Most companies, especially long established ones, have a specific color or colors for their logo and various identity and marketing materials. These are their corporate colors. The organization doesn't necessarily have to be a corporation. Non-profits, clubs, and businesses of any type or structure often have identifying colors that may be referred to as their corporate colors. School and team colors serve much the same purpose as corporate colors as well.
Color IdentityAlong with specific fonts, logos, and tag lines, color is a significant component of an organization's corporate identity. Part of designing an identity system for a business or other organization is choosing appropriate colors. A designer creating materials for an organization that has established corporate colors should ask for and follow guidelines or house style that spells out specific colors. Typically a company may specify CMYK and PMS / spot colors for print and matching (or as close as possible) colors for the Web. Not all red or blue or green is the same color.
Specific Corporate ColorsThere is no color off limits for an organization but corporate blue is a specific range of blue colors often associated with the corporate world. It conveys intelligence, stability, unity, and conservatism — all attributes that many businesses strive to deliver.
- In 2010 ColourLOVERS created a rainbow graphic of the top 100 Web brands at the time. The rainbow skewed heavily to the blue side with HP, PayPal, Facebook, Twitter, Dell, AT&T, and AOL followed by a nice showing of red (where About.com and Adobe hang out together with CNN, YouTube, and the BBC).
- In this collection of Corporate Color Palettes About.com Web Design / HTML Guide Jennifer Krynin looks at the colors for many large corporate Web sites including About.com, Adobe, and Apple. You'll see a fair amount of corporate blues.
- At Smashing Magazine, Colors in Corporate Branding and Design evaluates the use of color in the Web design of companies such as McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Ford, and UPS. You'll find a lot of red and blue but some break away with brown, orange, and pink.
- How to Choose the Right Color for Your Brand looks briefly at six colors and how various businesses use those colors. It also touches on brand recognition, emotion, and using color to differentiate yourself from competitors.
- Writing for About.com Marketing, Jim Schakenbach addresses several topics including color choices in Continuity: Creating An Image Greater Than The Parts.
"I never cease to be amazed at how casually some companies treat their identity. There's no shortage of firms that use two, three, even four versions of their logo on a regular basis, with no particular rhyme or reason. The same goes for corporate colors - often a victim of one or more employee's personal taste ("I HATE that color, I'm going to use green instead... I think it looks better"). This dilution of image is made even easier by the proliferation of PowerPoint and other tools used by more and more employees. If this is happening to your company, I have three words of advice: STOP IT. NOW."— Jim Schakenbach
- What Color is Your Business? from About.com Small Business Information briefly explains the importance of choosing the right colors to represent your business.
"Several large brand name companies are associated with their corporate colors. IBM- Big Blue signifies stability and conservatism. UPS- Brown symbolizes longevity and reliability. A color can be connected to a product like Tide; in the bold orange box, evoking the feeling of vibrance."— Darrell Zahorsky
- When Choosing the Right Colors for Corporate Logo Design this logoorange article suggests looking at what specific colors mean in your industry and choosing those that convey a positive message and reflect the feeling you want to project for your specific business. Energetic colors such as flame red and sunny yellow might not be appropriate corporate colors for a funeral home, for instance.