How colour is used by the biggest brands

by | Mar 9, 2016 | Graphic Design, Website Design | 0 comments

Exploring the psychological impact of colour in the world of design

Colour is more than just a visual component of design; it’s an intricate dance of psychology, emotions, and associations that can profoundly influence how we perceive a brand. In fact, some of the world’s biggest brands owe much of their success to their strategic use of colour, tapping into our subconscious minds to create lasting impressions.

Let’s delve into the fascinating world of colour psychology and see how some of the most iconic brands use it to their advantage.

The boldness of red

Red is a powerful colour, often associated with passion, excitement, and urgency. It has the ability to grab our attention and evoke strong emotions, making it a popular choice for many major brands.

Energy and excitement in Coca Cola's red logo

Coca-Cola, for example, has used its signature red hue since the late 1800s. The bold colour conveys a sense of energy and excitement, reflecting the brand’s promise of refreshment and good times. Similarly, Netflix uses red to create a sense of excitement and anticipation, drawing viewers in with the promise of thrilling content.

Trust in the shade of blue

Blue is a colour that signifies trust, stability, and reliability. It’s no surprise that many brands in the tech and finance industries, where trust is paramount, choose to incorporate blue into their logos and designs.

IBM logo blue to signal trust and reliability

IBM, also known as “Big Blue,” is an excellent example of a brand that has leveraged the trust-inducing properties of the colour. The same goes for Facebook, which uses blue to convey a sense of security and dependability in the ever-changing world of social media.

The optimism of yellow

Yellow is synonymous with warmth, optimism, and happiness. It can evoke feelings of positivity and hope, making it an ideal choice for brands that want to convey a sense of joy and energy.

Colours in logo design; McDonalds yellow, Starbucks Green, Apple black, and UPS brown.

McDonald’s is a prime example of a brand that has embraced the power of yellow. The fast-food giant’s iconic golden arches are instantly recognisable, and their sunny hue radiates a sense of warmth and happiness that aligns with the brand’s family-friendly image.

The innovation of orange

Orange is a vibrant colour that blends the energy of red with the optimism of yellow. It’s often associated with creativity, innovation, and enthusiasm, making it an attractive choice for brands looking to communicate a sense of adventure and originality.

Amazon logo orange 'smile'

Amazon, for instance, uses a striking shade of orange in its logo, symbolising the company’s innovative spirit and commitment to delivering a positive customer experience. Similarly, Fanta uses orange to emphasise its playful, energetic, and youthful brand identity.

The soothing nature of green

Green is a colour that evokes feelings of balance, growth, and harmony. It’s often associated with nature, health, and wellbeing, making it an ideal choice for brands looking to convey a sense of tranquillity and sustainability.

Starbucks is a notable example of a brand that has harnessed the power of green. The company’s signature green logo reflects its commitment to ethically sourced coffee and sustainable practices, while also fostering a sense of calm and relaxation that invites customers to linger in their stores.

The sophistication of black

Black is a timeless and versatile colour that can symbolise luxury, sophistication, and authority. It’s often used by high-end brands to convey a sense of elegance and exclusivity.

Apple is a prime example of a brand that has embraced the power of black. The company’s minimalist black logo and product design evoke a sense of sophistication and cutting-edge technology, aligning perfectly with the brand’s ethos of innovation and premium quality.

The purity of white

White is a colour that represents purity,

simplicity, and cleanliness. It’s often associated with minimalism and can be used by brands to convey a sense of clarity and focus.

Google Logo on a Generous White Background

Google, for instance, relies on a predominantly white design in its homepage and logo. The simplicity and cleanliness of the white space communicate the brand’s commitment to delivering straightforward, user-friendly search results. Similarly, Tesla uses white in its logo and branding to represent the company’s clean energy mission and forward-thinking approach to electric vehicle technology.

The luxury of purple

Purple has long been associated with royalty, luxury, and sophistication. It’s a colour that can evoke feelings of opulence, making it an attractive choice for brands looking to communicate a sense of indulgence and exclusivity.

Cadbury's purple logo

Cadbury, the iconic chocolate brand, is known for its distinctive purple packaging, which reflects the brand’s commitment to delivering high-quality, indulgent confections. Similarly, the luxury fashion brand Versace incorporates purple into its designs, underscoring the brand’s status as a symbol of glamour and extravagance.

The practicality of brown

Brown is a colour that signifies practicality, stability, and reliability. It’s often associated with earthiness and can be used by brands to convey a sense of groundedness and dependability.

UPS, the global logistics and delivery company, uses brown as its primary brand colour. Known as “Big Brown,” the company’s identity is built around the idea of reliable, efficient service, and the brown in their logo and vehicles helps to reinforce this message.

The nurturing shades of pink

Pink is a colour that often evokes feelings of compassion, nurturing, and warmth. It’s associated with love and caring, making it a popular choice for brands looking to convey a sense of empathy and emotional connection.

An example of a caring Pink logo from Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK, for example, has adopted a vibrant shade of pink for its “Race for Life” events, symbolising hope, love, and support for those affected by cancer. Additionally, the cosmetics brand Glossier uses a soft, pastel pink in its branding, reflecting the company’s focus on self-care, self-love, and gentle beauty products.

The power of colour psychology

As we’ve seen, colour plays a critical role in shaping our perceptions of brands and their values. By understanding the psychological impact of different colours, businesses can strategically use them in their designs to create lasting impressions and forge emotional connections with their audiences.

So, the next time you’re faced with a design challenge, consider the power of colour psychology. By incorporating the right hues, you can not only make your brand visually appealing but also communicate your message more effectively and authentically.

Want to learn more about colours in branding and design? HubSpot did an interesting post on the use of colours in marketing and branding. For a more scientific approach try ‘Impact of color on marketing‘ by Satyendra Singh.

Do you want a planet-friendly website?

Ready to make your website more sustainable? Then let us help you! We can help you create a website that is efficient, user-friendly, and environmentally friendly. So don’t wait any longer – contact us today and take the first step towards a more sustainable future!