Colours of Marketing – Why black is a stand out colour choice

From sleek, high-end luxury brands to athletic wear and one of the most famous children’s brands ever, black has proven time and again to be popular with brands which want to be taken seriously, yes even Disney!

When we think of marketing, black is not always a colour which jumps to the front of mind. But for some of the world’s biggest brands, it was a good choice as it suggests elegance, strength and loyalty.

Some of the largest and best-known brands to adopts black for its logo and branding include:

  • Gucci
  • Chanel
  • Louis Vuitton
  • Prada
  • Rolex
  • Mont Blanc
  • Toyota
  • Lexus
  • Adidas
  • Apple
  • Nike
  • Sony
  • Disney
  • Country Road
  • SBS
  • ABC
  • Australian Wool
  • Australian Aid
  • Australian Government
  • Cub Scouts/Scouts Australia
  • RM Williams

It is a surprising list indeed and I’ll bet much more impressive than you may have originally thought when we started talking about the colour black.

Of course, we know black and white marketing campaigns can be extremely powerful in a society so busy that to stand out, you often need to exude an air of quiet refinement, or just refinement, or even just quiet.

And in this context the use of black for branding should come as no surprise, yet somehow it still does.

Californian branding gurus, Ignyte tells us black conveys trust, loyalty, dependability, logic, serenity and security while Logo Maker says black conveys “authority, strength, formality, and power”.

“When used in packaging, black can create a powerful and impressive effect, even making products seems more stylish or luxurious,” Logo Maker states.

“Black can be surprisingly mysterious. While you may often hear people refer to the term ‘basic black,’ the color black can be quite crafty and carry with it hidden meanings or messages.

“It can suggest aggressiveness, power, and discipline. It can also be associated with sophistication, temptation, affluence, high-end luxury brands, and success.

“Brands that use logos in black are usually secure and deep-rooted. They don’t feel a need to call a lot of attention to themselves.

“They may believe that their reputation speaks for them and they don’t need colors to convey their power, stability, and value.”

Indeed, there is nothing gaudy or loud about a Chanel or Prada marketing campaign, with the quality and prestige of the products telling their own story and selling themselves.

“It may come as a surprise to some to learn that ads set in black and white can actually motivate consumers towards a product even more than colored ads,” advertising archive Ads of Brands explains.

“This is because colorless advertising tends to draw a viewer’s eye towards the ad’s more prominent key features rather than promoting distraction with loud coloring.

“When a commercial or ad is set in black and white, the viewer may be more likely to concentrate on what is actually being presented, therefore watching with more attention to detail.”

In the case of black in marketing, it proves the adage that less can be more, trying less hard to stand out in a crowded market and letting its refinement and elegance do the talking.