the importance of colour in branding – why louboutin is seeing red

Branding - Louboutin - black shoes with red soles.

Do you recognise these shoes and its maker? The one and only Christian Louboutin.  The red sole has become so synonymous with the Christian Louboutin brand that you only have to see a flash of red to know it is the much coveted Louboutin.

That’s the power of colour in a brand.  No logo, no words, just the right colour placement and instantly your product is internationally recognisable.

Placing such high value on brand recognition, he is suing Yves Saint Laurent for copying the red sole.  “The shiny red colour has no function other than to identify to the public that they are mine,” – Christian Louboutin.

What’s happening here is the language of colour, communicating directly with our feelings and emotions.  For many women, their dream, desire to own a pair.

It may only be a red sole to you, but with YSL copying the red sole the lawsuit stated “…is likely to cause and is causing confusion, mistake and deception among the relevant purchasing public as to the origin of the infringing footwear.”

So how did Louboutin come up with this simple, yet so effective idea?  As the story goes, back when Louboutin founded his first boutique in Paris in 1991, he was at one of his fashion shows and feeling something was missing he saw one of his employee’s bottle of red nail polish.  That gave him the inspiration to paint red nail polish to the sole of one pair.

Since then every pair, no matter what the colour of the shoe is, it always has the signature red soles.

This is a great example of how big brands understand the importance of colour.  As in Louboutin’s case, he decided to sue to protect his brand recognition.  Branding colours can be that strong only the colour is needed for the brand to be identified.

Does your brand use colour in a way that makes it stand out from the crowd, making it instantly recognisable?

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