What colours should you use for a financial services brand?


Russ Welch

Lead Creative

Posted on March 5, 2018

When it comes to selecting colour to represent a financial services company then it would be hard to deny that blue is a firm favourite. After all, blue triggers feelings of trust and loyalty; depth and expertise; calmness and stability. All desirable character traits for a financial services company brand. But is it all just different shades of blue?

Despite its connotation with danger, debt and warning signs, the use of red is in widespread use across financial sector brands, presumably because of its association with characteristics such as strength, vitality and determination.

Also, emotive responses to colour vary across the world so, in an increasingly globalised market, it may be interesting to consider how the rise of emerging markets will affect the use of colour in financial branding. Particularly in China and India, red is seen to express good fortune and happiness.

And what about standing out from the crowd? With so many financial brands using blue, a bold and unusual colour choice can help provide recognition in crowded markets. This can work for both the well-established (J.P. Morgan’s brown) and the relatively new (Just’s pink), both examples shown below.

So what is the best approach? To get as close to an answer as is possible, we took the logos of the top 50 banks (measured by total assets) and created an infographic using their brand colours.

Colour usage across the world’s top 50 banking brands

If you wish to know the names of the 50 companies then they are listed at the end of this blog.

So as you can see, the financial sector is far from different shades of blue; it is in fact as varied as any other sector. Across the top 50 bank brands reviewed, blue is still the most popular (44%) with red in second (36%) and green in third (20%).

Key: Top 50 banks (measured by total assets)

1. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
2. China Construction Bank Corporation
3. Agricultural Bank of China
4. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group
5. Bank of China
6. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
7. HSBC Holdings PLC
8. BNP Paribas
9. Bank of America
10. Wells Fargo & Co.
11. Crédit Agricole
12. Citigroup Inc.
13. Mizuho Financial Group
14. Deutsche Bank
15. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group
16. Barclays PLC
17. Société Générale
18. Banco Santander
19. Groupe BPCE
20. Bank of Communications
21. Postal Savings Bank of China
22. Lloyds Banking Group
23. Royal Bank of Scotland Group
24. Norinchukin Bank
25. Toronto-Dominion Bank
26. UBS
27. Royal Bank of Canada
28. ING Group
29. Industrial Bank
30. UniCredit
31. Goldman Sachs
32. China Merchants Bank
33. China CITIC Bank
34. China Minsheng Bank
35. Shanghai Pudong Development Bank
36. Morgan Stanley
37. Crédit Mutuel
38. Credit Suisse
39. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria
40. Intesa Sanpaolo
41. Commonwealth Bank
42. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group
43. Rabobank
44. Scotiabank
45. Nordea
46. Standard Chartered
47. Westpac
48. National Australia Bank
49. China Everbright Bank
50. DZ Bank

Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence Report 2017