I’ve recently wrote a piece on color psychology and got some pertinent comments, worth reading,
from Ed Roach and Kevin Skarritt (aka Chief Nut), both branding professionals. Kevin criticizes my article, considering that setting norms for color use is not a good branding approach. To support his comments he proudly explains how boldness worked for Acorn Creative’s (his) brand image:
Last example … Creating our own heavily textured, black background, with unique torn-paper navigation is probably the best brand move we’ve ever made — emphasizing bold, creative “trickster-like” emotional connections.
Right. Sure it worked. After all, Acorn’s brand should suggest differentiation, creativity, and boldness. But have a bank do the same thing with its website and tell me what public reactions can you foresee?
Ed, on the other hand, considers that staying away from a particular standard color will help a logo differentiate (and lead). That’s probably true. In the very article that determined Ed Roach’s commentary I wrote: “Although each color has its audience and its industry, there are cases when one color might be successfully employed for atypical applications.” But I’ll not go for Ed’s “lead” due to logo color differentiation idea. I can only quote Nick Rice and hope for the best:
The design of your logo really doesn’t matter. Would you choose MSN as your search engine over Google because of their logo?
And I consider Nick Rice’s statement accurate. While I love the Apple logo, I’ll never buy anything else but a DELL. I love McDonald’s logo, but I’ll always go for Burger King’s “Feel the Fire” (although their logo is far from being so “cool”) or for KFC’s spicy wings. Coca-Cola has a great brand, but Pepsi simply tastes better… to me. It’s all a matter of personal taste, perception and preference.
As Kevin Skarritt often says in his blog, what makes a brand stand out of the crowd is emotion. After all it’s the public perception that sets the directions for a brand. The logo and the website, colors and fonts, are just pieces of the puzzle. The branding development is more complex. This is an on-going process. I’d say that the public sets the standards. If this year airy layouts with light backgrounds work best, is because the Web users find these easier to use. Ben Hunt’s piece on last year’s trends is elucidatory, and so is Phil Brisk’s article.
To conclude: the logo alone does not make a brand. The website alone, no matter how great the design, has no chance either. You’ll need to take a skilled designer to create your logo and your website, according to your vision (meaning: the designer should understand your industry, target audience, corporate values, etc), then go for more… for instance a public relations expert to communicate your brand.