Why your brand should own a colour

posted in: Reverse View | 0

Recently, I was driving down the motorway, minibus rental liverpool, on one of my regular trips to London. I remembered some of those time-wasting games we used to play with the kids. There was one in particular, where we’d get them to try to spot those lorries from a particular haulage company (we now call them logistics firms – how and when did that happen?).

On this particular trip, I began playing this game in my head, looking for liveries from well-known firms that, as a family, we had seen many times before. There are loads of them, but I’m sure you’ve seen these: Norbert Dentressangle, Kuehne & Nagel, Wincanton, Gist, Turners of Soham, Bibby, Maersk and, of course, the ubiquitous Eddie Stobart. Oh, let’s not forget this one, whose name I really like – Prestons of Potto.

As I approached London, it was clear that Eddie Stobart was winning. And then, it suddenly occurred to me that the reason for that, in part, was due to the brand’s striking green and white arrowed livery. In short, in addition to the sheer number of vehicles in their fleet, they were just so easy to spot. So, I decided to see how far away from a lorry I could be and still guess the correct company name, just by recognising a colour. Ahead, far in the distance at the top of a hill, was a tanker. I vaguely recognised an initial letter in a bright, apple green colour. I took a guess and got it right – it was Abbey, a logistics firm.

Why your brand should own a colour: Abbey Logistics

So, you’re asking yourself, what’s the point of this story? Who cares if a designer (who’s job it is to recognise brand signifiers anyway) recognises a brand logo from a thousand yards away? Well, I managed to recognise the brand because of its distinct acid-green colour, one not used by any of its commercial rivals. I saw the colour, linked it with the tanker (and therefore the industry) and made the correct assumption that it belonged to the afore-mentioned brand.

Smart brands have long recognised the value of owning a unique colour or combination of colours, such as Orange, HP, McDonald’s, Yellow Pages, Vodafone and many others. They didn’t just choose any old colour. The choice was deliberate, and designed to be distinctive, particularly when people are at the point of making a buying decision. That’s how you should choose your brand colours too.

Yellow Pages Starbuck's logo Liberty logo HP logo Own a colour: red (Coca-Cola) Own a colour: Orange


In short, your corporate colours could be the difference between a potential customer choosing your firm, or someone else’s.

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