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What Color is Your Brand?

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 By Peter Carpenter, CEO, Thoroughbred Design Group







Does Branding Matter for Your Business? You Bet!

isaiah mustafa old spice commercialA great example of how branding can impact the success of a product or company is Old Spice. Most people now associate Old Spice with Isaiah Mustafa (or “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”) riding a white horse on beaches and through jungles. The company took this change of direction in their 2010 Swagger campaign after nearly seventy years of being associated with old men and women. Yes, that’s right. Old Spice was once marketed towards women! That seems pretty weird considering the reputation Old Spice holds now with Mustafa and his horse. Through new ads specifically highlighting the “manliness” of Old Spice deodorant, creation of new product fragrances, and increased television time, the company recreated their public image and nearly quadrupled deodorant sales. This genius rebranding created a new reputation for the company in the eyes of its consumers and has driven Old Spice to the top of the sales charts in men’s deodorant and cologne.

What Role Does Color Play in Branding?

branding imageWhile creating a brand (or rebranding, in the case of Old Spice) relies on many, many forms of product development, advertising strategies, and strong company culture, the aspect of branding that we’ll dive into today is color choice. The psychology behind color selection is a lot more complex than you might think. Color conveys messages about the attitude your brand brings to work every day and will appeal to certain audiences more than others. It can reflect your offered products, just as Apple’s switch from a rainbow striped logo to a modern, monochromatic logo hailed the emergence of their sleek, attractive new line of laptops and smartphones, or attempt to stand out from competitors, just as McDonald’s Golden Arches stand out amongst nearly any backdrop- city or suburbs. Color is the first piece of information that people receive about a brand- the first thing they begin to make assessments and judgements on. That is precisely why choosing your company, brand, product, or website’s color schemes is so important.

Choosing the Right Colors – Key Considerations

color-emotion-guideBrand – While choosing what colors you want to represent your company, the first thing to consider is your brand. Are you an eco-friendly non-profit or an accounting firm focused on business-to-business transactions? What you do and how you want to be perceived all impacts what colors you should consider. The Logo Company created this excellent reference guide as to what emotions colors are usually associated with. It’s important to note that, for the most part, the companies used here reflect these emotions in more than just their logo color choice. For example, Nickelodeon reflects it’s “friendly” brand image by focusing on children’s entertainment. From silly television shows to the slime-filled Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards, the company radiates the cheerful persona that the color orange typically reflects.

AudienceAudience – Next, consider your audience. While the colors listed above do have stereotypical emotional connections, it is important to remember that any given audience associates colors differently. A five-year old may believe that mixing neon pink and lime green is the best color combo for your company, but a fifty year old may advise otherwise. While colors are tightly connected with personal experiences, which is nearly impossible to control of while selecting your palette, there are stats as to which colors men and women are more specifically more drawn to. For example, it was found that while men and women share blue as a most popular favorite color, purple was ranked one of men’s least favorite colors and one of women’s favorites.

Advertising MediaMedium of Use – Don’t forget about how you’re using these colors. Is your logo going to be on t-shirts, where choosing multiple bright colors can become costly? Are you creating a new website layout, which people need to be able to easily read on any digital format? Considering the mediums through which your logo/brand/product will be seen is crucial in choosing a color scheme. A good rule of thumb while choosing colors is to follow the 60-30-10 rules. That is, when selecting three colors to be the basis of your logo or company, have one color be the focus and used the most, another be a nice highlight/undertone that will make your main color pop, and a final color (commonly black, white, or gray) that can be used in to outline, underline, write with, etc. A good example of this is Starbucks. Their infamous logo is renowned for it’s green emblem with white and black detailing. People remember the green, but can read the white text and identify the mermaid image on the black.

So, you have your product, a place to sell it, and people to sell it to. Now is the time to actually start selling, which begins with building a positive brand for customers to remember. Be sure to use these helpful guidelines when creating, or recreating, the logo or website that will help you stand out from your competition. Don’t let your logo’s color be what is holding your brand back.

Thoroughbred Design Group has been providing award-winning branding for 20 years. Here are several logos we have created for local companies – each which has improved their brand and resulted in increased sales. Visit to discover more or email us at:









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