Colors in branding and marketing influence and impact consumers. People make subconscious judgments about a product within a few seconds of the interaction.
When you think of the color orange, what comes to mind? Instantly, I think of an actual citrus orange, Halloween and pumpkins, the Nickelodeon logo, campfires, and sunsets.
What do all of these things have in common? They are all bright, energizing, and playful qualities. These things spark creativity and joy.
As one of HIPB2B’s web designers, I’ve noticed lately how the brands we design for utilize a lot of orange in their branding. It got me thinking.
What are brands trying to achieve by incorporating this warm color into their branding?
Let’s talk about some of the most famous, orange-equipped brands for a second.
Orange signifies safety or alert, which means it’s a great color to draw attention. It is often used in traffic signage and safety gear, like traffic cones and reflective vests. The Home Depot has utilized orange in their branding for decades. The Home Depot associates are outfitted in their famous orange aprons to stand out like beacons in their stores.
The popular children’s channel, Nickelodeon’s, recognizable orange splat logo represents the slime that the network has been known for since their Canadian series, You Can’t Do That On Television, in 1981. They’ve used orange in their logo since 1984 because it’s such a kid-friendly hue.
Mastercard’s red-orange-yellow Venn-diagram style logo was designed to reflect their “readiness and optimism about the future.”
Reese’s has used orange in their branding since day one. They were a huge hit during World War II even during rationing, with orange wrappers standing out among the dreariness of the times. They retained their orange branding even after Hershey acquired their company.
Fanta has always been known for its upbeat colorful advertising of its fruit-flavored soft drinks. Orange has been used in their branding as early as 1970. An interesting fact about Fanta that I never knew: it originated as a Coca-Cola substitute during World War II due to the American trade embargo of Nazi Germany.
The ASPCA includes orange in their logo, in order to add some energy and resoluteness. Orange is a great choice for this organization against animal cruelty.
Orangetheory Fitness is a heart rate-based high-intensity interval workout studio, which is well-signified with its orange branding. The fitness brand instills confidence and determination with their orange branding and “Orange” being in their name.
Whataburger is foreign to the Northeast but it’s a wildly popular fast-food chain based in Texas. They utilize orange to evoke two feelings: hunger and nostalgia. Bright, vibrant food looks more appetizing because it looks fresher, and Whataburger’s bright orange is reminiscent of fried foods. Their orange and white stripes in their branding evoke nostalgia as it’s a reminder of fifties-style burger joints.
Etsy uses multiple shades of orange in its branding and most importantly, its logo. Etsy’s purpose is to promote thousands of sellers who use Etsy to sell handmade and vintage materials. They use an orange palette for a vintage and quirky vibe to spark nostalgia.
These companies are sending the message that their brand and product are friendly and cheerful. Orange is said to activate brain activity, but it can also be seen as aggressive due to its eye-catching nature. This combination of friendliness and mental stimulation makes it great for inspiring consumers to be confident and take action. Be cautious when using orange if your brand is trying to appear feminine, luxurious, or serious, as orange does not invoke those traits to customers.
Orange is not the most popular choice for branding but that’s what makes orange-equipped brands so unique. It has a lot of the power and energy of red without the established representation that comes with it. Because of this, orange makes us feel more vague emotions, such as hunger, enthusiasm, and stimulation.
What should be next? Tiffany blue? Coke red? McDonald’s golden arches?
How does orange make you feel? Should we make this color psychology a blog post series? What color scheme do you prefer in branding?