The classic definition of a brand is a ‘name, sign, design or symbol’ usually used to denote the identity of a company — in short — its brand. This is just the bare bones — a whole lot of thought goes into brands — not least the colors that are used. Human psychology means that we identify certain emotions and characteristics with color — and those who design brands are well aware of the fact.

We’re a visually orientated species and research has shown that over 90% of consumers use visual cues when making their buying decision — and this identification extends to a company’s brand.

Successful brands very rarely change the colors that they use — they have a whole lot invested in the design — not least of which is the brand loyalty and recognition among consumers.

So why do brands choose certain colors — and what do those colors say about the brand?

#1 Red.

The use of red in brands is tremendously popular due to cultural factors. Red is seen to denote luck and companies such as Japan Airlines use a whole lot of red in their logo.

#2 Brown.

Companies like UPS use a lot of brown in their logo. Why? It’s an earth tone which symbolizes stability and a ‘down to earth’ approach to doing business. This is a color which has solidity and trustworthiness — and a no frills approach built right in.

#3 Orange.

A bright and cheery color, Orange gives an impression of speed and vitality, that’s why FedEx Express uses a lot of orange in its airborne parcel services logo.

#4 Blue.

When you next by detergent take a look at the overwhelming number of detergent brands that use blue in their logos and packaging. The color of the sky blue symbolizes purity and cleanliness. There are also a lot of oranges. That’s because it also symbolizes movement and dynamic action — something you want from your detergent.

#5 Metallic Colors.

Cigarette logos and packaging are tremendously interesting. Ever since the word ‘light’ was banned as having connotations of health cigarette companies have turned to metallic colors such as gold and silver to distinguish their ‘lighter’ products. It was an inventive way to still communicate ‘lightness’ as well as position the products as premium brands — something which those companies are finding increasingly difficult in the face of ongoing health issues with the brands.

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