When you walk into a shop today and feel drawn to bright, yellow packaging, or alternatively, choose the pastel-coloured version of two identical products, the process behind it was no accident.
In a majority of cases, every design element of a brand is carefully considered, mercilessly focus-grouped, and closely analysed before it’s presented the unbeknown public. Some brands have even gone so far as to trademark a colour.
Colours can leave a lasting impression on its receiver, at times eliciting a range of emotions, making them extremely key when creating your logo, painting your new office, or designing any of your promotional material.
So enough with the intro, let's look at some of the colours used by a large proportion of global brands and what significance those hues have to them.
Colour psychology says: Blue stands for being “trustworthy, fiscally responsible, dependable and secure.”
Used by: social media networks, banks and telecoms.
Facebook has 1.71 billion monthly active users with over 1.13 billion of them logging on daily, entrusting the social media company to protect their most personal information. Barclays, TSB and Co-operative Bank are just a few of the UK banks who have relied on the colour blue to instil faith and familiarity in its customers of the safety and security they provide for their investments.
Colour psychology says: An optimistic colour that evokes happiness. Yellow has the benefit of being bright enough to grab a consumer’s attention from a distance due to it being the most noticeable of all colours by the human eye.
Used by: Restaurants, toy manufacturers, construction, theme parks.
With over 36,500 restaurants worldwide, McDonald’s owes a lot to the colour yellow - emblematic of the brand’s “golden arches.” Yellow, of course, is an excellently eye-catching colour for potentially dangerous heavy machinery, so it's no surprise that it's also used by Britain's J.C. Bamford, better known as JCB.
Colour psychology says: Enhances human metabolism, raises blood pressure and increases respiration rate. It attracts the most attention over all other colours and can invoke a sense of urgency.
Used by: Soft drink manufacturers, TV, retail shopping
Netflix uses red to make their logo pop, creating an apt cinematic look. YouTube use a similar colour combo. Few would disagree that both brands are leaders in their respective categories, with YouTube registering over a billion users worldwide and Netflix dominating the video streaming sector with over 83 million paying members.
Colour psychology says: The easiest colour for the eyes to process and brings to mind health, serenity, freshness, and money.
Used by: organic food retailers, coffee shops, car manufacturers.
Starbucks focus heavily on the lifestyle side of things with over 24,000 stores worldwide and a drink menu that has reached iconic status. Whole Foods successfully markets the healthy life that consumers strive for, raking in over £10 billion in 2015.
Colour psychology says: The colour of adventure and social communication, orange is optimistic, sociable and extroverted.
Used by: Children's TV, sportswear, travel
According to Entrepreneur, a subtler, peachy shade of orange tends to appeal to an upscale market. Regardless of the tint, orange definitely plays up the friendly angle by raking in billions in revenue for these brands.
Colour psychology says: Black screams business, elegance and luxury.
Used by: Concierge services, private banking, private members clubs.
Black is the preferred choice for glamorous evening wear and stretch limousines. If you want to convey drama, sophistication, and declare social status, black will do the trick.
Uber’s primary hue is black, and its on-demand ride service offers a line of luxury vehicles called Uber Black. Many banks offer high net worth customers a black credit card which has no credit limit.
Colour psychology says: Representative of new beginnings, white contains an equal balance of all the colours of the spectrum, representing both the positive and negative.
Used by: tech brands, spas, medicine
When you use white in your logo or marketing materials, you’re telling people you have nothing to hide. Apple, one of the most popular brands in the world, uses white for its primary branding to relay information and make products stand out from the crowd with a sense of transparency and cleanliness.
Next time you or someone you know is looking to create a logo or brand, have a read through this article look around at others in your competitive market for inspiration. The right colour can make all the difference in attracting the right consumers toward your brand.