Colour in Branding

Colour theory is a central and often overlooked area of design, but it is paramount when it comes to branding. In an ever-growing marketplace, it’s more crucial than ever for businesses to differentiate themselves from their competitors to create a powerful, lasting impression on their audiences.

On a basic level, the colours on the warm side of the spectrum (such as red and orange) portray confidence, energy, playfulness and are attention grabbing, while their colder counterparts (blue and green) emanate security, health, calmness and responsibility in a generally more reserved manner. However on an emotional level, in terms of how consumers feel when they look at a particular colour, it’s likely that factors like personal preference, experiences, cultures and upbringings often obscure the effect individual colours have on us.

Colour can aid in communicating brand characteristics such as modern, traditional, luxurious, budget etc. as well as give clues on market position, cultural views and a variety of other positions and research has shown that there are real connections between the use of colours and customers’ perceptions of a brand’s personality. Certain colours will undoubtedly align with specific traits (e.g. green with environmental, purple with sophistication, and black with luxury) however you could argue that it is in fact far more important that your brand’s colours support the personality you want to portray instead of trying to align them with generic colour associations.

In the world of branding, choice and use of colour used correctly provides a business with an enormous competitive advantage by allowing instant brand recognition – in fact a majority of the most recognisable brands in the world rely on colour as a key factor in their instant identification.

Below are snapshots of 16 of the world’s most recognisable brand marks cropped to show a clear representation of their brand colours, but only a fraction of their logotype or symbol. Test yourself to see how many of the brands you can identify with colour being the primary visual driver.


By carefully selecting their colour a brand can carefully craft and communicate powerful messages, even without words, so choosing the best colour for your branding is an integral part of the design process and it is worth spending the time to get it right. Consider how consumers will feel when they look at your brand; but also on a practical level, how will it stand out from your competitors on the shelf or online?

We would love to hear why you chose your corporate colours so please let us know in the comments below.

And if you need some advice and guidance as to which colour(s) would suit your business type, just ask our brand stylists.


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Answers: 1. BP  2. GE  3. Nike  4. McDonalds  5. T-Mobile  6. Coca-Cola  7. Skype  8. Orange  9. HP  10. Cadburys  11. Heineken  12. Caterpillar  13. Harrods 14. Virgin  15. Puma  16. BM

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