In this post, Debbie Morgan from Bold Web Design shares how six Fortune 500 companies use color in their branding to deliver and support a specific message.
When looking at a company’s color palette, you can get a great sense of what they do, who their consumers are, and the beginnings of a brand story. Colors instill feelings and promote messaging that is supported by branding that companies are already putting out, whether it be through their marketing, social media presence, etc.
Looking at how colors relate and are associated with these messages can help you on your journey to find the color palette that’s right for your project. Take it one step at a time, looking at the color wheel and the colors you think best describe the message you’re trying to convey.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at brand colors, using a handy new Color Palette tool created by Bold Web Design . It displays the Fortune 500 companies’ primary and secondary color range, providing inspiration for your own designs. But first, let’s quickly go over some of the color theory basics.
Color pairing logic
You may remember color theory from the sixth grade, but there are a few basics you should know when combining colors. There are the traditional primary colors: red, blue, and yellow. These are the foundation of all colors and different shades. Then there are warm and cool-toned colors that are opposites on the color wheel.
Why is this so important? Well, when you look at a color wheel it visually shows you which colors pair up well together. If you’re looking for a high contrast color scheme, complementary colors are the best route to go. This is the easiest color combination, just take two colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel, and you’re ready to go!
Another high contrast pairing is called triadic colors, which simply means three colors that are equally apart on the color wheel, like orange, violet and green.
Not looking for much contrast in your color combination? Pick three colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. This is called an Analogous color scheme.
Want something a little more adventurous? Try tetradic colors or double complementary colors. This involves taking two sets of complementary colors. But why stop there? The color palette selection for your brand identity can be as unique as you’d like. Have fun playing around with different colors to see which best represents you.
Now that you’ve got the basics of color pairing, let’s take a look at a few color scheme examples, from some of the Fortune 500 companies.
Ally is an example of a color palette that contains cool-toned colors. This color palette is a very subtle pairing, making it feel soft and gentle. This analogous pairing takes three colors near each other on the color wheel.
Notice they were clever in using green as a secondary color, as it is typically associated with wealth and a new beginning — a perfect color for a financial services company.
Chemours, on the other hand, has a much brighter color theme. Yet, the pairing logic is still the same. As you can see, the colors are very similar and close to each other on the color wheel. Oranges, pinks, and tans all fall on the top right of the color wheel. Oranges and yellows evoke energy which is very fitting for a global chemical company.
Newell Brands color palette would be considered a tetradic scheme with the blues, greens, oranges, and reds. As a commercial brand that caters to a lot of different audiences, having a variety of colors that encompass a plethora of meanings works well for them.
Bright may be an understatement when describing Mastercard’s color palette. This is a great example of an analogous palette with many different colors. You can see this with the many shades of orange, dipping into red and yellow and then the different shades of green.
These colors were strategic! Orange especially brings feelings of happiness and energy — a feeling most don’t associate with their finances but would like to.
It’s no surprise that a utility company has green in their color palette. When we think of energy, most of us think of this coupled with nature. Edison’s color palette is a mix of analogous and complementary colors, with purple being opposite on the color wheel from the rest. Staying in line with the earthy tones and using yellow as a main color mimicking the sun, is a smart choice for their group of consumers.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
When you look at most IT companies, you may notice they tend to use cooler colors. Color psychology tells us that cool colors, especially blue, elicit feelings of security, a very important feeling when you’re in the realm of cyberspace. This color palette has complementary colors that work well together to show visual interest and modern flavor.
Colors have a way of brightening our lives, whether it’s a fresh coat of paint in a room or on the clothes we choose to wear every day. Just like certain shades look better with certain skin tones, the meaning and use of colors dive so much deeper than appearance.
Color is even used to represent specific nations, religions, cultures, and organizations. Colors hold meaning, and this is incredibly important for companies across the globe when it comes to choosing the main colors for their brand identity. When choosing a color palette for your next branding project, think about what feelings your color choices evoke to better engage your customers.
About the author: Debbie Morgan is a writer that loves adding a witty analogy to any concept. With experience in the design and marketing industry, she’s seen her fair share of designing do’s and don’ts but loves to bring color to her explanations of these helpful concepts.
For more color resources, check out our favorite color palette picking tools, or learn how to choose colors for web design. Remember you can also search color palettes on Dribbble by hex code! Use our new filters to test our color search for yourself.