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What your brand’s colors mean to consumers

Image of an Ikea sign

Gerard Stolk / Flickr

CBC radio host Terry O’Reilly has an absolutely fascinating post/podcast up on how brands use colors to make us buy certain things:

Take the colour Red. It is one of the most passionate colours. It connotes action, adventure, fire, lust, anger, courage and rebellion, for example. Therefore, it is a colour best used for action-oriented products and brands. Red, for example, is the predominant colour in the Virgin logo – which is perfect for that brand, as founder Richard Branson is definitely adventurous and rebellious.

Blue stands for security, trust, productivity and calmness of mind. As a result, blue is the colour of choice for UN flag. It’s also the most popular logo colour in the corporate world. Think of the Allstate logo, who want you to feel you are in good hands. …

Orange is a colour that suggests value and discounts. Online bank ING has branded itself as orange, no doubt, in part, to remind you of their promise of reduced banking fees. The Home Depot has an orange logo and theme, as does Payless Shoes – both built on a premise of value.

Green represents freshness. Think the Jolly Green Giant and Subway. …

For centuries, purple symbolized nobility and wealth. … Cadbury chocolate has been associated with purple for over 100 years. It was Queen Victoria’s favourite colour. …

The colour Brown is earthy, and contains feelings of honesty and dependability. UPS began using brown in 1916 -because in the world of package delivery, the name of the game is dependability.

Yellow stands for sunny warmth, cheeriness, fun and optimism. Black is really the absence of all colour, but is a colour of authority, power and luxury.

White has a feeling of lightness, and is the reason why most planes are painted this colour. It soothes the concern we all secretly harbour that a machine that size can’t possibly become airborne.

I have to confess, I’d never given a lot of thought to what a brand’s colors say about it. Obviously some colors are bolder (red, orange, yellow) than others (blue), but it’s striking how much these associations make sense.

I’m also struck by how seemingly mismatched some brands are with their colors. Take Comedy Central, for instance, which redesigned its logo about a year and a half ago. Black and white? For a comedy network? Yellow or red would have seemed more natural choices, but as Bobby Solomon noted at the time, “when you have to represent a multitude of programs having an agnostic design like this makes a lot of sense.” (He also notes that the logo is a lot more vibrant and colorful in video format, which is Comedy Central’s chief medium.)

Expect more color-related posts from me in the coming weeks. I’m really interested to walk out into the world and view it through this filter I’ve acquired.

via Put This On, which is red.

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