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Illustrations are potent tools of communication. If used wisely, they are capable of creating wonders, especially in the world of branding. Illustrations can profoundly impact the viewer, thus imprinting the brand in a potential customer’s mind. This aspect has edged several marketing specialists to urge upcoming brands to associate themselves with an original illustration. Read further to understand the use of illustration in branding, as explained by the Italian illustrator Monica Alletto.

Illustrations by Monica Alletto
Space Travel, 2019

The first impression is essential for forming any sort of lasting bond. When it comes to a product, this first impression is established through branding. By definition, branding is a process through which a company ascertains its identity by creating a name, design, and symbol unique to it. This vital process is bought to fruition with cleverly composed, thoughtfully drafted designs, often accompanied by gorgeous illustrations.

Illustrations by Monica Alletto
Il Miglior Riparo, 2021

It is through the use of such wonderous illustrations that Monica Alletto, a renowned illustrator from Italy, designs illustrations for brands. Born in Palermo, Sicily, Monica graduated in didactics and Pedagogy of Art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Palermo. Her habitual practice of seeking challenges and continuous self-learning resulted in her signature style where vibrant colours and soft shapes are predominant. Monica boasts a brilliant career that is divided between exhibitions, magazines, agencies and publishing houses.

Illustrations by Monica Alletto
Gira_Sola, 2019

Her illustrations are a result of her keen observation, experimentation, passion and rigorous practice. “Illustration has always been an important part of my life. It helped me communicate with others while also helping me overcome my walls of insecurities that only became higher with age. Thus, there is no defined beginning for when I started to illustrate. It has always been with me and always will be.”

Illustrations by Monica Alletto
Cover Catalogues Margò_2020/2021_ “Bali, Africa, Caribbean and Maldives”

These illustrations are not just another work of art, but a tool of communication, narrating the brand’s story and its ideals. But its function does not end there; “the illustration must also increase the product’s potential, both in terms of appearance and sales to the customer. Shapes, colours and signs must be able to communicate with each other and in turn with the product, with the sole objective of making you understand what you are sponsoring,” explains Monica.

Illustrations by Monica Alletto
Cover Catalogues Margò_2020/2021_“ Maldives”

Hence, one can simply state that communication is a highly crucial aspect of a design. While being a visual treat, the illustration must also engage with the potential consumers and enforce the brand ideals. To communicate these effectively, Monica offers three critical factors to keep in mind during the designing process, and they are, “The theme, the sensation to be showcased and the audience Once these three factors are defined, the chances of success in the production phase will be higher. I want to add a fourth factor, which in my opinion, should never be missing. It is ‘the unexpected’. This factor leaves the possibility of inserting something at random, which might have seemed wrong initially, but can work up to your advantage if analysed and implemented correctly,” elucidated the artist.

Cover Catalogues Margò_2020/2021_ “Greece”

But these factors hardly scratch the surface. To successfully narrate and reflect the brand, the illustrator must first know the brand and product. “It is necessary to talk with those who work closely with the product, enquire its origin, the target audience and possible changes in its future. Understanding the history of the brand is also crucial. These will ensure that the illustration increases the product’s appeal, mirror the brand’s history and hint at innovation.”

BioSicilia soft drinks - Bibite Polara, 2019

Alletto’s signature style is a minimalistic illustration, sketched with simple shapes and a vibrant colour palette. These illustrations deliver a clear message in the simplest form. “These minimal artworks arise from the most complex thoughts. After a thorough analysis of the theme and rigorous brainstorming, a beautiful idea is born. Once all the superfluous things are taken away, the idea is clear and simple,” comments Alletto.

The idea is then implemented through cleverly composed art pieces consisting of basic shapes. “An illustration in its simplest form carries with it a very clear message, even as it leaves some room for personal interpretation. A message becomes apparent only when it is understandable to as many people as possible. Hence, the more universal the form, the higher the read.” The artist further explains their composition process, “A composition works if the elements find their balance and provide a coherent overall picture.

But finding the perfect balance between elements is not immediate. I draw series of drafts; this will take me to the final work. I start with the sketches of all the illustration’s crucial elements and work with them, like a puzzle, until I find the perfect balance for that illustration.”

