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The Most Powerful Colors in the World

The Most Powerful Colors in the World


When we released our report on the colors of the social web, based on data analyzed by our Twitter theme tool, we were surprised that blue was such a dominant color in people's profile designs. Was Twitter's default color influencing their design decisions? Or is blue really THE most popular and dominant color online? ...We decided to look at the colors in the brands from the top 100 sites in the world to see if we could paint a more colorful picture.

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Turns out the blue-berry doesn't fall far from the bush. The web landscape is dominated by a large number of blue brands... but Red occupies a large amount of space as well. What's driving this? You might want to say that carefully organized branding research and market tests were done to choose the perfect colors to make you spend your money, but a lot of the brands that have grown to be global web powerhouses, started as small web startups... and while large corporate giants with branding departments spend quite a lot on market research, user testing, branding, etc. Lots of the sites listed above got started with brands created by the founders themselves with little to no research into the impact their color choice would have. I once asked Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook why he chose blue for his site design... "I'm color blind, it's the only color I can see." ...and now 500 Million people around the world stare at a mostly blue website for hours each week.

While the initial reasoning for the colors chosen may be trivial, the impact that these dominant players now have in the web world will surely influence the smaller startups that want to share in the positive color associations created by their bigger siblings... Once a rocketship of a web startup takes flight, there are a number of Jr. internet astronauts hoping to emulate their success... and are inspired by their brands. And so Blue and Red will probably continue to dominate, but we can have hope for the GoWalla's, DailyBooth's and other more adventurous brands out there.

Would A Corporation By Any Other Color, Still Profit As Well?

Color is an important part of any brand, but along with the actual name of a company... Is it a great brand that builds a great company, or the other way around? Would Google, Google just as well with another name? My guess is yes.

And almost 10 years ago, Wired Magazine looked at the Colors of the corporate America... Blue & Red dominate again.

Companies spend millions trying to differentiate from others. Yet a quick look at the logos of major corporations reveals that in color as in real estate, it's all about location, location, location. The result is an ever more frantic competition for the best neighborhood. Here's a look at the new blue bloods. [Wired Magazine]

The Colors of 1 Million Brand Icons

And a brand can extend further than just your logo... On the web it reaches into the address bar in the form of a Favicon. It's quite amazing to explore, but the top 1,000,000 website Favicons can be browsed here at Icons of the Web:
See if you can find the COLOURlovers icon!

Uh-oh! But Will We Run Out of Color on the Web?

Last year Francisco Inchauste posted a very interesting article on SixRevisions about the limited resource of color... not in physical form, but in mind share. (Even linking to a post we did a while back about T-Mobile and it's trademark of "Magenta")

As a designer, it is important to be aware of the trending colors, and how they are being applied in products and work produced today. What really isn’t being discussed by the design world at large though are the limitations being set on color. Color is as free for us to use as the air we breathe… or is it? [SixRevisions]

The Next Big Color Trend

You are the next great founder, designer, influencer or creative mind that may build the next Facebook. You have the power to influence future color trends... What colors will you choose?

In need of some inspiration? Check out Creative Market for some powerful color ideas.

   

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27 Comments
Showing 1 - 27 of 27 Comments

ebola5114

lovely post, really useful ! The infographics are clear, eye catching
congratulations for who have created them
thanks for share !!

biotob

Great Post! Really interesting to see how the "big guys" handle their colors, and the trends within each business. It's not hard to see why Blue & Red would be so popular considering how "bold" they are. Aside from that, they're primary colors...you can't go wrong with them.

Pornhub_Dev

Don't know where you got your numbers on Alexa, but Pornhub sure ain't 83, according to Alexa, we are ranking at 58.
Nice idea though, but make sure you got your data right next time.

zoasterboy

Awesome post. We all know that porn is popular, Pornhub_Dev. I'm sure everyone appreciates the correction, though.

biotob

zoasterboy wrote:
Awesome post. We all know that porn is popular, Pornhub_Dev. I'm sure everyone appreciates the correction, though.

lol

CreativeSpark

Beautifully presented article!

Assuming they've put a lot of time and money into considering their logo, I suspect there are a couple of things driving the blue/red phenomenon (though I'm shocked at how few green companies there are in the top 100):
1. they're the easiest to get consistent results with in different media (ie RGB, CMYK, Pantone etc). They don't "shift" much when you're changing colour modes.
2. also as Biotob said, they're primaries or close to primaries, so they "pop" on the screen
3. and of course we all know that blue is reliable/solid/trustworthy/corporate and red is exciting/dynamic/sexy (or loving/fortuitous if you're Chinese)... that's a cultural given
=) Marc

caori

Gorgeous post Darius! I loved to read it!

ximerest

Awesome post!!! I love your ideas and the infographics are really clear to read. I decided to translate it to spanish and made a post out of it, so my local connections in Argentina can enjoy your amazing work too! here is the link "in your honour", thanx again: http://ximenarestaino.com/el-color-de-la-nube-cuales-son-los-colores-ma

