The Role of Design and Colors in Branding Part 3

Color as an industry engine

Look at the fashion business. Season after season, Karl Lagerfeld, Jean Paul Gaultier, Donna Karan & Co. announce sensational news like pink being the new red, azur the new blue, or something like don’t leave the house without at least a brown scarf next winter. They start, others follow, consumers buy – a trend is created. It is intriguing what a color can do, if it is used by the right minds, hands, and mouths, isnt it?

So what is in it for us?

Knowing about the impact and meaning of a color is imperative for designers. Depending on what we want a design to communicate, we should always take the above into consideration. On a side note – you can also use this knowledge to backup your choice of color in front of a client.

Looking at magenta what can we say about it as a color?

  • In the additive model, you get magenta when you mix red and blue (the additive model is used by screen displays and mixes color with light, in contrast to the subtractive model used by print media, where colors are mixed with ink).
  • Due to its relation to both red and blue, values of these two colors can be found in magenta: emotionally intense meets hi-tech.
  • Due to its lack of representation in nature, its being perceived as artificial and modern.

So magenta seems to be a good choice for a brand. Of course you may ask question, why more factors come into play besides the connotations of the color itself, such as differentiation and uniqueness, existing brand awareness, diversity and usability.

Take a look at the following collection of brands. Are they still the same with changed colors? Like this, some of them could even be mistaken for their competitors:

Companies spend a lot of marketing money trying to simply connect their brand to a color. It’s all part of the brand image and placement, which we will discuss in the following part of the Lesson: The role of brands in marketing.