Monica’s passion for art is profound and asks young artists to let their passion guide them. “When you create something, be it for yourself or a client, your love for what you do should motivate your work. Your passion for your work will help you excel in your field, help you stand out and remain fresh and current. Your art is your mirror; it reflects you. So, always be sincere, and you will learn to love your work.”

Published in Issue 52

The pandemic has brought many different challenges for everyone. But educating our young ones is among the top priority. The issue focused on how design education is still possible while most of us are locked in our homes. We also interacted with illustrators and photographers such as Jasjyot Singh Hans and Anirudh Agarwal, who seem to stand firm with their uniqueness in this time of chaos. Overall this issue serves food for thought with visually stunning creativity on a single platter.

 

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Usually, the idea of working on the creative front for a Government project is not welcomed by many studios. But Lopez Design has accepted the challenges that come along with these big scale projects and have been successful in carrying out the same.

Branding for National Impact

India is a globe in itself with a population of almost 1.4 billion, it is important to create experiences that belong to us. Design is about people and the Government is the largest client in context to the impact it creates – it is an opportunity to design for millions. Taking on a Government project replaces the notion that design is for an elitist audience with the idea of design being for the masses.

A Rigorous Process

Government projects involve tedious processes – right from extensive documentation to verification of credentials and adherence to formal guidelines. Nevertheless, this struggle needs to be done to get recognition from the Government – that good design is important and can make a difference.

Design

Studio Lopez Designs’ first major project was identity and branding, communication collaterals, website design, social media and signage for Bihar Museum, with biggest challenges being dealing with the bureaucracy at the administrative level and getting payments and approvals sanctioned. Patience and persistence are the secrets to move forward in such kinds of projects.

Design

A Measured Gamble that Pays Off

A client picks Lopez Design recognising the potential and brand value. Equally, we take the initiative to bid for Government projects as the prospect of designing for a larger audience outweighs the tedium of administrative processes and other risks. Because of our rigorous and thorough design process, we usually get it right the first time, rarely facing opposition, in spite of going through the many levels of authority.

 

Under the umbrella of UNICEF, we were commissioned to do the branding of the Health and Wellness Centers of the Ayushman Bharat program.

Design

Indian Designers can be Catalysts

We have garnered achievements largely by pushing boundaries and rising against the stereotypical application of design. Making the design, region, and nation-specific and addressing the character, language, and behaviour, imparting an authentic feel to the design.

Design


In Ayushman Bharat, the branding program was about painting the walls of 1.5 lakh local primary health care centres. Creating a national brand and yet a local brand was an achievement by which each HWC has its own unique character. By allowing people the creative power in execution, they became catalysts in the design process.

Simplicity and Creativity in Implementation

Sometimes following standard design practice and providing all specifications falls flat. In the Ayushman Bharat project, created a system with an element of creativity: a simple brand manual with 3 to 4 steps to bring a level of consistency and giving ownership to people at the ground level. This worked wonders and yielded beautiful results. People took responsibility and delivered within the time period. Leaving implementation to the people was a bold and necessary step, but was successful.

 

These projects outshine many corporate projects because of their scale and reach. It was a moment to take pride in our design process as it is making a difference to the nation.

Published in Issue 44

Behind every successful studio, artist or designer there are stories of challenges, struggles and their unique solutions to these. With this issue, we interviewed many well-known names from the creative industry and found their different learnings and experiences behind making their own self as a brand. Though they all have a different take on this topic, still they all unanimously emphasise on focusing on their skills and quality delivery of the final outcome. So, if you are looking to establish yourself as a brand in the creative market or already in the process of it, this issue is a must read. Full of insights and inspirations from the best of the talents, this issue is waiting to reach your desks.

 


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For the majority of good design, less is, in fact, more. Rahul Bhogal and his team at Nothing Design Studio aim to declutter and simplify brand identities and strategies to make a memorable experience for their user bases.

Brand Identities by Rahul Bhogal
Making Waves Swim School, Facility Design

Brand Identities by Rahul Bhogal
Making Waves Swim School, Signages

Rahul Bhogal is a ‘meticulous maker of well-crafted brand identities’, and it definitely shows. He has clocked over ten years as a graphic designer and art director, specialising in brand identity and digital design. Rahul runs an independent design studio called ‘Nothing’, which at first glance, may seem an interesting title choice for a visual-heavy enterprise. Initially starting as a joke inspired by a Seinfeld episode (“The Pitch”), he found that the name resonated with his spiritual journey and desire to explore our world. As a bonus, he tells us it’s a great conversation starter at the very least.

