In Terms of Brand Color, Less is More

When it comes to iconic global brands that are known throughout the universe for their strong and confident use of a single color, which brands come to mind? Tiffany or Facebook for blue? Starbucks or John Deere for green? Red for Coca-cola or Target? These brands, like countless others, built a presence and following with their loyalists around one unified and recognizable color that, through years of exposure and great branding efforts, has turned something as simple as color, into their brand’s most valuable equity element second only to their logo. There’s nothing more powerful than establishing a unified brand presence around one consistently branded color, especially in terms of product recognition in the marketplace.

Single Brand Color

But what’s truly at stake with owning a single brand color and how do you determine what the right color is for your brand? The first answer is a simple one. There’s nothing to lose by confidently owning a single branded color, but everything to lose by not. Experience proves that brands defined by a single, dominant brand color are more effective with consumer recognition than brands that are not — especially with regard to product-driven brands that rely heavily on their physical presence in the marketplace. Logos, taglines, and catchy advertising campaigns alone won’t carry a brand, but a single color can. A few brands in the Natural Products category that immediately come to mind are: The Chia Co (orange), Kind Healthy Snacks (black), Gaia Herbs (green) and New Chapter (purple).

What Color to Choose?

The second question is slightly more complicated — and it should be. After all, determining what color will most effectively represent the values and beliefs your brand stands for is not a decision to be taken lightly. Color is one of the most influential and emotive visual language elements that a brand can align itself with and can elicit a positive or negative response from consumers — intended or not. Certainly there are color trends that seem to resonate within specific industry categories, often informed by the nature of the industry being served, the products within, or innate sensitivities relevant to the relationship consumers have with those products (look at full infographic). Regardless of your industry or product offer, decisions around color should be based off of a solid brand strategy and communication platform that has established the brand’s core values, beliefs and character attributes — supported by a deep understanding of the competitive landscape as well.

Only One Color?

So does this mean that a brand should be limited to just one single brand color? Absolutely not. A brand’s color palette should always be expansive enough to include a secondary range of colors that can help support organizational or product line distinctions that need to be made across the brand. The goal is always to ensure that the palette aligns with and supports the brand strategy at large. Seemingly simple, but it often requires a fair amount of scrutiny and competitive evaluation to ensure that the brand holds a truly unique and differentiated position within the market. Here at Pure Branding, we help determine these qualifications in our Experience Phase of the client engagement when the brand’s overall visual language is established.

So whether your brand finds itself on the cusp of a full rebrand or a strategic facelift, don’t be afraid to confidently own a position around a single color. Determine if there’s equity in your existing palette and confidently celebrate what has brought you success thus far. If building from the ground up, stay on strategy and work from the core. In due time, your true color will be shining brightly, recognizable to all.