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Harnessing the Power of Color

By Justin St. Louis

Color is one of the most powerful instruments in branding; it gives life to a brand and can convert a logo into an emotional experience for your target audience. Selecting the right color can be the difference between your story being effectively articulated in the blink of an eye, or forever lost in translation.

It’s critical that, when selecting a color to represent your product or company, you’re selecting one that is effective at telling your story.

Every color evokes emotion: positive, negative, or otherwise. Understanding color and its associated emotions is essential to any successful brand.

How does color influence the way(s) your consumers view your brand?

Ninety-five percent of the world’s top brands use only one or two colors. This helpful infographic breaks down the most commonly used colors, the emotions connected with them, and the brands that leverage their power to tell their story well. Certain colors can mean different things and resonate on different levels with each culture, and while there is no universal meaning for color, here is a rough guide to using color to achieve your company’s objectives.

Black/Gray – Black and gray convey sophistication, high quality, purposefulness, balance, and calmness. The New York Times, Puma, Nike, Honda, and Apple utilize these colors to exhibit their complexity and eminence. Twenty eight percent of the world’s top companies embrace sophistication by incorporating black or gray in their color scheme.

Purple/Pink – Creativity, luxury, hope, and imagination are attributes often associated with the colors purple and pink. Yahoo, T-Mobile, and Taco Bell employ these colors to demonstrate their happy and playful persona, and their outside-the-box approaches to business.

Blue – Facebook, AT&T, Dell, and Ford are noteworthy brands utilizing blue for its trusted, dependable, and calming nature. Thirty three percent of the world’s top brands trust blue as the primary color in their logos and branding.

Green – Spotify, Starbucks, John Deere, and Whole Foods use green to display a fresh, relaxed environment, or their connections to growth and nature.

Yellow – Yellow is the color of energy, warmth, and joy — all qualities communicated via the branding of Nikon, Shell, Subway, and Ikea. Thirteen percent of the world’s top brands spread joy with yellow as their color.

Red – Netflix, CNN, Dairy Queen, and KFC proudly wear their qualities of passion, strength, and excitement by utilizing the color red. A passion for red unites twenty-nine percent of the world’s top brands.

Orange – Friendliness, courage, and confidence as displayed by Harley Davidson, Gulf, and Firefox are all qualities communicated by the color orange.

Certain colors create certain feelings. When telling your brand’s story visually, through a logo or otherwise, it’s crucial to ensure that the colors you choose align with the emotions you wish to convey. According to Branding Strategy Insider:

“Selecting colors to represent your brand should never be an exercise in trendiness, or coolness, driven by the whims of your ad agency creative director or the personal taste of the CEO’s spouse. Properly chosen colors define your brand’s value, strengthen and support your brand positioning, enable greater awareness and customer recall, and distinguish your brand among its alternatives. Picking the right color should never be underestimated.”

Color is your chance to tell a strong brand story, one with an effective and symbolic meaning.

Justin St. Louis is an intern at Woden. Whatever your storytelling needs may be, let Woden help. Read our free StorytellingBlueprint, or send us an email at to discuss how we can help tell your story.