Brand Identities by Rahul Bhogal
Spline Group

Brand Identities by Rahul Bhogal
Spline Group

Brand Identities by Rahul Bhogal
Spline Group, Outdoor signage

When asked about his design philosophy, Rahul quotes Sadhguru, “Forget philosophies, embrace reality.” He finds philosophies to be creatively crippling, closed off and restrictive, choosing instead to follow a practice to do what he loves while being passionately detached from the work he produces. Rahul expands the thought to keep curiosity alive and design for delight, empathy, coherence, and trust.

Brand Identities by Rahul Bhogal
Spline Group, Website



Brand Identities by Rahul Bhogal
Spline Group, Website.

Rahul’s experience in the industry has revealed that most brands struggle with establishing a solid connection with an audience due to being unclear about their user base. Catering to vague demographics and personas affects their ability to provide a memorable experience or produce creative methods of communication impacting their overall brand identity.

Canary Dental, Identity and signage.

Canary Dental, Identity and signage.

He tackles this by gaining clarity on the problem his clients are trying to solve and determining the metrics used to measure success. Working within these parameters allows him to reduce the solution (design or strategy) to its core for the most impact. Echoing Dieter Rams, Rahul believes that “simplicity is the key to excellence” and believes there is elegance and sophistication to the reductive design.

Art as Therapy, Brand Collateral

Art as Therapy, Brand Collateral

An excellent example of this mentality is the brand identity redesign for the Spline Group. Exploring the case study, you can see how Rahul directs the vision towards stripping away all the bells and whistles of the old identity, eventually leaving a customised wordmark and a striking colour palette that makes its presence felt. For a brand in the engineering space, this modern overhaul inspires a modern, professional, and dependable identity that cuts to the chase. The website design had an honourable mention on Awwwards, and AIGA featured the identity in its members’ gallery.

Brand Identities by Rahul Bhogal
Game6 Sports Academy,
Identity, court design, and team jersey.



“I’m interested in creating work that is inspired by culture and community” – a trait that we see with his self-initiated creative projects inspired by Sikh culture. On the one hand, the work features a gorgeous painting of Guru Nanak in a meditative state and a playful “Sikher than your average” t-shirt design on the other.

Brand Identities by Rahul Bhogal
Source of Nature, Branding and packaging.

We asked Rahul about his experience navigating the pandemic and if he had any new insights about the future of the design market. He found it challenging due to a lack of human interaction and collaborative environments. Still, as the world is headed towards digital experiences, he has taken the opportunity to understand human behaviour and emotions within these constraints.

Bramptonist, Swag with messaging

Published in Issue 52

The pandemic has brought many different challenges for everyone. But educating our young ones is among the top priority. The issue focused on how design education is still possible while most of us are locked in our homes. We also interacted with illustrators and photographers such as Jasjyot Singh Hans and Anirudh Agarwal, who seem to stand firm with their uniqueness in this time of chaos. Overall this issue serves food for thought with visually stunning creativity on a single platter.

 


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The brand identity of ‘The Earth Collective‘ created by Manav Sachdev Design Studio (MSDS). The Earth Collective brings premium haircare range inspired by the goodness of nature. Believing in the process of finding beauty in everything around us, this brand has conducted extensive research and study to develop products with organic and natural ingredients, since it is their firm belief that hair care is an integral part of human existence.

Brand Identity of The Earth Collective

Brief

 

‘The Earth Collective’ required a visual identity that had to be designed from scratch. The visual identity of the brand includes brand logo, illustrations, packaging and website. The essence of the brand and their morals had to be brought out through fresh, unique and creative visuals which connected with the consumers instantly. The brand’s integration of nature and science must be showcased through its visual identity.

Brand Identity of The Earth Collective


Brand Identity of The Earth Collective

Challenges

The brand’s visual identity needs to stand apart from the others in the market, which is already cluttered with several similar products. The identity must also speak for brand and all that they stand for, which include the glorious union of nature and science. The rare and natural ingredients used in the product must be present in the brand’s visual identity. It is also crucial that the brand’s essence, which is nature coming together, must be represented strongly.