Drowlord

No mention of the science? A huge percentage of men are red-green color blind -- as much as 15%. This makes everything in the red-orange-yellow-green spectrum look uniformly brown. Further, yellow-green and blue-green sensory proteins are on sex-linked genes and all men (having one chromosome producing these proteins) experience these colors differently -- less vividly -- than women (who have two chromosomes producing these proteins). Men also wind up having a much harder time differentiating colors in these ranges. Blue sensory proteins are not on sex-linked genes, so men have two chromosomes producing a larger number of these sensory proteins compared with yellow-green and green-blue. This gives men a much better (i.e. equal to women) ability to see, differentiate, and generally appreciate colors closer to this spectrum.

tekym

Drowlord wrote:
No mention of the science? A huge percentage of men are red-green color blind -- as much as 15%. This makes everything in the red-orange-yellow-green spectrum look uniformly brown. Further, yellow-green and blue-green sensory proteins are on sex-linked genes and all men (having one chromosome producing these proteins) experience these colors differently -- less vividly -- than women (who have two chromosomes producing these proteins). Men also wind up having a much harder time differentiating colors in these ranges. Blue sensory proteins are not on sex-linked genes, so men have two chromosomes producing a larger number of these sensory proteins compared with yellow-green and green-blue. This gives men a much better (i.e. equal to women) ability to see, differentiate, and generally appreciate colors closer to this spectrum.


It's more like 10% of everyone, not 15% of just males, and anyway colorblindness is not an all-or-nothing thing. By far the most common form of colorblindness is deuteranomaly, at around 5-6% of males, which results in nothing more than a slightly reduced ability to discriminate between different hues of red/orange/yellow/green that are very similar. Everything on the red-orange-yellow-green spectrum being uniformly brown isn't true either, even for dichromats. Actual dichromacy only occurs in maybe 1 or 2% of males. Wikipedia has a pretty good article on colorblindness.

Drowlord

tekym wrote:
Drowlord wrote:



It's more like 10% of everyone, not 15% of just males, and anyway colorblindness is not an all-or-nothing thing. By far the most common form of colorblindness is deuteranomaly, at around 5-6% of males, which results in nothing more than a slightly reduced ability to discriminate between different hues of red/orange/yellow/green that are very similar. Everything on the red-orange-yellow-green spectrum being uniformly brown isn't true either, even for dichromats. Actual dichromacy only occurs in maybe 1 or 2% of males. Wikipedia has a pretty good article on colorblindness.

I don't think your numbers are right. I've read from numerous sources that red-green color blindness is strongly sex-linked and affects about one in seven men, with women at a much lower rate and usually at a much lower severity. I read a pretty detailed article describing the biochemistry, which very closely correlated researched color-blindness data to the genetic roots. Blue-grey color blindness affects both sexes at about the same rate: ~ 1%. If you add up all the types of color blindness, 10% across the board is pretty close to the numbers I've seen. My description almost certainly describes the "worst case" scenario, though, and I'm sure much color-blindness is milder. I am describing extreme cases of color-blindness to 15% of men, when in fact a complete red-green failure probably occurs much less often.

I took an interest in color-blindness about 13 years ago when I discovered that in my team of web developers, I was the only one in my five-person team with full color vision. I was frustrated at how my highly intelligent team members could so severely cock up every design they touched -- which was, of course, based on our company's logo color: orange. Turns out, they couldn't tell orange from red from yellow from brown. It has since served as a major concern of mine when developing web sites.

ycc2106

AH! glad to get more precision to your last post.
Great post + good infographics!
Well done! =)

OrangePop

the idea of thinking about such a common thing like company logos reveals a whole new story, that can be interesting because you never think deeply into things. I love when people dig down deep into the world when other oblivious people skim the surface and never really get the full experience of life. i love the infographics of this post and wonderful job!

BostonBrander

Great work. Curious: What criteria did you use to select the Top 100?

kamikaze_squirrel

Interesting study, and nice infographic. Just need to correct the spelling of "NIELSEN" at the bottom.

Rolln

Awesome! I Loved this article!

All the very best from Kuwait :)

woreman

Very interesting stuff. A good tool for helping clients decide color.

cassadie

I see what the post says about blue dominating the logo sphere. I get that. But if you look at the Top Brand Web Rankings, only TWO of the top ten are blue (tied with grey) and THREE are multicolored. I think it pays to note this fact.

Great post all in all!

Eric Petterson

Wow! Really cool infographics! Looking at them makes me want to be able to do one myself one day =)

mi12u

Very True But i think Blue Still Top The Charts and As per other Brands people also Love Red if you notice your Google search result is also Blue. one more point the Google plus 1 Site and Google Both have Basic Four Color. Blue , Red, Green , Yellow. Bing also Use lot of Blue and Orange ( Yellow ) Shade.

tofrelouir

i love the caripy color

Sumon

Awesome post. Actually I love when people dig down deep into the world when other oblivious people skim the surface and never really get the full experience of life. i love the infographics of this post and wonderful job!. There is another web site for web developing. It is http://www.businessspice.com.

RobPlinqs

I know I'm a bit late to the party but I love this infographic and I've added links to it here: http://plinqs.com/robert/coloursoftheweb/

stillhere

Awesome post Darius! Looks like blue is here to stay.

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