BRANDING & COLOR – Number six in a series

Back to blogging after a week of just “getting away”. This time I’m continuing the series about color in branding.

This blog’s subject: purple.

Or is it lavender?

Or perhaps violet?

Like the other primary and secondary colors – the purple family belongs to the secondary class – there are various shades and mixtures and intensities that can be included in any particular class. So I’ll discuss all itsdesignations under the class called purple.

Four shades of purple for branding

As a secondary color, purple and it’s mates reside between red and blue on the color wheel. Therefore, it is a little “schitzo” with attributes both hot and cool. Often, especially on the web, it’s difficult to differentiate a deep purple from a dark blue, or a violet from a wine-red hue.

Purple is traditionally associated with nobility, spirituality and magic. There’s also a suggestion of prosperity.

In researching for this blog, I was surprised that fewer companies had adopted purple as a primary corporate color. There are few negative connotations. Just purple prose and purple haze show up. But there is an association with death in Latin America.

The only brand I’ve discovered that actually revels in purple is the “purple pill”, Nexium.

 Purple logos for Starter, Nexium, Diners Club, Hobie, Fiat and Sun Microsystems.

Another user of purple is FedEx and I’ll comment more about that. Initially the FedEx colors were purple and orange. Today that combination refers to its overnight air express service. For their corporate colors they’re substituted gray for orange. Then for their ground service, it’s lime green and purple, for “Trade Network” it’s gold and purple, and for the FedEx/Kinko stores, purple and sky blue. As you can see below, the “Fed” word is always purple and the logo retains its typeface in each variation. Well done, FedEx.

An array of FedEx logos

As already stated, purple imparts dignity or nobility in its darker tones. When more toward lavender, the color is feminine and fashion oriented.

Across the wheel from purple is the primary color, yellow. As it’s complement, they make a contrasting and complementary pair. The analogous colors are red and blue.

Those people who favor purple are likely to be creatives or eccentrics. They enjoy being unique from others and can be temperamental. They are also sensitive and observant, and enjoy fantasy. I’ve read that comic books with purple on their covers sell better than those with another color dominating.

Anyway, if you’re looking for a color for your brand that hasn’t been already used to adnauseam, you might explore purple and its associates, violet, mauve, lavender, lilac, orchid, plum, et al.

Martin Jelsema

2 thoughts on “BRANDING & COLOR – Number six in a series

  1. I’ve got to check the source again, but Manlio Brusatin in his “The History of colours” names purple as a case study because in its origins this color was used in exlcusive by the bishops in their clothes. The pigment was really hard to obtain thanks to a special bug coming from India. That’s why is related to luxury.

    Your blog is great!


  2. In many countries (especially Catholic ones) purple can represent death. Which is a reason many brands stay away from it.

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