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The popularity of blue – is it a suitable colour for your brand?

Blueberries, sapphires, the sea and sky – I like the colour blue and I’m not alone; it’s the number one favourite colour of people the world over! But did you know that blue is also a favoured colour in branding?

Why is blue so popular? Why are blue logos and branding so favoured? Why not another colour? What is it about all those lovely blue tones that makes it so appealing?

Well, let’s look at the some facts about the colour blue:

  • Blue is seen in the natural environment everyday and our eye is naturally comfortable with it.
  • 53% of the flags in the world contain blue! That’s more than any other colour. Blue is emblematic of nationhood and commands attention.
  • A dark blue suit is considered professional business attire – and widely recommended to wear to interviews.

Looking specifically at branding – there’s a great reason why blue is used a lot. Colour theory suggests that blues convey trust, loyalty, cleanliness, calmness and understanding. Blue is therefore conducive to one-on-one customer communication because it’s extremely helpful in building faith with a customer. So blue can make a perfect colour choice for branding.

Different blues have even more interesting associations:

Dark Blue: this signifies authority and dependability. It’s often used with corporate brands, who need to dominate their market, while also communicating a strong sense of trustworthiness.

Royal Blue: this is considered a clean colour and signifies security. It closely represents water, so is often used in medical, sporting or health brands for its clean and sterile associations. Royal blue is also well seen in banking institutions and technology-based companies due to its strong implications of  both trust and security.

Light Blue: this tone is calming and therapeutic. You’ll find light blues in well being, branding for spiritually-focused organisations, or with businesses who have harmony and peace of mind at their core.

In my opinion, while blue can seem like the angel in the colour wheel, there are some negative side effects to using blue in your branding.

  • It is overused in branding and design, for all of the above reasons, so it can look a little too “mainstream” and predictable.
  • Because blue is so commonly used for banks and insurance companies’ branding, the strength of its trustworthiness and reliability becomes a little tainted.
  • Blue is a conservative colour, so in some brands (like technology) it might not seem innovative enough.
  • Looking at the the colour blues said to be an appetite suppressant, so it’s rarely used in food packaging.

I have a deep obsession with colour. My home is filled with colourful objects, and you might notice our branding is very colourful. The decisions we made about colour in our branding weren’t taken lightly. With our clients, we employ a complex bundle of knowledge when we suggest colours for branding – drawing on colour theory in history, what modern day associations are made with colours in certain contexts, and we tie that with an understanding of the particular client, their business and their aims. Choosing a colour for your branding is complex and using blue – while the most popular colour – should be considered with a lot of thought.

The colour psychology of blue has a HUGE part in decisions made in the world as well as because it’s the most favoured colour. It really is a pretty powerful hue! While we go about our day, we may not notice the blue banners on web pages we click, billboards we look at and logos we trust, are helping us to make decisions. Most of these are all because there is blue involved.

Even if we’re not always aware of its power, we can thank colour for how we perceive the world and the decisions we make. After all, sight is the strongest developed sense in most human beings. It’s only natural that an assessment for trying out a product is made by colour alone.

I encourage you to look at brands that use the colour blue and note how they make you feel. Are there brands you really trust that use blue in their branding?

There’s no doubt about it, blue has a simplicity and an intrigue that has got under our skin. It’s normally the first port of call for people embarking on a branding project for their business. Blue, and its many variations, is a great colour for many reasons, but it should be used in branding and logos with consideration of its full meaning.

Blue is wonderful in branding in the right context – and designers have the necessary skills to help ascertain that for you.

So, what’s your favourite colour blue and what do you think are its associations and meanings? Will you choose to use a certain kind of blue in your branding? Leave a comment below – we’d love to hear from you.
If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in this other article on the importance of colour theory in your branding.

  • Alex

    It’s funny, when I was two, I only wanted to paint with the colour blue, never another colour. I would get upset if Mum put any other colour on my palette. She would tape ten or so bits of paper to the back fence, strip me down to my underpants, and give me the blue paint palette and a brush and off I went – happy as Larry! 🙂 My dog Hamish invariably got “blued” as well. I did lose my love of blue as I grew older but it’s since returned. I haven’t used it in my business’s branding as I was wanting warm tones but I have been rethinking this move lately. Thanks for helping me ponder blue again.

    • What a wonderful memory about blue Alex! Thanks for sharing – I can just imagine a little pooch all coloured in blue! I can see why your love of blue has returned 🙂 A mix of warm with blue tones is a great colour palette in design as blue and orange are complimentary. Orange exudes creativity, warmth and expression, combined with the trustworthy, calming and professional colour of blue could be a great mix for you!

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