Having been a brand designer for many years, I have gone to great lengths at time to differentiate or do something unique so that a brand will be noticed in the busy world of imagery we are daily bombarded with.
But this time, I think a company has gone too far. Duetsche Telekom, who own the worldwide T-Mobile brand, have told a blog site called Engadget Mobile that they must stop using the color magenta, because apparently, T-Mobile have decided they own Magenta. That disgusts me, because in this case, Engadget has done nothing to mimic the T-Mobile brand other than use a color scheme of turquoise and magenta, on a site where they discuss mobile technology from many manufacturers, T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, etc. They don’t use a similar font, or have a similar design, or compete in any way with the T-Mobile brand.
At SigmaFlow, I went to great lengths to create a brand that was unlike any of our closest competitors. They all used blue, so we used green (and some blue.) If any of them had done something, aside from mimic our features, to compete with the brand, I would have addressed it by updating our brand, or in some other way. But to send a company a hand-delivered legal letter demanding that they cease and desist using a color on their site that someone arbitrarily feels they “own” is going too far, in my opinion.
Engadget has posted the letter in its entirety, and it is worth a read. The arrogance portrayed in the suggestion that T-Mobile would be “willing to work out an appropriate phase-out procedure for the color magenta” particularly has me riled. I hope Engadget will not yield their usage of the color magenta. Colors can’t be owned, folks. Design a great brand, give awesome customer service and let the chips fall where they may.