The Brand Colour Swap: what’s in a colour?

London, UKIt started as an exercise: How would brands be perceived by us if they had a different colour scheme? Could we get used to them with time or would it produce something unimaginable?

You know, my dear graphic design friends, that just imagining, in this case, isn’t enough though. I hope none of the brands displayed here will come after this curious graphic designer claiming copyright abuse or anything similar – just to clarify, we will not print custom t-shirts of these designs (even though I’d love to!), it’s merely an exercise. An exercise which got interesting when it revealed results which show that perhaps, in the branding world, not all choices are that naive. Let’s start.

Colour is probably the most important part of branding. It walks side by side and hand in hand with the brand’s visual identity, is there from the very first minute and, if it’s chosen correctly, stays for eternity. Would you get eager for french fries without McDonald’s giant yellow M? Or would Coca-Cola be the same without its magnetic red? We can’t know for sure. Coke doesn’t even have an exact Pantone matching colour anymore (though they recommend 485, apparently), making it almost mythical. Respect.

If you went to design school, one of the first things you’ll have learned is: colours represent emotions. Blue means calm and trust, green means vibrancy and draws eco-friendly connotations, red means passion or danger and will make you want to leave a restaurant quickly if it’s plastered on the walls. Or something like that; ‘urgency is red’, they say. Luckily or not, I had a couple of professors of semantics who were very keen about it back in my BA, they made me never forget about the obvious: everything means something, always.

All meanings are associated with simple use, common sense and by the exposure, we get to them with time, however, they’re not necessarily universal. White can mean peace in western culture, while it represents the masculine (the yang of the yin and yang) in China, so it’s important to keep things in context. Any good company knows they should take that aspect into consideration when moving into new markets, that way they won’t step into a murky, controversial puddle. You can’t lose with common sense.

The idea, as you saw in the title, is called ‘The Brand Colour Swap‘. I’ve selected a few of the most well-known brands in certain markets and replaced their colours with those from their main competition. Not all the results turned out to be overly revealing, but you can always channel new thoughts when changing the place of things. Kind of like when someone once did what most designers would consider their worst nightmare: the Comic Sans font as the typography for a glutton of famous brands.

Any particular ‘swap’ you’d like to see featured here on this post? Just leave a comment and it can be updated. Also feel free to comment with your thoughts on the swaps.
TBCS: The Brand Colour Swap, logo colour, brand color swap, branding, logos, famous brands, graphic design, art direction, visual identity, coca-cola, subway, marketing, advertising, marketing agencies, coke, google, yahoo!, facebook, twitter, t-shirt printing, t-shirt printing for marketing, promotional clothing, t-shirt printing London, t-shirt printing UK, marketing UK, ferrari, BMW, samsung, nokia, apple, microsoft, pepsi, visa, mastercard, logos, logo design, tips

TBCS: The Brand Colour Swap, logo colour, brand color swap, branding, logos, famous brands, graphic design, art direction, visual identity, coca-cola, subway, marketing, advertising, marketing agencies, coke, google, yahoo!, facebook, twitter, t-shirt printing, t-shirt printing for marketing, promotional clothing, t-shirt printing London, t-shirt printing UK, marketing UK, ferrari, BMW, samsung, nokia, apple, microsoft, pepsi, visa, mastercard, logos, logo design, tips

TBCS: The Brand Colour Swap, logo colour, brand color swap, branding, logos, famous brands, graphic design, art direction, visual identity, coca-cola, subway, marketing, advertising, marketing agencies, coke, google, yahoo!, facebook, twitter, t-shirt printing, t-shirt printing for marketing, promotional clothing, t-shirt printing London, t-shirt printing UK, marketing UK, ferrari, BMW, samsung, nokia, apple, microsoft, pepsi, visa, mastercard, logos, logo design, tips

Note 1: What’s the colour of McDonald’s european rebrand? Interesting…
TBCS: The Brand Colour Swap, logo colour, brand color swap, branding, logos, famous brands, graphic design, art direction, visual identity, coca-cola, subway, marketing, advertising, marketing agencies, coke, google, yahoo!, facebook, twitter, t-shirt printing, t-shirt printing for marketing, promotional clothing, t-shirt printing London, t-shirt printing UK, marketing UK, ferrari, BMW, samsung, nokia, apple, microsoft, pepsi, visa, mastercard, logos, logo design, tips

TBCS: The Brand Colour Swap, logo colour, brand color swap, branding, logos, famous brands, graphic design, art direction, visual identity, coca-cola, subway, marketing, advertising, marketing agencies, coke, google, yahoo!, facebook, twitter, t-shirt printing, t-shirt printing for marketing, promotional clothing, t-shirt printing London, t-shirt printing UK, marketing UK, ferrari, BMW, samsung, nokia, apple, microsoft, pepsi, visa, mastercard, logos, logo design, tips

By the way, do you need T-shirts for a marketing campaign? ? Printsome’s apparel-printing services are perfect for making souvenirs, merchandise and staff uniforms, among many other possibilities. Visit our website to find out more.

