One of the things people remember first about a brand is it’s colour choices. In this series of articles, we’ll be looking at what each colour says about a brand, how it makes people react and what messages it sends. For the first article we’ll look at the process of using multiple colours and how it promotes diversity within brands.
Many brands opt to use one colour to get their message across but some use multiple colours. Why is this? A single colour creates strong emotional feelings, so surely multiple colours should confuse the brand message? Well, yes and no, it depends on the use. The key is advertising diversity and it takes a very particular type of brand to do this effectively.
The Diversity Effect
People like to believe they are individuals. Our individuality and personalities are, in a way, our own brand. As such, branding is aimed at different people with different traits. This brand focus enables marketers to better catch a corner of the market that is more likely to buy their product. So how does branding work when it is aiming at a variety of people? This is where diversity enters. Giving an equal amount of space in branding to multiple colours gives the impression of diversity and is used to give consumers a feeling of choice. Let’s look at some famous examples from above:
A marketplace where you can buy almost anything. The shear scope of what can be purchased is huge. As such, multiple colours are used in their logo and branding to show the diversity of products available. There is something for everyone available to purchase because someone, somewhere, is selling it.
The user friendly operating system. The great strength of PCs and the windows operating system is their sheer diversity of options. You can, with a bit of knowledge, tailor it to do almost anything. From word processing machines to the highest end gaming rigs, all are catered to because there are so many options available.
A television broadcasting company. NBC pride themselves in the diverse nature of their programming, enticing people to watch their networks because there are shows to suit all tastes. Again, they use a rainbow to advertise this because it gives an impression of the choice of viewing material.
The search engine of choice. Google have become a powerhouse in the digital age because they have created a diverse platform. Their search engine is now almost the only one in existence (even now I keep an eye on my SEO while writing this page in mind for Google) because it is so versatile and allows for any information to be found almost instantly. Their logo again uses multiple colours to put across these brand ideals.
Tips for Using Multiple Colours
It is important to realise that your message may be diluted because you use multiple colours. The above examples work because they don’t just offer choice, they offer diversity. This is an important distinction to make. A clothes shop offers choice, but is not diverse as it only sells clothes. The online market eBay offers diversity because it offers clothes, books, cars, games, toys – everything really. Unless what you offer is truly diverse, veer away from using too many different colours in your branding.
Remember that print costs may also increase if you use a lot of different colours in your marketing materials. On top of this, it is also important to check that your colours and tones work together when they are printed or used online – it is a balance that you may need a designer to help you with.
It is no accident that I decided to write this article during Pride. It is becoming increasingly common for brands to change their logo slightly to show support for the LGBT+ community. There is a lot of debate about this – is it just a marketing technique or do these companies truly believe in the cause? If doing this it is important to understand why you are – if there are members of your team who identify as part of the LGBT+ community, it may be worth asking about their opinion. Showing support for a cause can give consumers a sense of trust in a brand. Equally, supporting a cause badly can have the opposite effect. It is important to understand why you do something and not to just jump on a bandwagon. I changed the Iron Dragon Design logo to incorporate the pride rainbow instead of our usual blue as a lot of my friends are in the LGBT+ community and I wanted to show that support for them as I believe in ethical marketing.
If you’re planning on re branding your company to use multiple colours, ensure that it is for the right reasons and that it is a fit for your brand. Otherwise, your message gets muddied and you open yourself and the brand to criticism.
Pride month in the UK is July. If you have issues regarding your sexuality/gender identity contact Switchboard for information and support.
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