Colours might seem deceptively common and simple, yet they bring immense value to brands. They convey brand values and shape what consumers think of the companies.
Just by looking at three of the world’s biggest industries, we can identify several interesting concepts and factors behind some of the most famous brand colours.
Tech companies represent the future, and this is reflected in their brand colours. Some companies such as Google and Microsoft have opted for multi-coloured designs. But having a strong, bold colour remains the most popular choice for many companies in this sector.
There’s a surprisingly simple reason behind Facebook’s colour scheme. The man behind Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, is red-green colourblind. Blue is the colour that he can see best. Hence, blue was initially chosen because it seemed the “richest” to him. While this seems rather straightforward, there are other reasons why Facebook continues to use blue. For one, blue signifies trust and security. This is important for companies such as Facebook as they need to assure consumers that data remains confidential. Blue is also a neutral colour that is universally popular – people of different genders and ages can enjoy it. Other companies that use blue include social network rivals such as Twitter and Linkedin.
Spotify’s neon green brand colour stands out among its peers. The music-streaming giant recently switched to a lighter shade of green, drawing much attention and reactions from fans. In a statement, Spotify team explains that the neon green colour helps to make the brand fresher and more modern. This was to signify the brand’s shift towards a music culture, more lifestyle-based direction. According to the company, the colour also looks more “pop”, and thus appealing to the company’s main target audience of millennials. Concurrently, the colour looks peaceful and pleasing to the eyes, especially on screen. This logic is applied to companies like HTC and Razer.
Food and Beverage
Red and yellow reign supreme in the food and beverage industry, especially among fast food companies. On the other hand, a growing number of companies have embraced green, as the colour symbolises eco-friendliness and health.
McDonald’s (Red and Yellow)
McDonald’s yellow arches – against a red backdrop – have become so famous that it is now viewed as a symbol for globalisation. They are exhibited on a multitude of platforms, ranging from signages to TV commercials. Research has shown that a combination of red and yellow is highly effective in influencing our appetites. Red is attention seeking and encourages appetite, while yellow appears friendly and cheerful. Together, they provide the impression of quick and fuss-free satisfaction of hunger. Furthermore, red and yellow are warm and high-energy colours, inducing excitement among customers. As a result, the colours motivate customers to spend and leave quickly, which is important in a fast food company like McDonald’s. Likewise, fast food competitors such as Burger King and Carls’ Jr have adopted similar colour schemes.
Starbucks has one of the most iconic brands in the world. In 2011, the company made headlines when it ditched the logo’s outer ring layer, which contained the company’s name. Instead, Starbucks went for a more streamlined design, consisting of a siren (mermaid) against a green background. Not only did it simplify the colour palette, the colour green also provides an appealing, clean image. The green helps to highlight Starbucks’ growth as a company, demonstrating uniqueness and freshness. Moreover, the colour green informs the audience that the company is selling food products beyond just coffee. Subway and Tropicana are companies who have used this colour as well.
Fashion & Accessories
Even companies in the fashion industry – whose products come in a large variety of colours – have chosen to stick to a consistent and unique colour scheme for their branding.
Uniqlo (red and white)
Uniqlo’s logo consists of a bright red background with white Katakana (One form of Japanese writing) or English letters. The arrangement of the letters and the choice of colours match the Japanese flag. In fact, the designers brightened the shade of red to reinforce the similarities. This sends a subconscious message to the viewer that Uniqlo is a proud Japanese brand. Many people around the world today view the Japanese in a favourable light, associating them with values such as honesty, efficiency and creativity. Hence, Uniqlo is able to capitalise on such perceptions. At the same time, the red also represents passion and power. Both qualities make the brand more exciting and desirable to consumers. Red is used by other fashion companies, H & M and Levi’s, too.
Tiffany and Co. (Robin-Egg Blue)
The distinctive robin’s egg-blue colour is synonymous with Tiffany and Co. In the 19th century, the colour was a favourite among Victorian brides. The brides often gave turquoise-coloured brooches as mementos to their attendants, so they would not forget the joyous occasion. Tiffany’s founder, Charles Lewis Tiffany, picked up on this characteristic and selected the colour for the company’s branding. Soon, it became an icon of sophistication and luxury. Alongside the famous Tiffany Blue Box, shopping bags and other marketing materials begin to display this colour prominently. Today, the robin’s egg-blue is trademarked and evokes a legacy of elegance and glamour.
These examples show how the colours of a company are a critical element in branding. If you are curious to learn more about branding, check out our article describing how companies have successfully rebranded their logo here.