TBCS: The Brand Colour Swap, logo colour, brand color swap, branding, logos, famous brands, graphic design, art direction, visual identity, coca-cola, subway, marketing, advertising, marketing agencies, coke, google, yahoo!, facebook, twitter, t-shirt printing, t-shirt printing for marketing, promotional clothing, t-shirt printing London, t-shirt printing UK, marketing UK, ferrari, BMW, samsung, nokia, apple, microsoft, pepsi, visa, mastercard, logos, logo design, tips

TBCS: The Brand Colour Swap, logo colour, brand color swap, branding, logos, famous brands, graphic design, art direction, visual identity, coca-cola, subway, marketing, advertising, marketing agencies, coke, google, yahoo!, facebook, twitter, t-shirt printing, t-shirt printing for marketing, promotional clothing, t-shirt printing London, t-shirt printing UK, marketing UK, ferrari, BMW, samsung, nokia, apple, microsoft, pepsi, visa, mastercard, logos, logo design, tips

TBCS: The Brand Colour Swap, logo colour, brand color swap, branding, logos, famous brands, graphic design, art direction, visual identity, coca-cola, subway, marketing, advertising, marketing agencies, coke, google, yahoo!, facebook, twitter, t-shirt printing, t-shirt printing for marketing, promotional clothing, t-shirt printing London, t-shirt printing UK, marketing UK, ferrari, BMW, samsung, nokia, apple, microsoft, pepsi, visa, mastercard, logos, logo design, tips

TBCS: The Brand Colour Swap, logo colour, brand color swap, branding, logos, famous brands, graphic design, art direction, visual identity, coca-cola, subway, marketing, advertising, marketing agencies, coke, google, yahoo!, facebook, twitter, t-shirt printing, t-shirt printing for marketing, promotional clothing, t-shirt printing London, t-shirt printing UK, marketing UK, ferrari, BMW, samsung, nokia, apple, microsoft, pepsi, visa, mastercard, logos, logo design, tips

Note 2: Not much of a difference, both brands have a one colour scheme very similar to each other.

TBCS: The Brand Colour Swap, logo colour, brand color swap, branding, logos, famous brands, graphic design, art direction, visual identity, coca-cola, subway, marketing, advertising, marketing agencies, coke, google, yahoo!, facebook, twitter, t-shirt printing, t-shirt printing for marketing, promotional clothing, t-shirt printing London, t-shirt printing UK, marketing UK, ferrari, BMW, samsung, nokia, apple, microsoft, pepsi, visa, mastercard, logos, logo design, tips

So, what are the conclusions?
Lots of brands use a similar colour strategy. The strongest and most well-known ones either keep a one colour identity (like Coke) or none at all (like the iconics Apple and Nike, but that’s achieving a new level of recognition indeed).

Blue, yellow and red are still the most used colours for most of the big companies; even Mastercard couldn’t help but bring in a dark blue to its visual identity lately. All in all, the icons from most logos are recognisable of course though it might make your brain freeze for a while trying to find what’s wrong with that image, right?

Please speak your mind below in the comment area. 🙂


T-shirt Printing for Businesses

Thanks to our five years of experience in the apparel-printing industry, we are able to offer a service catered towards the needs of modern start-ups and businesses. Printsome’s apparel-printing services are perfect for making souvenirs, merchandise and staff uniforms, among many other possibilities.

From the moment you get in touch, one of our ‘printing experts’ will answer all of your questions and find efficient solutions to your needs. It is our mission to help you reach your goals. We deliver all over the UK with flexible delivery services that can adapt to most deadlines. Printing T-shirts has never been this easy.

Why worry about inventory or logistics when we can take care of that? We deal with the boring stuff so you have more time to do what matters. To find out more, simply visit our website by clicking on the banner below.

merchandise, banner, branding

  1. Nice post. Already a follower of your blog.. i think concept is a core element when looking to Design a logo for a business which has to make a connect with its consumer and that is why the custom logo design London is a pretty hard thing and is not everyone’s cup of tea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *