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Branding

Vadim Carazan

7 min read

26/02/2024

50 Shades of Blue in Branding

50 Shades of Blue in Branding

If you ask a client their preferred color for a logo, chances are they'll pick blue. As a curious kid, I'd bombard my mom with endless 'whys': Why is the sky blue? Why is the grass green? It turns out, our connection to colors isn't just about seeing them; it's about what they mean to us, developed over time. Colors are defined by our collective experiences. Imagine if grass was blue and the sky green; perhaps then, green would be the tech world's go-to color for logos!

Let's delve into blue, the branding world's darling. Its connection to the sky and water is immediate and ancient. It's a color we see everywhere; it's part of our evolutionary history. Blue skies have long been associated with the abode of gods, a place people look up to for guidance, which fosters trust. That’s why blue echoes loyalty, honesty, transparency, power, and authority. Blue is almost godly! Our hunter-gatherer ancestors, drawn to clear skies and clean waters, were more likely to survive. Over time, this preference might have become ingrained in our DNA.

Popularity of Blue in the Tech Industry

In the vast spectrum of colors, blue stands out as the tech industry's favorite. But why is this color so dominant in a sector driven by innovation and change? The answer lies deep within our psyche and the attributes blue represents.

Blue, in its essence, symbolizes trust, reliability, and security. In an industry where new technologies emerge at lightning speed, establishing trust is paramount. Companies like IBM, Facebook, and Intel have leveraged blue in their branding to communicate stability and dependability to their users.

The tech world can be overwhelming, with constant updates and information overload. Blue provides a calming influence in the chaotic digital landscape. It's no coincidence that social media giants like former Twitter, LinkedIn, Bluesky, and Facebook chose this hue; it offers a sense of peace and serenity amidst the endless stream of online chatter.


While the tech industry is all about looking forward, it also respects tradition. Blue bridges this gap beautifully. It's innovative enough to represent the future, but traditional enough to reassure users that they're in safe hands. This balance makes blue a perfect fit for tech companies aiming to push boundaries while maintaining user trust.

Blue is universally appealing. It transcends cultural and geographical boundaries, making it an ideal choice for global tech companies aiming to reach diverse audiences. Unlike other colors that may have different meanings in different cultures, blue is consistently associated with positive qualities worldwide.

Standing Out Among Competitors

In a sea of blue logos and branding, standing out might seem like a daunting task. Yet, with strategic thinking and creative execution, your brand can shine even brighter. Here’s how:

Innovate with Design: It’s not just the color but how you use it. Incorporate blue in innovative ways through your branding elements. Think about texture, patterns, and gradients that can make your logo or branding stand out. A dynamic blue gradient or an unexpected pattern can add depth and make your design memorable.

Designed by Vadim Carazan

Combine with Contrasting Colors: Pairing blue with contrasting colors can make your branding pop. Consider colors that complement blue while reinforcing your brand identity. For example, orange offers a vibrant contrast to blue, attracting attention while maintaining harmony in design. The key is to find a balance that aligns with your brand’s personality and values.

Designed by Vadim Carazan

Tell a Unique Brand Story: Your brand’s story and values can set you apart. Use blue to tell that story in a way that resonates with your audience. If your brand emphasizes innovation, consider a brighter, more electric blue. If it’s about calmness and reliability, opt for a deeper, more subdued shade. Let the color reflect your brand’s unique attributes and story.

Designed by Vadim Carazan

Incorporate Complementary Colors for a Vibrant Identity: Take inspiration from brands like Dropbox, which, while maintaining their iconic blue logo, introduced various versions against different colorful backgrounds. This approach not only preserved their original identity but also infused their branding with a dynamic, creative spirit. By adopting a similar strategy, you can keep the familiarity of blue while making your brand more vibrant and versatile.

Source: Dropbox Blog


The Blue Dilemma: Not Universal for All Industries

Contrary to tech's embrace, blue in food branding is tricky. Common belief holds that blue is an appetite suppressant, making it a rare guest in food marketing. Why? It's rarely found naturally in food, aside from blueberries or certain plums. This scarcity on our plates supposedly signals our brains to curb hunger. But it's not black and white—or, should I say, blue and white. The shade matters. Deep blues like those of the ocean bring a different vibe, often seen in luxury or seafood brands, breaking the no-blue food rule with style.

Here's where it gets interesting: seafood brands love deep blue. It reflects the ocean's depth and richness, enhancing the product's appeal when combined with warm colors like orange, red or pink. This strategic use transforms blue from a hunger halt to a hunger call.

