|Colour is a Key Element of Brand Recognition
The colour scheme adopted by an organisation in its branding can have a big impact on how recognisable it is to consumers. Many colours carry associations and some businesses have used certain hues for so long that they have become indelibly linked.Cadbury’s, for example, has used its distinctive purple colour scheme for decades, while the hues on Google’s logo are instantly recognisable. In fact it could be said that these colours are so closely related to these companies that it is impossible to imagine them any other way!A well-established colour scheme can become such a key part of brand recognition that any change can be confusing for consumers.
Paula Rupolo, a graphic designer from Brazil recently put this thought to the test as she swapped the colours in brand logos with those of their biggest competitors. For example, the red in the Coca-Cola logo was swapped for the blue, red and white of Pepsi. Take a look and I’m sure you’d agree that the logos are perhaps not instantly recognisable!
It is believed this is because people’s brains are so familiar with the established colour scheme that considering anything else becomes too tricky! It takes a moment to think about it, whereas usually it is easy to recognise a logo in an instant, even if the name of the organisation is not on display.
This exercise is a useful reminder of precisely how crucial colour is for brand recognition and putting across what a business is all about.
‘Colours are the first thing you notice in a logo, what gets fastest to our brains,’ Ms Rupolo observed. ‘Then you read a logo’s shape, icons or typography.’
However, Rupolo pointed out that graphic designers need to work in the opposite way in order to come up with the perfect logo. Ms Rupolo suggested that the shape be chosen first, with colour tests being carried out later. Organisations should then ‘explore the possible readings you get from it’ in order to see how it is the perceived by the test audience.
She went on to state that ‘big and famous brands’ effectively own the colours used in their logos. And referring to her experiment commented, ‘When you switch to a competitor’s colours, your brain notices there’s something that doesn’t fit, that makes you go ‘what’s going on here?’
Ms Rupolo concluded that the logos do not look better when the colours are juxtaposed in this way, partly because of the impressions conveyed by certain hues. For example, red is one of several colours on the MasterCard logo, but dominates when this scheme is used for Visa. Ms Rupolo said red ‘doesn’t go with credit card credibility at all, but it is acceptable when in a smaller percentage of the total colour predominance.’
This is a clear indication of why it is vital for brands to carry out extensive research and colour tests when they are designing or redesigning their logo. Designers should ask themselves what feelings, moods and thoughts certain colours might evoke, so they can opt for a colour scheme that is appropriate for their firm and the goods and services they provide.