By Walter Moore
Branding is a rigorous process that companies undertake to ensure that the right image is conveyed to their customers. This process leads to the creation of a brand identity that is always associated with the brand. Brand identity includes core elements like logo type, brand marks, typography, illustrations, icons, characters, slogan and most importantly color!
Color is such an integral part of the entire brand identity that it alone is capable of creating an emotional brand recall. For instance, when you see the brilliant yellow golden arches of McDonald’s, you know that great fast food is around the corner. Researchers have also proved time and again that colors have an impact on the mood and emotions of people. Color theory is often used to determine what the right color is for a particular audience and logo designers at Designhill take care to include this in their logo design.
Brands take their colors so seriously that many of them have trademarked it! Tiffany & Co. have the Robin Egg Blue color, UPS has the Pullman Brown color, Post-its have the canary yellow, Target has the fire engine red, and Louboutin has even trademarked the red outsole for shoes. While it’s difficult to trademark colors universally, many of these big companies have exclusive rights for their category. So no other jeweler apart from Tiffany & Co. can use the Robin Egg Blue color for any of their brandings.
Impact of color on the identity
- On a target audience – Color appeals to people. Differently, gender is one such factor. Men and women perceive colors differently; women prefer bright colors while men prefer subtle and dark colors. The same goes for age as well; youthful brands wish to bring in energy in their brand colors while older segments prefer the stability of solid and traditional colors. Brands have to decide on their brand color based on the appropriate targeting of their audience.
- On the category – The category of a product also has an impact on the color of the brand. Certain colors are associated with specific items or products. For example, green is never associated with food because it reminds one of fungus, nausea or foods turning bad! Yellow and red are often used for food brands. The reverse is true for outdoor gear or travel companies; they use colors like green, brown and blue to indicate the outdoors and would never use striking or blending colors like red and yellow!
- On the culture – Color has cultural connotations as well. This is why when brands turn multi-national it becomes important that they convey the same message across countries. Religion, race, ethnicity, language all have an impact on the color chosen to identify a brand. Like white color indicates purity and innocence in the USA but the same white denotes mourning in China!
- On conversions – Colors also impact the conversion of sale. Some colors like green or red create an urgency or approval to go ahead with the task at hand. Flash sales are announced with red color often to indicate the emergency of getting the best discounts! This is critical when creating website design because the right colors make the difference between a sale or no sale. The best way to go about this is to conduct A/B test to find out which color works best for your brand and website.
- On continuity – Colors can be seasonal, some offbeat shade will rule the roost, and every brand will use it in their marketing communication from flyer design to packaging design. However, it is important that a brand chooses a strong color for its logo design such that it can be used in perpetuity. Like the Coca Cola red, despite the changes in logo design, the color has remained creating a sense of familiarity for its consumers. The consistency in the color creates trust and dependability.
Choosing colors for brand identity
According to color theory, different colors emanate unique feelings and emotions. Here is a basic guideline to follow while choosing colors for your brand.
- Red – Red instantly stimulates feelings of passion and excitement. It also creates a sense of urgency and impulse which is why many brands like food and entertainment use red in their logo. Coca Cola is the biggest brand that uses red and is consistently associated with it. Pizza Hut, KFC use red and other brands like Dominos and McDonalds use it as one of their colors. Entertainment brands like Netflix and Youtube most popularly use red as their brand color. They contrast it with white to create bold and striking images; this is especially crucial as these logos are often used as mobile apps. Apps have very little visual space on the screen to entice and urge the customer to open the app; hence the bold colors work well!
- Yellow – Sunshine! That’s the predominant thing that is associated with the yellow color. It is a color that signifies hope, optimism and new beginnings. It is generally considered to be a cheerful color and indicates happiness and vitality. It is often used in family products as well as by food businesses. The most famous example is the McDonalds logo; the golden arches have become so popular that the sight of them instantly creates hunger! Brands also use yellow to create a trust factor as several brands which depend on customer trust like yellow Pages, UPS, CAT, Shell, Post It and National Geographic all have yellow as their brand color. This urges the customers to trust them.
- Blue – It immediately connects to serenity, peace, and trust! The color throws up imagery of skies and water, a very calming color and has been used by brands to create trust. Most technology and banking services use blue as their brand color. Some of the famous brands are internet giants like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and AOL. Technology giants like Samsung, Philips, Siemens, GE, Intel, IBM, HP, SAP, and Dell. Automobile companies like BMW, Ford, Volkswagen, GM as well as consumer brands like Walmart, Danone, and Visa. It seems like the world’s biggest and most valuable brands all use blue, further reinforcing the importance of the color as a dependable, trusted and secure color.
- Green – Green just oozes of vitality, freshness, and prosperity. It denotes wealth as well as outdoors and nature. Several organic products companies, nature and outdoor companies and travel companies use this color in their branding. Some of the popular brands that use green in their branding are Starbucks, John Deere, Whole Foods, Land Rover, Lacoste, and BP. These brands convey freedom, health and the ease of living a wholesome life.
- Pink – This is a vibrant brand and often associated with female brands. It evokes a feeling of fun, youthfulness, and romance. Barbie is the biggest brand that uses pink; other brands that use pink in combination with other colors are T-Mobile, Taco Bell, and Baskin Robbins. Almost every brand customizes their female product lines with pink color.
- Orange – Orange is another popular color for brands as it gives out a happy vibe. It seeks to be enthusiastic, affordable and energetic and brands like Fanta, Nickelodeon have used this color to appeal to their young audience. Amazon and Penguin Books are brands which use orange with black to create a strong and affordable brand.
The most important thing to remember is to ensure that your entire marketing communication is seamless and color coordinated. The logo color is the most important, but experts at Designhill opine that the same color needs to be used across marketing collaterals like website design, business card design, and packaging design, etc. to create the best impact on the customer!
Walter Moore is a renowned author who used to post articles on the leading technology blogs. With a large number of instagram followers, he also helps companies to get real Instagram likes and followers.