Why colour is important

Moving forward with the “One Voice” initiative, it is imperative to step back and take a look at The City of Calgary brand holistically. Our goal is to create consistency and focus across all City communication channels. Selecting a colour palette of core colours helps to create that consistency.

A selective brand colour palette creates recognition with Calgarians. Many successful brands use a very limited and focused core palette to help ensure that they are memorable and trustworthy. Core brand colours help create a tone, mood and a unified brand.

Our simplified colour palette will help Calgarians easily recognize The City of Calgary and the value we provide. Our core colours should always be dominant in our communications, used properly they will help in establishing a strong City of Calgary brand.

Building trust with our audiences

To strengthen our trust with Calgarians and build the reputation we need to create familiarity and consistency. By using our core colours, red, grey, black and white we are setting up a consistent visual language which Calgarians can begin to recognize in our ever-changing marketplace.

Our brand colours were carefully chosen. They are not trendy. They are meant to be timeless. These colours represent the City of Calgary’s core values. They are strong, bold and dependable. These colours are deeply embedded in our history and will help lead our identity into the future.

Colour accessibility

When choosing colours for use, it is important to remember that readability should be a priority. It is a critical first step in making our communication accessible to everyone.

Use of colour

Ensure that colour is not used as the only visual means of conveying information, indicating an action, prompting a response, or distinguishing a visual element otherwise, users with colour deficiencies will not have equal access to all information.

Read up more on the 1.4.1 - Use of colour criterion

Colour contrast

Use high-contrast colours for text and background. Good examples are black or dark grey on a white or light coloured background, or white text on a black background. Printed material is most readable in black and white. If using coloured text, restrict it to things like titles, headlines or highlighted material.

White text over a coloured background should exceed the minimum 45% contrast ratio for readability.

For the safety colour palette, large type and graphics on yellow (pantone 130C), detour orange (152C) and pedestrian yellow/green (382C) should always be black. Large type and graphics on red (186C), green (pantone 355C), black, access blue (2935C) should always be in white.

Find out more about the 1.4.3 - Contrast (minimum) criterion