Circle + Co.

Black colour theory and its use in branding.

Certain colours can make us feel a certain way when we see them. Black is unique in that it is the absence of colour. Yet, it can still evoke some very strong emotions and create lasting impressions in the minds of consumers.

What is black colour theory in branding, which companies use this colour and how can different shades of black (technically, grey) affect your brand?

Black colour theory in branding and marketing.

Technically, black is not a colour – it’s a shade. Nevertheless, it’s still used by many brands across the world because black is associated with:

When it comes to branding and positioning, black can send a powerful message and instantly give your brand an air of authority.

Companies that use black in their branding.

Some of the largest companies in the world incorporate black into their branding. Many of these brands are household names and associated with luxury or glamour. Well-known companies that use black in their branding include:

Small businesses, particularly fashion boutiques, will also use black in their branding.

Industries where black works well for branding.

Matched industries



Luxury vehicles

prada handbag

In branding, black is often associated with luxury, so we often see this colour used in these sectors.

Occasionally, companies in finance, food and entertainment will also use black in their logos and branding.

High-end fashion designers and car manufacturers often use black in their logos. In fact, most of the brands on the list above are in either of these industries.

If you want your brand to come across as strong, bold, modern and luxurious, black can help you send that message. Likewise, brands that want to position themselves as a high-end option for consumers can also use black to appear authoritative and trustworthy.

How different shades of black affect branding.

Black is unique in the world of branding and colour theory. You can go with lighter (grey), but you can’t go darker. Remember that black is technically a shade and not a colour. But that doesn’t mean that different variations of it won’t change the message you send with your branding.

Grey is associated with:

Grey is a neutral shade, which can be beneficial in some industries. It’s a practical colour choice, and it gives an unbiased feel. Generally, grey is not used as a primary colour, but rather, as a secondary colour. It can be used to ground other colours and give the brand a more professional feel.

Black is also commonly paired with other colours, particularly yellow and orange, to make the brand feel more welcoming, confident and cheerful. For example, Amazon – one of the most recognizable brands one earth – uses black text and orange for the iconic upward arrow in its logo. The orange makes the logo feel more enthusiastic and upbeat.

When it comes to branding, black is a powerful colour that can give your brand strength, authority and the air of luxury or glamour. If your brand is in fashion, car manufacturing or tech, black or grey may work well for you.