Using color matching tools to enhance your branding

You've been asked to create a flyer for your non-profit or small business and you're staring at a blank screen wondering where to start. You open the free programs on your computer (Publisher, Word, etc.) and browse through the templates, scanning outdated clipart and wordart that will surely put you in the same category as the latest yard sale flyer. There is a better way!

"The image we present of our organization must reflect the impact we believe our organization makes."

Translation: cheesy, clipart graphics and inconsistent branding tells your audience that you're not as professional or capable as you profess. Nine times out of 10, that's not a fair representation but unfortunately, with so many getting it right, you're going to need to step up your game.

Luckily for you, there are some easy and FREE ways to do this. I'm going to give you a few ideas! 

Design tools

I've spent a year learning how to use Adobe Illustrator and I'm still not in the expert category. It costs about $30/month as well as the cost of my time and many trainings I've done. While I prefer it to many of the free tools, there are still some times I use the free resources for quick projects. 

► Canva

You've heard of this, no doubt, and maybe even used it. There are thousands of free templates including some for flyers, brochures, menus, etc. It's not just for social media graphics. I also recommend going through many of the Canva tutorials

► Google

If you're using Microsoft Publisher, I recommend moving over to Google. If you don't have a Gmail account, you can still create a Google account and access Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc. The templates there are much more current in design that the traditional Office Suite. Plus as a bonus, you'll be able to save everything in the Cloud and access it from anywhere or share it with co-workers. 

Branding/Color Matching

We've already talked about making sure you are using a transparent logo for all of your design files. It's equally as important to make sure your brand colors are consistent among all of your print and online materials. Here's a quick rundown of the color-matching terms you should know:

► Hex code

A color hex code is a way of specifying color using hexadecimal values. The code itself is a hex triplet, which represents three separate values that specify the levels of the component colors. The code starts with a pound sign (#) and is followed by six hex values or three hex value pairs (for example, #AFD645).


RGB (red, green, and blue) refers to a system for representing the colors to be used on a computer display. Red, green, and blue can be combined in various proportions to obtain any color in the visible spectrum. Levels of R, G, and B can each range from 0 to 100 percent of full intensity.


The CMYK color model (process color, four color) is a subtractive color model, used in color printing, and is also used to describe the printing process itself. CMYK refers to the four inks used in some color printing: cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black).

Now, before you tune out, it really isn't very complicated to find the values that you are already using. I like using ColorZilla - it's a Chrome Extension that lets you select anything on a webpage and see what color it is, giving you both the RGB values and the hex code. If you don't use Google Chrome, you can also use this site to accomplish the same thing by uploading a photo that you want to color match. 

Once you have the numbers, you can plug those into Canva when you are designing a new document:

Changing the hex code in Canva.png

With these free resources and a little bit of effort, you can really improve the look and feel of your design work! Try it and out and let me know how it goes. Need a little help creating some new materials? Let me know and I'd be happy to send you a quote. You can find all of my services over on my website at

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