Brown UPS delivery truck

Why did UPS choose brown as their company color?

There are so many nice-looking colors out there — so why did UPS choose to use brown for their company identity, of all things?

What brown did for UPS

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.

Brown-ian motion

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).

To learn more, check out the UPS Company History and timeline for the deets straight from the horse’s mouth.

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