Can colour really make a difference to a construction brand?
Posted by Justin Kemp
As a graphic designer there’s nothing more exciting than constructing a new brand design or creative campaign and delving deep into the pantone library to cherry-pick a perfect bunch of complementary colours. It’s very easy, as a designer, to rely on the safety net of colour themes used within that sector and not to detour too much from the comfort of what people expect.
Take the construction industry for example. If you’ve ever flicked through one of the industry publications you’ll probably have noticed that the most common brand colours used, apart from black, would be cool concrete greys, JCB yellows and maroon reds - colours that stand strong and are well established within the sector.
But should construction businesses stick with the expected or should they go bold and break down some design barriers - I mean what difference can colour really make to a brand right? As a designer who works for a construction marketing agency that likes to encourage pushing the boundaries, I would argue yes and no. Let me give you some examples.
Core Highways Group
One of my recent design projects was to create a logo and develop a brand for Core Highways Group - a leading provider of traffic management and associated highway services. Many of the group companies already used the well-known industry colours so it was a good opportunity to approach this colour palette from a new angle. As much as I wanted to flip the boards completely and work up a hot pink-aqua marine combo, this was not the time.
When talking about their core values, innovation, safety and integrity were key so this design needed to be fresh, energetic but familiar. It also had to be strong enough to stand as the key parent company but at the same time make sure it was all-encompassing with the sub-brands.
The logo mark focused on the merging of 5 literal and symbolic lanes, showing one for each group company flowing through a circle. This needed a strong colour to marry up against a slick visual but it was also key to compliment it with some industry colours such as orange and concrete grey in order to bring the sub brands together. After testing various combinations, we landed with the freshest of the fresh lime green combined with emerald.
On the other end of the spectrum is market leading, responsible manufacturer of sustainable timber construction panels, MEDITE SMARTPLY. Their branding takes on much more of a bold colour palette but their objectives are very different. They have a variety of audiences to target their multiple products to so asked us to deliver a creative concept for a series of product campaigns that was eye-catching and distinctive.
Our approach saw the design of a distinct creative based around bright background colours, illustration and clear branding. We combined an eclectic mix of bright candy shop pinks, coral blues, lemon yellows and limes with their base line colour, a bluey grey. This created a vibrant collection of adverts which jumped out of the magazines.
This approach was chosen as it is unlike anything else being adopted across the sector, allowing MEDITE SMARTPLY to create differentiation and visual impact. The design also ensured that no matter what the messaging was, it was clear to the reader that it was a MEDITE SMARTPLY execution. The use of these bold colours really made a difference to their brand, and most importantly to their sales!
Selecting colours isn’t always as easy as it may seem but it can make a real difference to a construction companies’ brand. It’s important to consider all the different factors, from the brief to striking the perfect balance. If that means smashing some design barriers one time and keeping it safe another then so be it. At the end of the day, that is the job of the designer. With that being said, if I can try and squeeze in a hot pink, I WILL. So next time you flick through an industry magazine see which colourful brands catch your eye and let us know which ones you prefer and why!