Tuesday January 24th, 2017

Color Reflections: The Use of Color in Marketing

Color—as designers, it’s at the root of everything we do. In this new blog series we’ll reflect on color and the importance of it, not just in the world of marketing and design, but also in everyday life.

The use of color can transform the feel of any design, from soft to bold, modern to vintage, or masculine to feminine. That makes it one of the most important elements of design and marketing. As consumers, color is the first thing we recognize, and can make a brand stand out or blend in amongst others on the shelf. Again, making it one of the most important elements of design and marketing.

When considering which color to use for your brand, it’s important to keep these factors in mind: the message you want to convey/what your product or brand stands for, who your target market is (age, social and economic standing, etc.), and which colors are used by your competitors.

In this post, we’ll reflect on the use of color by a few brands, and discuss why their choices are helping to set them apart from the crowd.


Red is a difficult color to own in any market as it’s often associated with anger or fire. But it’s also a bold, bright color, and no brand does as well as Coca-Cola when it comes to using it. In fact we’ve come to associate red almost exclusively with this brand. Their advertising and visual identity feels nostalgic, but never outdated. It’s truly timeless.


When it comes to coffee, the obvious color choice is a shade of brown (see brands such as Tim Hortons and Peet’s Coffee). But the bold green paired with the graphic appeal of the Starbucks logo makes it stand out amongst competitors.


White is often seen as a sterile, uninteresting color. But the way Apple uses the color elevates it to a luxurious level. As a brand, they’ve taken an ultra-minimalist approach to packaging and design. Their packaging is almost entirely white aside from a product photo, which shifts the customer’s focus from the package to the product. Apple products really do sell themselves.

Color is one of the most important elements of marketing for both consumers and designers. Sure, it’s easy to look at colors on a surface level, but that ignores the emotional effect they can have.

Next Up in the Series: Color Reflections: The Color of Winter