors in a controlled design.
The Creator is all about innovation and inspirations. Your core audience is resistant to traditional advertising, so your goal is to style a brand that feels different and authentic. You can be daring, bold, or provocative with your colors or go minimal black and white. Your brand needs to stand out in a crowded market as something that deserves their attention. You can use bold colors like hues of oranges, reds. You can even spice it up by using tinges of black and teal.
You keeps things simple. Life is simple and simplicity is freedom. You attract people who are looking for a utopia so keep your style optimistic, honest, and humble. Your people are drawn to safety and simplicity so bold or high contrast in your color palette doesn’t work. Colors that resonate well with a Dreamer brand are all soft or mid-tones for teal, green, blues, greys, or pinks.
The Sage is truthful, guiding, and credible. Your audience wants to be able to see you as a reliable source of information. The colors you choose should send a message of assurance and trustworthiness. Win them over by celebrating their intelligence and don’t oversimplify. Deep blues, greens, or purples work nicely for a Sage, preferably balanced with charcoal and white or off white.
The Explorer is free, a risk-taker, and never satisfied with the status quo. Your customers love their independence and crave more of it. They’re ready to brave the unknown. While The Explorer is usually associated with outdoors and travel, it’s more about the mindset than the segment. Wandering may be geographic but it can be a personal journey or a break out business. Colors that evoke nature are an easy go-to like deep browns, greys, greens, blues or oranges.
It’s important to note here. These are suggestions, not rules. Most colors can be adapted to most archetypes depending on the other elements of the brand style, how the colors come together, and in what shades. What matters most is that the overall brand sends emotional and psychological signals that are true to who you are.