What do you feel when you see red and green paired together? Chances are, you’re whisked away on Santa’s sleigh with warm thoughts of twinkling trees, joyous carols, and the aroma of fresh baked cookies that once filled your childhood home.

However, if you show the exact same red and green pairing to someone in Italy, they may associate those colors with their country’s flag and think of tradition, family, and heritage.  Because color association is so dependent on an individual’s cultural background, personal biases, and life experiences, “color psychology” is for the most part irrelevant.

Because there are so many variables surrounding colors, brands can no longer rely entirely on color psychology malarkey when choosing a strategic color palette; but they can select colors that reinforce their brand story and consistently use color to craft a unique brand experience.

There are many brands that possess an incredible amount of brand equity—so much so, that they now dominate an entire color space. For instance, Pepto Bismol pink, Coca-Cola red, and Tiffany blue are all very specific hues that have become instantly recognizable over the years thanks to consistency and strict brand standards. UPS even went so far as to leverage their famous color in their former tagline, “What can brown do for you?”

When you put all of these factors together, it’s clear that color plays an undeniable role in brand recognition. Color combinations, hierarchy, hue, and placement all greatly affect how a brand is perceived. That being said, let’s put major brand palettes to the test. See if you can recognize the brands below based solely on color. You’ll find the answers at the bottom of the page.


Need some help putting color to work for your brand? Let us know. We’ve helped countless clients develop identities and color palettes that capture colors and make them an integral part of their brand.

As promised, here are the answers to the examples above:

1. Walmart
2. John Deere
3. Coca-Cola
4. Denny’s
5. Yahoo!
6. Home Depot