I'm a little bit confused about color theory and color identity for visual branding.

Sometimes I face an issue like I have a job to do visual branding for a fried product, let's say in this case I'm gonna do a visual branding for French fries. This is a fried product, so a warm color is more appropriate than a cold in this case right?

But if this product also has a competitor that uses warm colors, what should I do? We can't use same color identity as our competitors, like coca cola and Pepsi (red and blue) that use the opposite color.

So what is common practice?

Follow color theory but our product will have the same color as our competitor, or we use opposite color, while we know that cold colors are so bad for the fried products?


4 Answers 4


Make a list of the main innovative features of your product or those that makes the difference with the competition.

Once you have the list, minimum 5 items, put 5 colors to each of them. If you find a differentiating color in those 25, potentiate that quality as relevant in your design.

There are many possibilities, as an example:

  • Our french fries are made with authentic mediterranean olive oil.

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First - what you did with that Coke and Pepsi is you made up a reason for them having different color.

Burger King and McDonalds use warm colors. In-Out use warm colors. YET these are not the same colors (or maybe the McD and InO yellow is very similar).

Walkers/Lays have similar red and yellow colors used in their logo as Pringles.

You should be aware that there are billions upon billions of colors matches for your need. And it's not them that stand out in design. It's the design itself. If your idea of branding is red fries package with eyes and smile and fries as hair THEN you have bad design. No matter if you cloth it in beige, cool blue or green and black.

Also there seems to be holes in your understanding what is color theory. In color theory Blue IS a color you could use with Yellow. Google "sip & snack" to see how you could excute this.


There's a limit to how many colors we can see. Sometimes the colors you want to use overlap with other companies in the same space. That's okay, there are other elements of branding. See "Copyright of a set of colors?" for more legal color information.


To add to the already great suggestion from Danielillo, I think it's important for you to note that color theory is not a law. As a designer you should never follow a set of rules, you use theories, guidelines and principles to back up your own ideas and concepts.

If the main feature of your French fries happens to be that they are salted with sea salt, why not go for a sea related color palette? Or maybe they are salted with that fancy pink Himalayan salt and you want to add a touch of pink to the design to make it stand out from the competitors and focus on your unique selling point. Or maybe that one warm color that your competitor uses is forced by your managers and you have to roll with it, it happens. In that case you use other strategies to make the brand stand out. Color is not the only factor that influences brand identity.

There is never a one stop fix, warm will not always work for French fries, so you need to come up with a creative solution to brand your product.

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