Color Theory: Purple as a Branding Color
Is purple the right choice for your branding and marketing? Understand the color theory of purple to find out.
If you are considering purple as a primary color for your brand, it’s a good idea to understand the color theory of purple and cultural references that are associated with it.
Color psychology: Purple is associated with royalty, fantasy, and flowers
You may have learned in history class that purple is associated with royalty. For centuries, purple dye was rare and extremely expensive and therefore only affordable for the most wealthy and royalty. More recently, Queen Elizabeth I prohibited anyone except close members of the royal family to wear it.
Today, the historical connection with royalty may not register with everyone. However, purple is still associated with princesses as well as fantasy and make-believe wizards and fairies. Many beautiful, natural things like butterflies and flowers are purple.
Color psychology: Purple is feminine
Because of these associations, purple feels feminine. While not as overused as pink, it is a color used by products and brands that are focused on selling to girls and women. There are several well-known brands targeted at women who use purple. Claire’s sells low-cost jewelry to tweens and teen girls. Curves is a women-only gym and Babies-R-us caters mainly to new moms. Since women account for eighty percent of greeting card sales, purple is a good choice for Hallmark (who also uses the association with royalty by having a crown in their logo).
It may be a risky choice to use purple in your branding or marketing if you sell a product geared toward men (or even the general public) but read on for brands that are successfully embracing purple in their logo.
Best purple logos and brands
There are not many large brands that use purple as their dominant brand color. Blue, red, and black are much more popular. But remember, it’s easier to stand out when you don’t use the typical colors that your competitors have chosen. Probably the most well-known purple corporate brand is FedEx. FedEx pairs the purple with other colors including orange, green and gray to distinguish their different business divisions.
Cadbury also uses purple for its logo and throughout its packaging. They may be marketing to women first—either as the buyers or the consumers.
Taco Bell: An unusual purple logo
Taco Bell is an unusual usage of purple in their logo and branding. Earlier versions of their logo used red, yellow and green to represent meat, cheese and lettuce—the primary ingredients of traditional tacos. Then, for years, they had a blue and hot-pink logo. Taco Bell introduced its latest purple logo in 2016. The color was chosen to show how they have a fresh and novel approach to Mexican food.
Is purple associated with streaming and technology?
Roku, Switch and Yahoo! are three brands that are using purple for their logos and branding. All three are involved with technology, Roku and Twitch with streaming and Yahoo! with their web portals and software. Perhaps this is the early signs of a new trend associating purple with media and technology.
Is purple right for your brand?
Finding the right color for your brand depends on what associations you want to come to mind when people see your brand. Purple historically has been tied to royalty, fantasy, nature and female-focused brands. If you are selling a product that is specifically made for women or girls, it’s a natural choice, right behind pink. And the associations with fairies and flowers can be perfect for right the business.
With several technology companies, as well as multi-national FedEx using purple, there appears to be an openness to using the color outside of these traditional themes. Since purple is lesser used than blue, red, or black it may be a good way for your product or service to stand out.
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