This is a follow up to The Importance Of Color Design In Advertising And Branding – Part I

Earlier this week we took a look at how businesses utilize color psychology to get consumers interested in their products. However, color design isn’t merely a strategy that’s effective for garnering the attention of prospective customers. Color often plays a large role in a company’s very identity, which is why those looking to begin their own business should carefully contemplate their visual persona.

Brand Recognition & Color Design

Close your eyes. (Well, close them in about 30 seconds, or else you won’t be able to read what we want you to do.) Now think about the images that come to mind when you consider the following companies: Tiffany & Co., Target, Home Depot, and UPS. What do you see?

Though very different businesses, they all have one thing in common – instant brand recognition. Blue, red, orange, and brown… Odds are that when you looked at those company names, these are the colors you saw. Crafting a brand logo that consumers can instantly recognize depends not only on a well-designed image.

Color is key as well. In fact, some companies place such a priority on having an easily distinguishable color as part of their branding strategy that they’ve trademarked their custom crafted hues.

Branding Missteps with Color

Color psychology dictates that consumers will use hues to quickly identify certain companies, which is why shaking things up with your color design can be risky. Because consumers come to rely on particular hue associations, deciding to update either your company logo or product with alternate colors may cause consumer backlash.

Case in point, Gap. The company had long been synonymous with its royal blue-boxed logo and white text. So when it decided to forego its primarily blue branding image for a rather boring black logo with a nondescript blue accent, the public immediately rejected it.

Gap Logo

Pepsi also experienced severe consumer discontent when they decided to market a clear soda, Crystal Pepsi.  Though brands like Sprite and 7UP have enjoyed success with their own clear soft drinks, the public wasn’t willing to embrace what had always been a brown Pepsi cola. Within a year, Crystal Pepsi was permanently yanked from grocery shelves.

Branding Successes with Color

That’s not to say that rebranding your company with a fresh color design can’t be done right. Several well-known entities have been able to successfully tread the line between retaining their brand recognition while updating their logo identity.

Wal-Mart is one such business that modernized their look without turning off customers. Like Gap, Wal-Mart had used a simple blue logo for many years. Though the blue remains in their current advertising efforts, Wal-Mart has softened its all uppercase text for a softer font. It has also added a yellow accent, which may indicate its appeal to customers as a friendly and happy place to shop.

Walmart Logo

Target and NBC are two other companies that have incorporated logo revisions for particular advertising campaigns. The red bull’s-eye and multihued peacock still remain as the official logos for each company, respectively; however, Target has recently traded in red for white in its most recent commercials for its Everyday Collection. And each year, the NBC peacock goes green in recognition of National Green Week, which aims to heighten environmental awareness.

Color Design & Your Business

So what does color design mean for your company? Well, quite a bit. As we have shown, color is the primary consideration when a consumer is first introduced to a business or product. If you can’t craft a color design that will get the public to take notice, you likely will not survive long among your competition.

But the influence of color extends far beyond initial attraction. The hues you use implicitly speak to the personality and message of your company, which is why you should consider carefully what exactly you want that message to be. Picking the right color design means being true to the service you’re providing for consumers and deliberately creating a brand identity that builds upon it.

Successful color design also means choosing a palette that prompts immediate recognition in consumers. So while you want to be faithful to your company’s guiding message, you must also be unique enough to stand apart from the rest of the pack.