Campaign Colors

Campaign Color Palette

The color palette will create the first impression that a campaign has on its audience. As with every other element of your design, the colors you choose should reflect the values of your project. They should also improve the clarity and readability of your design, helping to direct the viewer’s attention and ensuring the legibility of text.

The vast majority of DSA campaigns will incorporate the color red, specifically DSA Red. Incorporating lighter tints of DSA Red or DSA Black is a great way to add depth to your designs without including additional colors.

Some will veer from DSA colors for specific reasons. 

Incorporating Additional Colors

Many DSA campaigns include colors beyond DSA Red and DSA Black

A great way to build a palette is to use a tool that generates secondary colors based on a main color. Websites like Coolors, Adobe Color, and Paletton can suggest colors to create a palette.

If you are collaborating with another organization, consider blending DSA colors with their color palette.

Campaign Color Palette Examples

Here are a few examples of colors in use by a variety of DSA campaigns.

Most DSA projects conform to the DSA standard color palette. The quintessential example of this is the Medicare for All campaign, which uses the standard DSA color palette to great effect (aided by the traditional association of the color red with healthcare).

Depending on the nature of your campaign, you may feel that the prominence of red needs to be toned down. For its independent campaign to support Bernie Sanders, New York City DSA developed a color scheme using a desaturated red and blue on cream, referencing the blue and red colors of the official campaign while standing out as something unique.

Your campaign may even decide that it should not use red at all. A good example of this was East Bay DSA’s Bread for Ed campaign. This project provided food for students, teachers, and community members during a strike by the Oakland Education Association. The choice to use the union’s color palette rather than DSA’s foregrounded the union in the campaign and benefited the campaign’s wider purpose to build trust and solidarity between the union, the chapter, and the community.

Clarity and Readability

As always, when it comes to choosing colors, clarity and readability are among the most important considerations. Colors must be carefully chosen to ensure accessibility, and your style guidelines will often need to specify recommended ways of using your colors to avoid conflicts.

For example, the design below grants the designer a great deal of flexibility to present the logo in different color combinations depending on the context. But as you can see, red text on green (and vise versa) does not work and must be avoided.

If you’re unsure whether a certain combination is sufficiently readable, you can use an automatic contrast checker like this one.

Last modified: November 10, 2020