Why Lyft Has a Pink Logo, & Other Brand Stories

April 28, 2016


How Big Brands Use Colors To Influence Consumers

Color is one way that a brand may be able to establish themselves in their market. Consider some of the most iconic brands today: Coca-Cola’s red text, Ford’s blue oval, Apple’s white icon, and the golden M in McDonald’s. Now envision these brands with a different color. How does this switch affect the way that you relate to the brand? Each of these color elements serves a meaning that is purposeful. Colors send messages, and the color of your brand can convey to your consumer a meaning beyond what they may come to expect.

Meanings Associated With Colors & Associated Brands

Logos using red

Red: Intensity, passion, trust, emotion, aggression, youthfulness, excitement

Brands Using Red: Nintendo, Virgin, Netflix, Target

Logos using orange

Orange: Mentally stimulating, determination, enthusiasm, creativity, friendliness

Brands Using Orange: Nickelodeon, Fanta, Shutterfly, Amazon

Logos using yellow

Yellow: Energy, refreshed, joyous, alive, optimism

Brands Using Yellow: Nikon, Ikea, Shell, National Geographic

Logos Using Green

Green: Calming, trusting, hopeful, relaxing, peaceful, health, growth

Brands Using Green: Whole Foods, Starbucks, Girl Scouts, Spotify

Logos using blue

Blue: Clarity, confidence, conservatism, faith, calming, trust, strength

Brands Using Blue: JP Morgan, Oreo, Facebook, Twitter

Logos using purple

Purple: Royal, romance, nostalgia, introspection, power, creativity, wisdom

Brands Using Purple: Yahoo, Taco Bell, Hallmark, Aussie

Logos using pink

Pink: Femininity, warmth, nurturing, love, sweetness

Brands Using Pink: Barbie, Lyft, Cosmopolitan, T-Mobile

Logos using brown

Brown: Nurturing, reliable, supportive, dependable

Brands Using Brown: UPS, Hershey, M&M, The Coffee Bean

Logos using black

Black: Formal, mysterious, serious, bold

Brands Using Black: Nike, Puma, Cartoon Network, Telegraph

Now that you have a basic understanding of the types of colors that major brands choose for their designs and what these colors mean, you may be wondering what colors to choose for your design. You may be likely to choose blue because it’s your favorite color or think the meaning of passion inherent in red will be the best option for your design, but these may not be exactly what your customers will resonate with. Your logo color takes some work.

How Do I Choose a Color For My Brand?

Color is important in branding. However, it is also important to note that the ways people interact with colors are dependent on their personal experience with the color, the context, the color is seen within, their personal preference, and more. While colors are too personal to apply universally, it is definite that colors can play an up to 90% role in the judgment made about a specific product. This means that no color preference is universally applied to everyone, and there are many factors that influence how color conveys meaning. This means that it takes some time to establish core truths about your business before deciding on a color.

Regardless of the person’s individual relationship with specific color profiles, there are some indicators that influence how colors can affect your branding efforts. First, it is important to determine how the color of your brand fits with the product you are selling. For example, a spa named “Calm & Relaxed” would be better suited with a blue logo than an orange one, since orange tends to be a more stimulating color than blue would be. On top of understanding what colors help establish the mood of your brand, the personality of your brand needs to fit the colors used. While color meanings can overlap, this is one additional step to narrow down what you’d like your brand to say to the world. If you’re marketing your product as a health-conscious or environmentally-friendly alternative to other products on the market, using a color like black or yellow may not fit with that your customers assume your brand’s personality is- they may resonate towards a green or brown even though you want to show that you are serious but optimistic about environmentalism. Therefore, your primary goal when choosing a color identity is to understand how your customers will react to the color- and try to utilize the best one for your service.

Things to consider when using color to establish your brand:

  • How does the color of your brand fit with the product or service you are selling?
  • What personality does the color you are choosing have and how does this personality fit within your business?
  • What colors do your competitors use? Is your color similar?
  • How does the individual color meaning differ from the brand’s perceived personality?

The reaction of color is too complex to provide an overall and general explanation about how choosing the color of a brand will affect how customers react. Think about your business’s core values and what you bring to the table. What best conveys this? For example, a company like Google is represented by red, yellow, blue, and green. Primary colors are broken up by one secondary color that conveyed playfulness with a willingness to bend the rules. Would you agree that this embodies the personality and products of Google? When choosing the color for your brand, you’ll want to follow this strategy to ensure that you are creating a lasting legacy that resonates with the clients you want to attract.