What does the colour of your logo say about you?

There is a considerable amount of interest at the moment in what colours mean and what effect they have on us.

Some organisations are so deeply associated with specific colours that they’ll fight expensive legal battles to protect their particular tone. However, since the human eye can detect 10 million different colour variations, there is, arguably, plenty of room for individualisation.

As an aid to those currently thinking about what colour they want their brand to be, this series of brief articles explores some fundamentals about colours and the potential implications they have on brand identity.

Let’s start with Green.

Green is the colour of nature – trees, plants, grass, avocados and curly kale. It is the colour of health, well-being and harmony. It is the colour of hope, promise, trust and prosperity. It stands for peace, calm, relaxation, refreshment and renewal. Rather paradoxically, it also says GO!

Research shows that people recover better from illness with views of green spaces and that being in the countryside impacts positively on those suffering from mental illness. Athletes even run faster on green tracks.

It is the colour and name of a political party aimed at ensuring that we do less damage to ourselves and the planet. With the addition of the word Peace it is a high-profile NGO energetically focussed on defending the environment. And when added to Energy it signifies a reduction in environmental impact.

As a result, the types of organisations which use green in their identities tend to be: pharmaceutical or hospital groups; food and drink manufacturers and restaurants using quality natural ingredients or suppliers of healthy food; charities; manufacturers of farming machinery and vehicles for country pursuits, or anybody wanting to imply that their products have natural, life-enhancing, unharmful qualities.

Indeed, the term ‘Green-washing’ has been coined to describe organisations that are not very environmentally friendly using the colour green to make themselves look more so, whether in their corporate identity, product labelling or by simply planting trees.

The example often used to illustrate this is BP’s eco-friendly green and yellow Helios logo juxtaposed with their handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster. However, BP argue, with justification, that they have had a strong corporate relationship with the colour green dating back to the 1920s.

Despite its popularity, only 1% of cars sold in the UK in 2016 were green as opposed to 11% red, 15% blue, 20% black and 20% white.

Notable organisations using green significantly in their brand identity include: Acer, Asda, BMI Hospital Group, BP, Carlsberg, GWR, John Deere, Lacoste, Land Rover, Lloyds Bank, Lloyds Pharmacy, Merck, Nvidia, Oxfam, Jamie’s Italian Restaurants, Starbucks, Tropicana, Tic Tac and Whole Foods Market.

Go to the next article in the series to find out about Red.