Blue is the Hue: Why We Love Blue Logos

January 9, 2013

Blue is the hue graphic

Think Blue: The Color of Facebook

 

By Nola Barackman for Network9

Back when Facebook was still thefacebook.com and Mark Zuckerberg was just another college dropout, he stopped in the marketing house Cuban Council (as the legend goes), and asked, “Tell me guys…what is design?”

Joe Kral, who had no idea he was about to design one of the world’s most famous logos, replied, “Design is the 24/7 voice of your company.”

With that in mind, Facebook set out to find its visual voice. And as it did it also set the trends that other social media sites would follow.

The first was to think blue. For social media, blue is the new black. The three kings of social networking – Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn – all use blue logos. Why?

facebook_logotwitter logolinkedin-logo

For Facebook, the answer was more simple than you might think. Mark Zuckerberg is red-green colorblind, and blue is one of the only colors he can see in all its vibrancy.

But blue worked for other reasons. From Superman’s suit to the Tiffany’s box, blue is a staple of cool in American pop culture. In the 21st century, its implicit association with blue jeans affirms the color’s hip and youthful sensibility. It’s even the name of the most Google’d baby in the world, Jay Z and Beyonce’s “Blue Ivy.”

superman       elmo blue denim jacket

Blue is also the color of business.

Blue dye was rare and expensive throughout history, which to its association with royalty and power (hence the phrase, “blue bloods” for aristocracy). The Ancient Greeks had entire factories dedicated solely to making blue, and it got an even bigger bump in 434 AD, when the Catholic church color coded the saints and chose a blue robe for the Virgin Mary. It has been seen as a trustworthy and reliable color ever since.

Paul Rand kicked off the modern era’s use of corporate blue when he created the iconic IBM logo. Would you believe that the original version was black and white and had no stripes?

IBM logo           new IBM logo

Blue was the perfect fit for Facebook, the site that launched a thousand social networks. For their logo they reworked the font Klavika, a do-it-all sans serif of the 21st century. They used all lower-case letters to create a friendly, unintimdating environment. Sites like Twitter would replicate the lower-case fad, which signals that social media is a place where users can be casual and not worry about their grammar.

blue pencilsblue shells

 

Facebook’s logo was an instant hit. The other social media sites took notice, and soon Twitter and LinkedIn were using blue too. Tellingly, Pinterest is the only major networking site to use a different color. It uses red and, not surprisingly, 75% of its users are women.

Across social platforms, blue is the hue. Have thoughts on Facebook’s look or the power of blue? Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn — a holy trifecta of blue.