How big brands use colour to affect your emotions

Around the world, billions of dollars are spent each year by companies trying to build a brand people can’t resist. From Fortune 500 companies to personal brands, it all starts with a logo. Would the Nike brand be as powerful without its signature “Swoosh” logo? What about Apple, with its iconic logo? More than just text and symbols, a logo has the power to create a lasting connection with consumers. And one of the best ways to do that is through the use of colour. In fact, colour can generate certain feelings. And choosing the wrong one can speak to your potential customers in ways you might not have intended.

Do you ever wonder why some logos are bright yellow and some red? Or why luxury business logos are usually black and white, while corporate logos are the colour blue? Each component has been carefully crafted to ensure maximum impact. In fact, children as young as 3 are able to recognize the logos of leading brands. In the following infographic by Finances Online, they help us understand how elements like colour, shape, text and fonts that serve to make a logo stand out. They also explain the types of emotional responses that brands want to induce in their consumers and how these responses ensure brand recognition from an early age.

Infographic: Colour, Value & Evolution of Logos

Colour, value & evolution of logos

Red is associated with the intensity of blood and fire. You’ll feel active, emotional, passionate, trust, love, intensity, and aggressiveness.

Blue is associated with the depth and stability of the sky and sea. The colour blue can make you feel comfort, faith conservative, understanding, clarity, confident, calm, and trust.

Yellow is associated with the energy and joy of sunshine. It can make people feel energetic, joyful, alive, and fresh.

Green is associated with the harmony of nature. You’ll feel calm, relaxed, trust, peaceful, and hopeful.

Purple is associated with royalty and luxury. It can make you feel glamour, power, nostalgic, romantic, even introspective.

Orange is associated with the happiness of sunshine and the tropics. You’ll be enthusiastic, creative, determined, and it’ll stimulate mental activity.

Black is associated with formality and mystery of the night. The colour black can be bold, serious, and luxurious.

Pink is associated with feminine traits. You feel love, sweet, warm, sexuality, and nurtured.

Brown is associated with the nurturing trait of Mother Earth. You’ll feel reliability, support, and dependability.

Logos influence us in early life

A University of Amsterdam study used famous logos without word-marks like McDonald’s or Nike to measure brand recognition in early childhood. At 3-5 years, children started to recognize that a logo stands for a product. However, it wasn’t until they reached 7-8 years that they could consistently recall a logo.

Percentage of children able to match logos and products correctly:

  • 2-3 years old: 67%
  • 8 years old: 100%

How much is a logo? The 10 most valuable brands in the world (2015)

  1. Apple: $104.3 billion
  2. Microsoft: $56.7 billion
  3. Coca-Cola: $54.9 billion
  4. IBM: $50.7 billion
  5. Google: $47.3 billion
  6. McDonald’s: $39.4 billion
  7. GE: $34.2 billion
  8. Intel: $30.9 billion
  9. Samsung: $29.5 billion
  10. Louis Vuitton: $28.4 billion

A few logos are so well known that they no longer need word-marks:

Creating logos can cost a lot

The most iconic logos were conceptualized for millions of dollars employing teams of professional creative directors, designers, and focus groups.

2012 London Olympics: $665,400
Its creator, Wolff Olins, believes it echos “London’s qualities of a modern, edgy city.” For millions of critics, it’s a bunch of blocks having a seizure, the common joke about one of the most expensive logos in the world.

Pepsi’s new logo: $1,000,000
The million-dollar logo change in 2008 was criticized to be an Obama logo rip-off. To warrant the cost, the design agency is rumoured to have produced a 27-page document, “Breathtaking Design Strategy,” explaining the new logo replete with references to Da Vinci, yin-yangs, and Mobius strips.

BBC’s new logo: $1.8 million
The broadcasting giant straightened up its slanting logo in 1997 to look better on screen and used Gill Sans script. The typeface was invented by Eric Gill, an English typeface designer (1882-1940) who was the key sculptor for the original BBC edifice in 1932.

While some logos cost nothing

The redesign was created by an in-house design team in 2012 and the first in 25 years for the company. Design experts said that it would’ve cost between $250-500,000 had a branding firm did it.

The original logo was created by Google co-founder Sergey Brin on the free graphics program GIMP. He’s said to be proud of it, not the design, but the fact that he’s able to use GIMP, a fairly difficult program to use.

The original logo was created by the company’s co-founder and bookkeeper, Frank M. Robinson, who suggested that the two Cs would look good in advertising. Today, Forbes estimates the Coke brand value to be $55 billion.

And others cost only a few bucks

Twitter: $15
Twitter bought their logo from iStock. The artist, Simon Oxley, is said to have received $6. Professional agencies in the US charge about $5,000 for a logo design. Its latest logo, a simplified bird version, is created from overlapping circles.

Nike: $35
Nike co-founder Phil Knight offered a graphic design student in 1971 to create charts, graphs, and eventually, the famous swoosh after learning the student needed money to buy oil paints. On seeing the swoosh for the first time, Knight didn’t like it but hoped “it would grow on him.”

Evolution of logos: Little changes

Since 1886, the company has made a few tweaks, but the cursive script and looping capitalized Cs are still used today.

Johnson & Johnson
Since 1886 the logo has been patterned after the signature of James Wood Johnson, one of the co-founders.

The wing-foot is still present, albeit with a tweak since 1901. It’s an allusion to Mercury, the fastest among Roman gods.

General Electric
The “GE” script has been used since 1892 when the company was created from the merger of Edison General Electric Company and Thomson-Huston Company. The circle was added later.

Since 1898 the company still exhibits the same script and carnelian red, inspired by the Cornell University football team uniform.

Evolution of logos: Big changes

First developed in the early 1890s, Pepsi’s logo looked like a Coca-Cola copycat in its early years.

One of the most celebrated logos, the recreated monochrome Apple logo in 1997 helped put the company back in business and spawned the next generation design trend.

The original IBM logo in 1888 was “T” because back then the company was making analog “tabulating machines.”

They can’t be any more disconnected. Nokia was a wood pulp mill near the Nokianvirta River, where it got its name.

Now a global brand, Canon is deeply steeped in Japanese culture with the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy appearing in the original logo.



Let people know your thoughts.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.