Solution

The brand strategy was focused on hair care inspired by nature. To signify this, the studio incorporated the five elements of nature in the logo, which resemble hair strands that make a solution for healthy hair. The logotype also signifies the earth’s hemisphere, which contains the rare and natural ingredients for the products. The team also represented the unique union of nature and science, which resulted in these products. Elements of the logo have been illustrated on the packaging. The brand’s identity has been kept elegantly minimal with a carefully handpicked pastel colour palette.

Published in Issue 51

Business, studios, agencies, freelancer all have different perspectives to handle the pandemic and hurdle it brings. While some find pandemic an obstacle which will soon fade away and on the other hand, few saw opportunities in the same. Many creatives used the past few months to reflect on their styles and horn their art. Many utilized it for collaboration opportunities with national and international creatives. This issue is a must-read if you are looking for insights, inspirations and ways to bounce back in this unlocking phase.

 


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NH1 Design takes us through its approach behind freshly branding a local Indian street food outlet while ensuring that it retains an identity credible of being authentic, fun, young and affordable.

Brief

The Ahmadabad market had been selling anything but authentic Vada Pav (typically, a local Mumbai delicacy); brands were serving it with cheese, Spinach, and cholle (a form of peas). The essential idea for Majja, a quick-service restaurant selling Indian street food as a branded and hygienic experience, was thus to reinforce the delicacy’s authenticity. Targeting the youth and office-goers, who prefer a quick snack at an affordable price, the challenge was to create a brand synonymous with authentic taste, fun, young and affordability.

NH1 - Branding

The Concept

The word Majja (fun) is commonly used across India, especially in Gujarat. We created a fun verbal brand language that could be easily understood across different languages and cultures – a friendly tone of voice that completely aligned with the brand ethos.

The Solution

The visual story was inspired by the street life of Mumbai. The use of illustrated stories of people and the streets of Mumbai further emphasised the authenticity of the Vada Pav.

NH1 - Branding
NH1 - Branding
NH1 - Branding
NH1 - Vada Pav
NH1 - Branding
NH1 - Branding
NH1 - Branding
NH1 - Branding
NH1 - Vada Pav
NH1 - Vada Pav
NH1 - Vada Pav
NH1 - Vada Pav
NH1 - Vada Pav

Together, the visual and verbal language established a consistent set of assets for the brand. Every touch-point was meticulously detailed. Applications included signage, environmental graphics, packaging, stationery, website, adverts, tent cards, floor graphics, social media posts, uniforms, food trucks, menu, danglers and others.

NH1 - Vada Pav
NH1 - Vada Pav
NH1-Vada Pav

Published in Issue 38

This issue, we try to explore different views from many well-known studio owners and senior designers. While Anthony Lopez of Lopez Design shared tips on what a studio looks for in a designer, Mohar Ray from Codesign highlights the key aspects that play a significant role and make the difference in whether you are hired or not as a promising designer. Also, this issue has an insightful article on ‘Branding with reason and love’ from Itu Chaudhuri, founder ICD (Itu Chaudhuri Design) along with Siddhi Ranade, explaining his tools of story telling through his unique style of illustrations. This issue is a must read for a talented graduate to a branding expert. Order you copy and enjoy reading it!

 


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The brand identity of the Afforestation project called Forestscaping created by Pratyush Gupta. Urban forestry is critical to the resilience of cities as they absorb carbon and pollution, aid flood resistance, and enhance human interaction with nature. Afforestt helps convert the tiniest of spaces into self-sustainable native forests which grow ten times faster, are 30 times denser and 100 times more biodiverse compared to conventional plantations. Starting from a mini forest in their backyard, they have grown over 130 forests across five countries around the globe.

Brand identity of Forestscaping. Forest

Brief from Forestscaping

 

Afforestt creates natural, wild and maintenance-free native forests. Forestscaping, a new offering by Afforestt, combines forests with art and architecture to transform barren properties into experiential spaces, where trees, animals and human beings can interact.

