Big business brands: Even 2-year-olds recognize their logos

By Alex Hillsberg

For the first time in thirteen years, Coca-Cola was bumped off the top of the most important brands in the world last year. Apple stole the top spot with $104.3 billion.

A lot of factors come into a brand’s value, and the most important intangible asset according to Investopedia is the logo. It’s no surprise that big companies would spend a fortune for their logo design.

This infographic provides a quick review about logos, their colors, and evolution. I thought one color stands out among the ten most valuable brands: blue. Samsung, IBM, Intel, and GE are all in that hue, while some blue shades are found in Microsoft and Google. That leaves the other colors to fight off each other for the remaining four spots.

It’s not difficult to see why blue is a favorite among big brands. It is associated with depth and stability, two traits that every company aspires to. The color evokes comfort, faith, understanding, trust, confidence, and other positive traits. The only caveat is that it’s serious and placid (because it’s stable). That’s why it’s a perfect fit more often for corporate brands than consumer products, which bring us to a whole array of color emotions employed by designers to elicit specific perceptions from us.

You probably know why McDonald’s is in yellow (happy) and Starbucks in green (sustainability of nature). Why Red Bull is red (energy) and Tiffany & Co. is in black (luxury).

Color meanings, of course, are not set in stone. Psychologists have yet to pin down a scientific process to determine color triggers, even as researchers in the University of Rochester said “red keeps us from performing our best.” Red Bull must have missed that memo.

Moreover, some logos don’t subscribe to their color meanings. Yahoo! is purple, the color of royalty. Incidentally, purple also means nostalgic; not a good color for the Internet company that has seen better days. LG is in a hue of pink, a feminine color, which has nothing to do with the company’s unisex gadgets. FedEx is half purple and half orange. Is it half romantic and half determined? We can’t figure out.

And they can be expensive—Pepsi paid one million for its new logo—or dirt cheap: Coke still uses a virtually unchanged logo that its co-founder designed over a century ago. What’s clear is that there’s more to logos than colors and doodles that they seem to be.


About the author

Alex Hillsberg writes about the financial and story aspects of many things for Finances Online, with occasional focus on personal finance, the stock market and small and medium enterprise.

Finances Online features news, tips, and stories about personal finance, business, and relevant issues, aiming to provide average American households with a bigger picture on how the economy works from a personal perspective. The website also features guides and resources relating to money matters.  

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