Posted on Sep 9, 2011 in Business & careers, Other stuff
There are so many nice-looking colors out there — so why did UPS choose to use brown for their company identity, of all things?
The brown color that UPS uses on its vehicles and uniforms is called Pullman Brown. The color is also mentioned in their former advertising slogan: “What can Brown do for you?” Originally founder James E. Casey wanted the trucks to be yellow, but one of his partners, Charlie Soderstrom stated they would be impossible to keep clean, and that Pullman railroad cars were brown for just that reason.
The US Postal Service has its red white and blue motif, FedEx has the distinctive purple and orange, DHL is bright yellow, and UPS has… brown.
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In a world where corporate rebranding runs rampant, one company stands by their original color choice made back in 1916. Even their logo has only changed three times from the original. They are… the United Parcel Service.
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Okay, so it’s not flashy or pretty or trendy (except maybe during the 1970s when everything was earth tones, but I digress) but it certainly is recognizable when you see that big brown truck lumbering down your street. So yeah, why brown? Read on.
UPS’ trademark color (and I do mean trademarked, they did so in 1998 to keep other delivery companies from using brown as their color) came about when Charlie Soderstrom joined the company in 1916, 9 years after it was founded. As UPS ushered in motorized delivery vehicles, founder James E Casey wanted to paint the trucks yellow. However, Soderstrom pointed out they would be impossible to keep clean. Soderstrom then suggested a shade of brown similar to Pullman rail cars as it “reflected class, elegance, and professionalism – and dirt is less visible on brown uniforms and vehicles,” according to UPS.
The decision was made, and UPS vehicles have been brown ever since. The exceptions are the tractor-trailers (the tractors themselves are brown, the trailers gray with the UPS logo) and UPS planes (which still have brown on them as an accent color, but are predominantly white).
UPS Company History: Straight from the horse’s mouth
Wikipedia on UPS: More info, including some neat facts about those distinctive UPS “package cars.”
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