Own Your Awesome, Not Just Your Own Color

Posted in Insights

You have to admit, trademarking a color is a bit absurd. And while companies like T-Mobile may think owning a color helps their brand compete, it may just distract them from owning their awesome.

"You’re now in big trouble if you use a color that’s been turning up in your drawings since you were two. Tell your designers to drop the M in CMYK moving forward, or else . . . ”

A recent Kenn Fine rant in Fast Co Design launches from T-Mobile's recent threats to a small insurance company over its use of magenta into a diatribe about value addition.

Trying to crush other companies’ use of color is not only petty; it completely misses the point of branding. Color is only part of what makes a brand distinctive—and keeps customers coming back.

More important are attributes like how well you serve your customers and how effective your product is. Companies only distract themselves by thinking their monopoly on celedon or periwinkle is key to their competitive advantage. T-mobile reveals the insecurity of its brand by insisting that its value proposition depends on owning the shade of the fuchsia growing freely on your windowsill.

A carefully composed color palette is an important element in developing compelling visual environments and communications. A name, a system, a combination of elements assembled to create something new and add value should be protected from blatant copycats. The key difference is how companies assemble and deliver a bundle of ideas, not simply claim a single compositional element available in nature.

Read the full article on Fast Co.

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