We’ve written about color before (Paul did talked about color temperature, here, and I wrote about the color red, here). In that last post, we saw how colors have meaning. Today we take a closer look at the color blue.
Interestingly, if you were to ask someone their favorite color, you are mostly likely to be told, “blue.” Blue is preferred over other colors by more than 50% of all people, including both women and men. It is particularly popular among men.
Like all colors, blue is associated with both positive and negative attributes. Some of the positive ideas that blue can represent include: tradition, authority, stability, calm, tranquility, knowledge, healing, loyalty, and quality (think blue ribbon). Blue can also represent negative ideas including cold, depression (the blues), and nasty language (swear a blue streak).
Unlike red, which calls attention to itself and raises metabolism, blue does the opposite. Blue has a calming effect and can lower metabolism and suppress appetite.
Because of its association with trustworthiness and tradition, blue is used by many organizations that want to communicate these values—banks, insurance companies, and investment brokers. It is also used by government, police, and military units to communicate authority and expertise. Politicians often use blue in their signage and logos for the same reason. Large brands that effectively use blue include: IBM, Dell, HP (disclosure: our design shop is owned by HP), Ford, GM, BMW, Prudential, Progressive, United Way, Pfizer, Hilton, Princess Cruises, and Microsoft. Of course, there are dozens of other examples.
Is blue the right color for your brand identity? It all depends on what you are trying to communicate. If your brand stands for trustworthiness, calm, or authority, blue may be a good place to start. Spas, pool companies, law firms, and pharmaceutical and medical companies might also want to start with the color blue.
One of my favorite blue logos from our logo design gallery:
Photo credit: Ehsan Khakbaz.