Any designer or entrepreneur is aware of the fact that the power of visual communication can’t be ever ignored. It’s the base of how each of us is seeing the world. A visual representation is processed 60,000 times faster than text and people remember 80% of what they see. As a comparison, people remember only 10% of what they hear. These statistics may not precisely reveal the truth, but it’s undeniable that visualization is playing a huge role in our lives and many of our decisions are based on it.
Of course, the information that is gathered from what you see is vital in branding and marketing. In this context, I hope that you comprehend why so many designers or marketing specialists are focused on any small detail regarding the promotional products based in visual communication.
The colors have the greatest power of influencing the viewers from the “visual tools”. These can make the difference from a good product to an extraordinary one. At the same time, the colors may destroy a product. The choosing of the proper color scheme is a very delicate matter because the power of colors is a double sided sword. Even the big brands are treating this matter very carefully, therefore really “none” allows himself the luxury of ignoring the meaning of colors.
The situation is more complex that it seems. A color may have a meaning in your country, but in another part of the planet it may have another meaning and in some cases, it may have a totally opposite meaning. Pretty complicated, isn’t it?
In the next lines, we will deal with how the big brands are using the power of colors in their favor. There are some cases where the agencies hired to promote a huge brand messed up the colors chosen, but in the great majority of cases, the solutions selected are the best.
The blue color expresses trust, communication, peace and honesty. It’s the most liked color; personally, I think it’s because the sky is predominantly blue. A downside of this color is that sometimes it may be associated with rigidity or passiveness.
Being appreciated by both men and women, blue is used everywhere. Many financial institutions use it in their logos because it expresses trust. Obviously, the big brands use blue…and there are tons of huge brands that use it.
Facebook and Twitter are only two huge brands in the field of communication that use blue in their logos and website design. Should I mention their success?
The red color expresses energy, passion, desire and action. It’s quite probable that the red color has the most meanings.
Red is the color of blood and subliminally it’s associated with life so it may be a reason why so many traffic signs are using red. On the other hand, red is attention-grabbing so it’s another reason to use this color for traffic signs. We all know that power of a red rose – love and red are interconnected.
The most important brands didn’t neglect the advantages of red color. Coca Cola is the most well-known “red brand” – their logo catches the attention of viewers and make them curious about the drink…for more than 120 years people still enjoy the drink. Another example of smart use of red is …well, Red Bull. I guess that there is no better color to express the values of Red Bull – energy, dynamism and action.
A brand that should express optimism, wisdom or creativity must use yellow. Sometimes, in the wrong contexts it may express the lack of compassion and inferiority. It works great in combination with dark colors (the most powerful contrast is formed from black and yellow). It’s the justification why the taxi cabs are yellow in combination with dark.
Best Buy or IDMB are two brands that use this powerful contrast into their logo. McDonald’s is the most famous brand that use yellow into their logo – it works as an appetizer.
The green color is having opposite meanings. It’s the color of grass, of the nature, so it has a very positive sense. Also, it is associated with the idea of fresh and young. On the other hand, the dollars are green and it symbolizes greed and materialism.
Many mobile apps are using green because it’s a powerful color and people associate it with new and fresh. Sony Erikson is an example of a brand that is almost completely relaying on green. Starbucks uses green to reveal to the customers the strong connection with the nature and it seems that this idea was successful.
Black is another color that has many meanings. Usually, it is combined with other colors and its meaning is deduced in association with these. As a single color it expresses mystery, discipline, power, and luxury but also sadness, negativity and depression. Multiple meanings means multiple traps…
Adidas and Nike have black logos due to the fact that black is extremely versatile and this aspect in the industry clothing is important. Many jewelry logos are using black tones because it expresses luxury, especially in association with yellow or violet.
I guess that everyone knows that white express purity, innocence, cleanliness and simplicity. These meanings are worldwide known and people act accordingly: the babies are preponderantly dressed in white to highlight their innocence. In some religions, the priests are wearing white to emphasize the idea of pure and simple. Many hospitals and pharma companies are using white to stress the idea of cleanliness.
The same as black, there aren’t pure white logos, but the great majority of logos are created using a white background. Almost all the important brand are using black and white versions of their logos – Apple, Hugo Boss, YouTube etc.
As you can see, the colors are very important for the success of a brand. No matter how well designed is a logo, unless the core values of it aren’t in accordance with the specific message of the colors used, then the result is a disaster. I hope that the above ideas will help you in making better logos. Do you have other opinions about the power of colors? Do you had projects that were ruined by the poor decisions regarding the colors used? Don’t be afraid of sharing your past experiences with us, therefore use the comment form!