Insights | Branding

Unleash the power of colour

13 April 2022

Your logo is your organisation's most important visual asset, right?

Well, not entirely. In fact, the logo is but a small part of your brand and how it is perceived by your customers.

Colour can be a powerful weapon in your branding toolkit. If it’s considered carefully, it can be the most powerful weapon you have.

If you removed the logos from a selection of top brands, could you still recognise them just from their colour palette?

Chances are they will have adopted a signature colour which can cause an increase in brand recognition. If you came out of Bond Street tube station and saw a swarm of bright yellow bags, do you need to read the sans serif logo to know they’re from Selfridges?

Fortnum & Mason’s signature shade of turquoise has been present throughout the brand’s 300-year history and is central to its visual experience. Tiffany goes one better. It literally owns the colour as a registered trademark. Does that make it more valuable as an asset than its logotype?

Be different and meaningful

Everyone perceives colour with different emotions and the psychology of colour has been well documented. Blue is trustworthy, red is passionate, purple is luxurious and yellow is happy etc.

However, we live in a world where companies are fighting for your attention, more than ever. If you pick blue because it signifies that your brand is trustworthy, are you going to stand out against the hundreds of Fortune 500 companies with blue logos? Can you compete with their marketing budgets?

  • Your brand colour has to work harder than ever. It’s time to be different and use colour as an opportunity to set yourself apart.
  • That doesn’t mean you should just pick the opposite colour to your competitors. Your choices should be meaningful and rooted in strategy.

A great example of this is how Monzo disrupted the banking sector, with its eye-popping coral card, which stood out against the blue, black, purple and silver designs favoured by high street banks. Just a flash of that colour in a person’s wallet or during a transaction sparks a conversation, prompting people to ask, ‘what bank is that? Without words, slogans or icons the bank was signalling that they were different. It was warm, progressive and human. It was meaningfully disruptive. 

Becoming synonymous with a specific colour, as these brands have done, can represent a huge opportunity when it comes to brand recall and identity. 

Don’t forget it needs to be functional

Before you finalise a colour approach, you need to think about functionality and accessibility. 

Your brand should work seamlessly in the digital environment as well as the traditional print world. If you pick a bright vivid colour be mindful that it may not convert through to print as well as you may like because the printing processes are limited in the range of colours they can produce. 

Accessibility contrast levels could also be something to consider, especially white backgrounds with a neon signature colour. Test all scenarios just to be sure. 

These may just be hurdles to jump over but are worth knowing about before you commit.

‘Be relentless! Once you’ve decided on your signature or palette of colours, stick with it.’

Published by

Tony Georgiades

Creative Director