Accessibility in Branding Colours and the Power of Contrast

A designer working on a computer with exploding paint

In a world where visuals reign supreme, colour plays a crucial role in branding and marketing efforts. With this power comes responsibility. It’s important to ensure that your brand’s colours are accessible to all, including those with visual impairments.

Most people are familiar with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) international standard, which governs web accessibility standards. In this article, we’ll be focusing on the guidelines concerning contrast standards for text and graphics. In particular, how these standards relate to your brand’s colour palette. Additionally, we’ll delve into our agency’s current approach to considering accessibility when selecting branding colours.

The Role of Colour in Branding and Accessibility

Colour evokes emotions, creates associations, and helps your brand stand apart from competitors. From logos to website design, colour supports brand identity and consistency.

However, it’s vital to consider accessibility to ensure that your brand is inclusive and easily perceived by everyone. Our job is to strike a balance between the colours that resonate with your target audience and prioritizing accessibility. Only then can you create a strong brand that stands out while remaining welcoming and inclusive for all.

Two designers work on a branding project together, while considering accessibility

Designers have a responsibility to create inclusive and accessible brands that cater to the needs of all. Outlining this to clients is sometimes just as important.

Understanding Colour Contrast Guidelines and Vision Deficiencies

To promote accessibility, our team now makes it a priority to consider colour contrast guidelines in our branding process. A colour contrast ratio measures the difference between the luminance of two colours. A 4.5:1 ratio is recommended for text and images of text, ensuring legibility for people with vision impairments. In some circumstances, a 4.5:1 contrast ratio is a legal accessibility requirement for online materials.

Vision deficiencies can affect how people see text and graphics, and even perceive certain colours. By understanding these deficiencies and adhering to contrast guidelines, we can create a better brand and user experience for those affected.

Choosing and Testing Accessible Colours for Your Brand

When selecting colours for your brand, it’s essential to test combinations for accessibility. Several online tools can help evaluate contrast ratios, such as WebAIM’s Contrast Checker. By testing different colour combinations, you can create a palette that is both visually appealing and accessible.

At Baytek, we try to limit a brand’s primary colour palette to two colours (three at most). This approach helps create a strong visual identity, and simplifies the decision making process when it comes to accessibility. Ultimately, a well-defined, limited colour palette is easier for audiences to recognize and remember. This increases the effectiveness of your brand’s communication.

A screen capture of Web AIM showing the contrast between purple and white

A screen capture of Web AIM showing the contrast between purple and orange

Above, we are showing the results of testing Raymond EMC’s primary brand colours. Not only does the purple on white pass WCAG standards, but so does the combination of the two colours together. That means on their website we were free to use their purple for links and headers in the body copy, as well as on a block of their yellow (or vice versa).

Including Accessible Colours in Your Branding Strategy and Its Benefits

Creating a versatile colour palette with accessible options allows your brand to cater to a broader audience. Knowing they adhere to certain standards, we can confidently incorporate these colours into various branding elements. Touch-points such as logos, typography, social media and website design, will now have a greater clarity for all.

With your brand focusing on accessibility, it is demonstrating corporate social responsibility and enhancing user experience. This in turn can lead to increased recognition and engagement.


Accessibility in branding colours is a crucial aspect of creating an inclusive and successful brand. While it’s just one aspect of fostering a more inclusive brand, it’s an important area of responsibility to consider.

By understanding colour contrast guidelines and choosing colours that cater to those with vision impairments, we can create a positive user experience while promoting social responsibility. As a result, your brand will shine brighter, engage a wider audience, and make the world a little more clearer for everyone.


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