Just read a really informative article by David Airey – an independent brand identity designer – about colour and brand identity. In his article David reiterates some ideas I heard from Laura Hussey in Design Week (and recently blogged about); that is that some companies such as Oxfam and The Guardian are rebranding with a rainbow colour palette. As David writes: “Multiple colours speak of choice, variety and diversity. Think Google, NBC, eBay, or MSN to name but a few that use more than two colours to express their breadth.”
However, David’s post goes further to describe some of his own work with Halcyon coffee and the use of a range of different colours: “The colours used within the brand and environment were derived from, and act as a subtle nod towards the diverse colour palette used during Britain’s great creative periods of the past — our Halcyon days, mixed with those we see around us today.” Definitely worth having a read of David’s article
Really great article in Design Week about the importance of colour in branding. Apparently, in a survey of the world’s top 100 brands (defined by brand value) 95 per cent use only one or two colours. However, Laura Hussey puts a convincing case that more colour could be beneficial. She points to companies such as Google and Ebay who use more than one colour in their brand.
And she also refers to some interesting developments with Oxfam and The Guardian who are using a spectrum of colours to represent hope and positivity. It’s well worth reading Laura’s article. You can see it here. You may also be interested in my post of a few weeks ago about Apple’s historical and contemporary use of colour.
We’re starting a new programme at Leeds University next September. It’s MRes Colour Communication. This is a one-year Masters programme by research but with a twist. There is a taught component in the first semester to get everyone up to speed to make sure they understand the basics of colour communication. They then explore one aspect of this in their research project and submit a dissertation at the end of the year. Please contact me at my University email of firstname.lastname@example.org for further information or visit http://www.design.leeds.ac.uk/pg/research-degrees/.
I have written a few times about various legal cases that are on-going to settle disputes about colour ownerships. For example, about 18 months ago I wrote about trademarking colour and the dispute between Cadbury and its competitors over the use of the colour purple (specifically Pantone 2685C) on chocolate packaging and advertising. In that blog I noted that Cadbury had lost a case in the USA against Darrell Lea but had been granted protection in the UK despite protests from Nestlé. The law is a complex matter.
However, today, in the BBC I read that Nestlé has won a court battle with Cadbury, over Cadbury’s attempt to trademark the purple colour of its Dairy Milk bars. This is a successful appeal by Nestlé to the earlier ruling. The Court of Appeal said that Cadbury’s trademark application lacked “the required clarity, precision, self-containment, durability and objectivity to qualify for registration”.
“We are disappointed by this latest decision but it’s important to point out that it does not affect our long held right to protect our distinctive colour purple from others seeking to pass off their products as Cadbury chocolate,” said a Cadbury spokesman. Watch this space!!
I am currently carrying out some research using an on-line questionnaire about colour choices by consumers in product design. It would really help me a lot if you would take the survey. It only takes about 1 minute to complete. The link is http://questionpro.com/t/AKSnxZP9ij. Please feel free to share this link.
In a few weeks when the survey is completed you can come back to this page and you can see more details about what we were doing, why we were doing it, and what we found.
What goes around, comes around. The original Apple logo was rather garishly coloured. From 1976 until 1998 it was an apple with coloured horizontal stripes. The 1976 logo had its origins in an even earlier logo that was a hand drawn picture of Newton with an apple over his head. Steve Jobs insisted on the colours to humanise the company and the 1976 logo was designed by Rob Janoff with the coloured stripes also representing that the Apple II could generate graphics in colour. It’s hard to imagine that this was a big deal then but it was!! When I studied for my PhD in the early 1980s my computer had no colour, no hard drive and just 16 k (that’s 16 k, not 16 GB or 16 MB) of RAM. We take massive memory, processing power and colour for granted in our digital devices today. But I digress. In 1998 Apple discontinued the rainbow theme and started to use monochromatic themes (I used this word because more people would understand it to mean black and white but monochromatic is really single colour and a better would be achromatic). In the last 15 years or so I think it’s fair to say that Apple have used both monochromatic and achromatic versions of their famous logo.
Interesting then that in March 2012 Apple unveiled a new logo that is full of colour. See the right-most image in the picture above (image from Gizmodo UK) Everything comes back into fashion if you wait long enough.
I was inspired to write this by reading two other blogs; please visit them for further information:
Eliza Brooke’s blog.
Rob Mead-Green’s blog.
The UK government is set to rebrand its departments with bold new colour schemes. The new colours include lots of blues and greens; for example, navy blue for the Foreign Office, bright blue for the NHS and green for the Department of Energy and Climate Change. However, the The Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which is purple at the moment, is reassigned bright pink.
Read more here.
I don’t know if it is related to my recent post that people, especially females buy bright colours in times of austerity, but I just came across a report that claims that women like pink gadgets and laptops.
Dr Gloria Moss, Reader in Human Resources at Bucks New University said:
“There’s a very strong tendency for men to prefer hard, rectangular and dark shapes. While women showed a preference towards more curved, and pink design. I don’t think it’s anything for women to be afraid of that women like different colours, because the roots of the colour preference take womens’ responsibility beyond hearth and home. The differences have their origins in the different activities carried out by men and women over the ages.”
Moss used a range of website designs created by men and women to test her hypothesis amongst a sample group of students at Oxford. Men preferred linear, rectangular designs, while women preferred colourful designs with large images.
I’m a man but I also like pink. So clearly the above does not apply to all women and all men.
For balance see my post on pink stinks.
Today I found Karen Haller’s blog post on the meaning of red.
I liked the fact that she wrote about positive (warmth, excitement, energy) and negative (aggressive, confrontational) connotations of the colour. Karen argues that companies that use red as their primary colour are aggressive and energetic with a buzz about them. She gives examples of vodafone, coca cola, and virgin. Do you agree with her?