Left image: by STUDIO METIS | Right image: by Jay Fletcher

Blue isn't one-size-fits-all. Its effectiveness varies by industry, context, and shade. In tech, it's a trustworthy standard. In food, it's a nuanced choice, effective when used right. Brands need to understand these subtleties. Blue can be your best asset or a silent setback. Know your industry, know your audience, and use blue not just because you can, but because it's right for your brand.

The Significance of Different Shades of Blue

Each hue of blue tells a different story, evoking distinct emotions and associations.

Sky Blue: Approachability and Serenity Sky blue, light and ethereal, evokes a sense of calm, openness, and tranquility. It's the color of a clear day and is often associated with approachability and peace. Brands use sky blue to appear more friendly and inviting, making it a popular choice in healthcare, social media, and customer service.

Navy Blue: Professionalism and Trust Navy blue is deeper and more serious. It's the color of the deep sea and the evening sky, symbolizing reliability, professionalism, and trustworthiness. This shade is favored by financial institutions, corporate firms, and technology companies aiming to project stability and authority.

Royal Blue: Excellence and Superiority Royal blue, vibrant and bold, carries connotations of superiority, excellence, and sophistication. It's a regal color, historically associated with royalty and prestige. Brands seeking to portray themselves as leaders in their field or to exude a sense of luxury often opt for royal blue.

Cyan Blue: Freshness and Vitality Cyan, a greenish-blue shade, is vibrant and energetic, evoking a sense of freshness, vitality, and renewal. This bright, spirited color is often associated with innovation and clarity. It's the color of clear waters in a tropical paradise, symbolizing cleanliness and new beginnings. Brands in the technology, water purification, and health and wellness industries might use cyan to suggest innovation and purity. It's a color that communicates forward-thinking and modernity, making it a popular choice for tech startups and companies promoting clean, sustainable solutions.

Turquoise Blue: Communication and Clarity Turquoise, a blend of blue and green, combines the calming properties of blue with the renewal qualities of green. It's associated with communication, clarity, and creativity. Brands in the travel, beauty, and wellness industries use turquoise to inspire thoughts of tropical waters and clear skies, promoting relaxation and inspiration.

Teal Blue: Balance and Versatility Teal, a darker, more muted blend of blue and green, represents balance, versatility, and sophistication. It's a more subdued and versatile color, suitable for a variety of settings. Teal can be used by brands looking to combine the calming nature of blue with the natural, rejuvenating qualities of green.

Cobalt Blue: Intensity and Depth Cobalt blue is intense and vibrant, with a depth that grabs attention. This shade of blue is associated with energy, dynamism, and confidence. It's used by brands aiming to stand out and make a statement, making it ideal for creative industries, fashion, and design.

YInMn Blue: Innovation and Exclusivity The newly discovered YInMn Blue, named after its chemical composition of yttrium, indium, and manganese, represents the cutting edge of pigment technology. Its bright, vibrant hue stands for innovation, exclusivity, and modernity. Brands looking to position themselves as forward-thinking and unique have started to explore this new shade for its distinctive appeal and non-toxic properties.

Matching Hues: Solving the Digital-to-Print Blue Dilemma

A client approached us for a design subscription. They had established branding but needed assistance with various design tasks, and one of their initial requests was to create banners for an upcoming event. However, we quickly encountered a challenge: the CMYK colors used in the print materials appeared too dull compared to the vibrant and rich blue displayed on their digital platforms.

The discrepancy between digital vibrancy and print dullness was stark. Digital screens, with their backlit RGB color space, can produce a much wider spectrum of colors, including brighter and more saturated blues, than what CMYK printing can replicate. This difference often leads to a significant shift in color perception when transitioning from screen to paper.

Our first task was clear: we needed to find a CMYK blue that could closely match the client's digital identity. This involved experimenting with various CMYK formulations, considering factors like paper type, print finish, and ink formulations, which all affect the final printed color.

After several tests and adjustments, we discovered a CMYK blend that brought the client's print materials to life. The new blue was not only closer to the digital original but also carried the same energy and vibrancy expected by the brand.

The client's reaction was overwhelmingly positive. For the first time, their prints reflected the true spirit and vibrancy of their brand's blue, both online and in print.

Conclusion

Blue's range in branding is vast and varied. Its journey from ancient times to modern science shows our deep connection to this color. In branding, knowing the different meanings and feelings blue can evoke can turn a basic design into a strong brand identity. As we keep experimenting and innovating, blue stays central, proving its lasting charm and ability to resonate with people's feelings and thoughts.


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Straight to the point, no fluff – just valuable content that keeps you in the loop.

From new blog posts to exclusive offers, we've got you covered.

Straight to the point, no fluff – just valuable content that keeps you in the loop. From new blog posts to exclusive offers, we've got you covered.

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