Brand identity of Forestscaping

Though a unique concept for India, Forestscaping needed to compete with multiple players in the landscape architecture industry, highlighting the advantage of growing forests instead of conventional gardens. It needed a brand identity that captured the strengths and essence of Forestscaping and exuded confidence and expertise.

Brand identity of Forestscaping. Forest

The Challenge

 

Forestscaping was targeted towards an affluent audience and required a positioning strategy that was distinct from Afforestt. The challenge was to cultivate a new personality for Forestscaping while holding Afforestt core values and beliefs.

It was challenging to capture the energy and joy of being one with the forest, at the same time, maintaining a level of sophistication and elegance to appeal to the audience.

Forestscaping just starting and didn’t have any photographs to showcase, hence we needed to create an identity which compensated for the lack of visuals and blend seamlessly with images once they were available.

Brand identity of Forestscaping. Forest

And the Solution

 

At the heart of the Forestscaping visual identity is a confident and elegant logotype. The G in the logotype has a leaf sprouting from its end, a subtle reference to forests and their beginning. The primary colours of the identity are green-representing forests, and gold – symbolising the wealth that forest create.

Brand identity of Forestscaping. Forest

A dynamic illustration language amalgamates forests, animals and people to create various forestscapes that bring to life diverse touchpoints. The illustration style has been inspired by Varli and Sohrai art forms, providing the visuals with an earthy aesthetic rooted in Indian culture.

“I see Pratyush work as an outcome of extreme creativity that produces some of the simplest yet brilliant art. His clear understanding of people perception makes him a business problem solver. He is a deep listener and can see the world through the eyes of his clients. Working with him created a synergy that improved our work and elevated our perception towards it”

 


Shubhendu Sharma
Founder and Director at Afforestt

Every year many exceptional design briefs are being answered with brilliant solutions by many talented designers. Some manage to reach the limelight through awards and other recognitions, but not all. And that is where the ‘DCS-01’ comes into the picture with detailed case studies highlighting the challenges, research, and the unique solutions to each obstacle faced in reaching these final design solutions. An inspiration and a collection of quality design projects created in India recently.

 

So, if you are creative freelancer, agency, studio, corporate or a design student, who needs inspiration and want to know the process of making great designs, then this is a must-have book for your collection. Order it today to reserve a copy of this limited stock book.

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Colours form an integral part of the world we live in. And more often than not, our feelings, emotions and even taste can be validated with colours! According to an article written by Charles Spence in BioMed Central 2015, five colour-taste studies were conducted and their results indicate some startling results.

For example, the colours black, purple and violet are widely associated with bitterness. White and blue is associated with the salty sea. Yellow and green represent a sour taste, because of its obvious recall to limes and lemons. Sweet is linked to pink or red.

Truth be told, colours can have a major influence on people’s purchase decisions. Most brands are associated with one or more colours; organizations have embraced the colour psychology as a major driver in their branding strategy. Why? Because people are drawn to certain colours for certain reasons and they carry associations with objects and tend to feel them.

Colour - Lollypop Design

As designers, we need to pay detailed attention to the colours we choose while designing a brand. Colour creates contrast, hierarchy, balance & rhythm. Choosing the right colour palette is important as it not only creates interest but also creates an emotional or subconscious connect with the people. Here are a few tips by Shrivathsan Raguraman, Sr. UI Designer of Lollypop Design, have a look.

Understanding Colours is Understanding Product

Colour - Lollypop Design

Research indicates that 85% of the decision made by individuals towards choosing a product was based on colours only. Colours carry an emotional value; each colour emotes different feelings and perception; these aren’t general emotions that are associated with it but the whole nature itself is built around it and perceived in a psychological aspect. For example:


Red – energy, power, and passion
Green – ambition, growth, freshness, and safety
Blue – tranquillity, confidence, and intelligence
Yellow – happiness, intellect, and energy
Black – power, elegance, and mystery
White – cleanliness, purity, and perfection

Questions and Considerations Before Choosing a Colour Palette

Before we get to explaining how to pick colours and go on to explaining the colour wheel, let’s be clear about a few fundamental questions that we should ask ourselves even before jumping on to the branding elements of the product. The questions would give you a sense of direction and make life simpler:

1) Are we designing for a brand new product or an established brand?

