I am curious. Yellow?

No, we’re not talking about that 1967 Swedish film by Vilgot Sjöman. Rather it’s an intriguing thread by polarmate in the Cre8asite Forums called “Yellow. It’s the new brown.“. DHL is an aggressive new company on the North American express mail scene that’s challenging the current leader, UPS. Is Yellow something that DHL can “own” as part of its brand? Does UPS own Brown as part of its brand?

In practice colour cannot be trademarked. You can trademark the word, Yellow, or the word, Orange, as some have. However is it useful in trade terms? I think not. Just making a word a trademark doesn’t give it value in marketing terms. A good example of that is PwC Consultants trademarking the word, Monday, for commerce in a number of very specific products and services in management consulting. The folly of that was discussed in a newsletter, “For More Sales, Should Your Trademark Be MONDAY“. Unfortunately we’ll never know whether it would have worked since the company was acquired shortly thereafter by IBM.

Rather than trying to make a colour your own, it’s much better to go for a logo or even a shape. That can be trademarked. The eye may have a problem distinguishing different colours but is great at pattern recognition. Just think about

Nike Swoosh

You don’t need to be told who we’re talking about.