The Role of Design and Colors in Branding

These lessons are going to consist of four installments: Design and Colors, Marketing, Trademarks and Public Relations. Today, we will use these real-life happenings to discuss the role of design – more precisely: color – in branding:

Welcome to the first part of the Lesson.

Imagine life without color. What would it be like to live in such a world? What if the sky wasn’t blue, but white? Imagine the grass not being green – picture it grey!

Hard to visualize, isn’t it? It is very difficult to imagine the world being monochrome, even with black and white movies and the grey of our cities. Color surrounds us in every aspect of our lives.

In the above scenario with the sky and the grass, did you actually close your eyes and try to picture the sky and grass as white and grey? What about the colorful candy bar parade at your favorite gas station merely containing shades of grey? McDonalds not being yellow (they are yellow, folks, even if their marketing says they are golden), Coca-Cola not being red, Mellow Yellow being er well, you know where I am getting at here.

Colors in branding

For us designers, it is important to know the relevance of color for a brand. Derived from its status in our existence, it is easy to conclude that color serves an explicit purpose in branding. The design of a brand distinguishes it from its competition and places it in its market. Color is a very basic element of design, hence one of the most important factors in identity design is – and will always be – the use of color.

What do we know about color?

Before we take a look at some popular brands and their use of color, we have to understand what color actually does to us. It is really quite interesting to know about the effects of different colors on the human consciousness and, more importantly, our subconscious:

  • Black – the color of authority and power, sophistication and elegance, formality and wealth, but also evil and threat.
  • White – purity and simplicity, innocence and honesty, summer and lightness, but also sterility.
  • Red – extreme and hot-blooded, accentual and loud, powerful and emotionally intense. Red stimulates a faster heartbeat and breathing and might not be the best choice to wear in a negotiation, unless you’re the president.