Brand New Product: Fresh branding might require you to understand the reasoning and the emotional connect of the brand. It will give you much-needed freedom to chose and play with your colours, unlike the defined products. We generally prefer to choose either monochromatic or complementary as they create more emotional value and a sense of purpose.

Defined product: One should understand the product and the guidelines it comes with. There might be many limitations or directions that we need to follow. So get acquainted with it. For example, Google or Microsoft has strict guidelines. In such cases, we suggest you choose the Analogous/ Triadic palette as they allow to stick to the prominent brand colour while allowing to play with the other colours from the wheel as an accent. It is like choosing a group of friendly neighbours to build a harmonious product.

2) Do we understand the product?

Colour - Lollypop Design


What is the intent of the product? What does it want to communicate? What problem does it want to solve? Who will use this product? These questions will lead us to shortlist the primary and secondary colours of the product.

3) Do we understand the users well?

Colour - Lollypop Design

Who are the users we are targeting? What are there behavioural graphs? What their mental models like? How tech-savvy are they? What region do they belong to? What is their culture? Everything comes into play when you are deciding on the brand colours. Ask as many relevant questions as possible.

4) Are we accommodating the W3C principle?

Colour - Lollypop Design

Choosing a palette also involves accessibility as one of the major challenges for a product designer. As a designer, you must ensure that the product is accessible by all sets of colour vision deficiency personas. Adding to that, textual contrast check is really important which needs to be done before adding any coloured text over any background colour. This allows us in covering the CVD people by providing them with an accessible product.

How do we choose the colours?

Finally, let’s decode the different sets of colours and principles that will always make life easier as designers. Always look up to the nature of the product when it comes to choosing colours but before you go overboard looking for inspiration you have to understand the basics of the colour wheel. Follow Colour theory 101; there are many diverse ways of picking colour sets that work together. Try to pick the combination best suited for you ranging from those that are easy to use till difficult to use. We’ll explain this further below:

• Complementary – Easy To Use

As the name suggests, these colours are placed adjacent to each other in the colour wheel. They complement each other perfectly. This colour scheme works best for brands that are trying to communicate reliability and a sense of balance. It’s like the colour blue says ‘you are beautiful’ to the colour orange, which complements its attributes, and vice versa.

RunAdam or Paytm Money are good examples of brands with complementary colours.

• Monochromatic – Easy To Use

These colours share the hues and tones of a base colour. When you use shades of the same colour, the ideal notion behind this is that it creates harmony and natural sync. Monochromatic colour sets are easy to remember since the user can associate these shades with one another and still can remember what brand or product it is.

Farmrise would be a great example of a monochromatic colour brand.

• Analogous – Exercise Caution

The word analogous means ‘comparable’. Under this, analogous colours refer to any set of colours on the colour wheel that are immediately adjacent, i.e, three colours left or right from the one of your choosing. As a set, these four colours will be considered as analogous colours. Analogous colours are preferred when there is a need to create a sense of harmony and contentment for brand design.

Paypal, Mastercard are good examples of brands with analogous colours.

• Triadic – You can try

This method is akin to choosing colours that are evenly spaced in an equilateral triangle. These colours are selected from the wheel in such a way that they provide high contrast and rich vibrancy in design. How do we do this? By picking colours, (to the left or right) that are equally spaced from one another on the colour wheel. For example, if you pick a specific colour on the wheel, you can go ahead and pick a colour that is three colours away on either side. These contrasting colours make for an effective, yet tough to create a palette.

Mozilla and Burger King are good examples of the brands with triadic colours.

• Tetradic – Are you brave enough?

This is a four-colour structure evenly spaced on the colour wheel. This scheme is best suitable if you want to create an accent with colours, ie, you choose one dominant colour and three accents supporting it. This colour scheme is similar to triadic, which creates a vibrant and strong palette but is tough to handle.

Google & Microsoft is a good example of a Tetradic colour scheme.

Suggested Tools

Our suggestions towards tools that can be used to choose your palette:

 

Coolors.co – It’s super easy to use and it can show you multiple analogous variations of a single hue.

Adobe Color – Make your own colour palette from colour-wheel to hexcode and easily use it with most adobe apps & software.

Canva Colour wheel – It helps to generate your combinations and help build your palette.

Hope this helps you in building a beautiful palette for your product, Happy branding!