Nintendo is known for dropping major surprises, but the company’s latest surprise has a lot of folks in the gaming community quite pleased. Nintendo of America has recently done a full re-branding of their logo back to the classic red and white. The whole company transformed to the minimalist gray-white color scheme with the dawn of the Wii and DS era, and this branding went on to continue for the current Wii U and 3DS era (albeit with a little hint of color provided from the logos of both systems).
Now, you may see it as just a simple color palette swap. Why is that important, or even exciting? Well, not only does this seemingly sudden switch evoke a great amount of emotion due to nostalgia, but it also could be looked at as a sign that Nintendo is starting to truly mean business.
I chose Art and Design as my main course for senior high school. Prior to this, I always loved drawing, but I’ll be honest, I had no talent. The majority of my creations consisted of nothing more than the usual stick figures and the classic rectangular houses with triangular roofs, and circular trees. I don’t why I chose Art, but I’m glad I did. In that three year study, I learned more about the subject than I ever had in the span of my entire life. Can you guess what one of the most important factors are in art? Simple—color.
Colors are actually very deep. They don’t just exist to make things look pretty and vibrant—they tell stories, arouse emotions, and play with your mind. Graphic design was one the topics that I went over extensively during my studies. Through it, I learned just how important color is in a logo; how people usually connect certain colors to certain things, and what colors draw the most attention. That’s when I learned that red is a very popular color, and for good reason—there’s a lot of meaning behind it.
What does red signify? Well, this color is associated with power, and strong amounts of energy. It is used to promote confidence, boldness, and awareness. It can also be used to bring out deeper emotions like passion and love. In other words, red is a pretty powerful color. So, why is this so important, as well as exciting, for Nintendo?
Considering it’s been well over a decade since the company started using the grey-white color scheme, I think we’ve all had enough time to conclude that it’s incredibly boring. Even so, by looking into the meaning of these colors, yet again, we see that they have some pretty interesting meanings too. The color white is usually connected with things like innocence, purity, cleanliness, and is also associated with new beginnings (wiping the slate clean). Gray can be connected with things such as reliability, neutrality, impartiality and professionalism. Those are definitely some interesting ways to look at those colors, and frankly, they do a good job at describing Nintendo in their recent years.
With the Wii and DS, Nintendo surely did wipe the slate clean and started anew. These consoles had simple, clean looks. They were also very reliable, and were impartial to their users; they invited anyone who was interested to give them a try. As you can see, that gray-white color scheme that Nintendo adopted during this era was more than appropriate. So now that it looks like they’re switching back to their classic red, what could this mean?
Having already mentioned the meanings behind the color red, what could this signify? Looking back at Nintendo in the late 80s and 90s, during their ‘golden years’, one can say that they really were confident and bold. Slogans such as “Get N or Get Out!” and “Now You’re Playing With Power!”, were quite popular in those days. Nintendo were the kings of the gaming industry at that time, and their color scheme definitely matched that. The gray-white brand that we’ve come to know showed their new sense of neutrality. It showed that they were no longer were chasing after the passionate gaming crowd, but rather, they were opening their doors to just about anyone who cared to join in on the fun. So with this switch back to red, could Nintendo be subtly sounding the war horns?
For the most part, Nintendo has never truly been as outright-aggressive as SEGA was back in the 90s, or how Xbox and PlayStation are now. Yes, they definitely spread their name around, but not to the point where they were outright bashing their competitors. The red of Nintendo was always meant to be alerting. Take a look at any of their commercials of back then, and you will see that they were very flashy. You had no choice but to be captured by it, and more than likely intrigued. That’s probably a good reason why Super Mario, their legendary mascot, has kept his signature red look throughout the years.
Nintendo returning red could very well be a sign that it may be beginning to switch their vision back to creating awareness for their brand. President Kimishima has already stated that they intend to move away from the “Wii” brand with their next system, and the switch in color may very well be a sign of that. Perhaps it indicates that the NX, whatever it may be, is going to be a ‘loud-and-proud’ machine; a true sign of Nintendo’s power and boldness. They want to create something that will capture people’s attention.
But hey, this is all just a theory. I could have just written this nearly 1,000-word piece for nothing; maybe they just got bored of gray-white—time will surely tell. Surprise us Nintendo!