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Starting to plan for a pop-up is an exciting time, especially as you begin to think of all the possibilities it has for your creativity to run wild. As you begin to craft the concept and aesthetic of the store you may have a bunch of unique and fun ideas but with that comes the potential for a confusing, un-cohesive design if too many of them are put into play. To avoid this we recommend always starting with your design foundation and then seeing which ideas can work within these guidelines. Your design foundation should include your materials, your budget, and of course, your color palette.

Where to Begin

When creating your color palette for your pop-up store design it is important to make sure the colors represent your brand’s DNA. In order to start at a point that truly captures your brand, we suggest:

Brand Colors: you can use the palette already created during initial branding or draw colors from your logo.
Store Concept or Theme: if your store is based on a specific concept (for example nautical, urban, mod etc.) use colors that fit within the aesthetic of that theme.
Trends: use forecasting sites and pantone’s color(s) of the year to base your palette on to help draw in press.
Inspirational Image: source an amazing lifestyle image of your brand that you feel perfectly fits or it may be an image you recently came across that you feel screams your brand.


After you decide where to draw your inspiration from for your palette, it is always important to make sure the colors chosen create a full cohesive assortment that works best for creating a retail setting. To ensure this, you should ask yourself the following questions:

Are they all the same tone? (warm vs. cool) Does this tone match the brand/theme?
What are my neutral colors? (these are the backbone of the design, typically used for wall colors and fixtures, and should make up most of the palette)
What are my bold or “fashion colors”? (these are your accent colors mainly used for décor elements,)
Do the colors compliment each other?

Helpful Tools

Once you have a solid starting point, we recommend utilizing one of the available apps created to eliminate the daunting task of hand picking each individual color for your palette. Programs like ColorSnap by Sherwin Williams or Color Viewfinder allow you to download an image and will automatically create a palette. Upload your chosen image, whether it’s your logo, brand lifestyle image, inspirational image, etc., and review the palette you are given. You can then use the questions above to decide if the group of colors the app suggests are on brand, or you can adjust until you find the perfect assortment.

Setting a color palette as part of your core design foundation is an integral part of pop-up preparation. Once you determine this, along with your main materials and budget, all dynamic design ideas can be created with this direction in mind, ultimately leading to a beautiful and cohesive store design.