From Apples to Auctions and Googledywinks Too

Ever wonder why Wonder Bread used Tiddlywinks on their logo? Well, I doubt they did it intentionally, but as a child growing up in the 60s, I was constantly bombarded with Wonder Bread’s logo even if there was never any in our house. I remember a game of Tiddlywinks at my grandmother’s, and the distinctive circular plastic discs in primary colors I inextricably linked to Wonder Bread.

Actually, I think Wonder Bread’s circular shapes are supposed to be balloons. You could have fooled me. They’re not spherical. They’re flat. Like discs. Like Tiddlywinks.

This similarity didn’t exactly keep me up at night, but for many decades I have wondered about this, more in terms of color usage rather than shape. Why so primary? What is with the red, yellow and blue colors that seemed to be such a common theme throughout identifiable brands? Does it have to be this way?

Just today I took a quick glance over the new Google Terms of use and saw something at the bottom of the page.

It was a strip of four colors that looked familiar. I then went to my ebay home page and saw it there too, this time longer and toward the top of the screen.

If you click those two images above, you’ll see the strips I’m referring to. But instead, I’ll show them here. I squished the ebay color strip horizontally while enlarging it vertically so you can see the similarities between it and the google strip.

Seriously? Are you kidding me? OK, to be fair, they’re not IDENTICAL. Sure, ebay’s blue is darker, like navy blue, and Google’s is brighter and lighter, a cerulean. And ebay goes “red blue yellow green” and Google goes “blue red yellow green.” And ebay blends the colors a little where they intersect. But look at the similarities…look how proportional each color strip is. Each color takes up 1/4 of the strip, and although I checked the hex values and they are not identical to the computer eyedropper, to the naked eye the red, yellow and green look pretty darn similar.

What is it about these primary colors* and why are they used over and over and over again? Isn’t it getting old?

Look at Microsoft Windows’ logo. It’s like Google’s and ebay’s strip, except stacked in square form.

Then there’s those logos that try to be a bit more inclusive by using the much neglected secondary colors, orange and purple. Think Apple’s pre-millennial rainbow logo and the NBC Peacock.

Those purples are really ugly. I mean really.

All these primary color-based logos makes me feel like I’m trapped in a maze of Mondrian and I can’t escape. Can’t someone please use some Tertiary Colors?

I LOVE tertiary colors. For those who don’t know, tertiary colors are the hybrid of a primary color and an adjacent secondary on the color wheel. Like blue and green would make “turquoise.” Red and orange would make “tangerine.” I’ve named the tertiaries by their own unique names instead of being given a hyphenated parent color name.
Instead of yellow-green, it’s chartreuse. Instead of blue-purple it’s violet. And I made my own strip. Instead of the ebaygoogle blue red yellow green line, mine is Chartreuse, Turquoise, Violet, Magenta, Tangerine and Apricot, staggered, because who needs to stay perfectly in line? Let’s think outside the strip and get some creative breathing room.

*Although green is considered a secondary color in the subtractive color system that most of us learned in school and in the pre-digital age, it is a primary color in the additive (light) color system which all computer monitors use, while yellow is a secondary color in that system.

About Ann

Painter, jewelry-maker, graphic designer, dingbat font creator, imagineer, progressive, liberal, Wisconsinite by birth and later by choice, dog and cat mom, sushi-lover and foodie.

4 thoughts on “From Apples to Auctions and Googledywinks Too

  1. Primary colors turn up too much. It’s like some visual dogma.

    The google and ebay images are tiddlywinks lined up and seen from a side view.

    I think the the wonder bread wrapper looks more like tiddlywinks too. 😆

    1. “The google and ebay images are tiddlywinks lined up and seen from a side view.”

      I like that! 😀 It’s tiddlywinks living in “flatland.” (Cosmos/science reference)

  2. I would guess non-design type people wouldn’t even think about this. I wouldn’t have noticed the google ebay thing. How derivative on their part, but who is doing the copying?

    Too much blue in corporate logos, that’s for sure. Do they think if they use an offbeat color that people won’t see it? Is the public that blind or conservative? Don’t answer that.

    1. I’ve seen that ebay strip for ages but just recently noticed the google strip. I wonder if they did that consciously, or was it a subconscious thing like “My Sweet Lord”/”He’s So Fine”? You’d think that a corporation that has gobs of lava lamps in their offices and lobbies, that they’d be a little more creatively inspired.

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