Pixar is often regarded as the greatest animation studio in the world.

A lot of this success can be credited to their visually-pleasing films, unique storylines, and the fact that if you watch one, you’re probably going to ugly cry. Seriously, bring tissues the next time you see a new Pixar movie in theaters.

The Pixar universe is also painted with a very distinct color palette. You can see this in action in some of their most popular films*.

#1:  Monsters, Inc.

Monsters, Inc. uses a cool color palette of blues, greens, and purples. They aren’t very harsh colors, which goes to show the gentle nature of the fuzzy monsters in the movie.

Hex Codes:  #006ED0, #518EFF, #5DBCD2, #B48CFC, #5BFC4B, #9CFC6C

#2:  Toy Story

Toy Story is all about the magic of childhood and how it’s a fleeting time. The films all use bold, vibrant colors that look like they were pulled right from the crayon box.

Hex Codes: #F1060B, #1A48A0, #FFEE15, #EAAB66, #B4DC8C, #742C64

#3:  Cars

It’s all about high speed and thrilling races in Pixar’s Cars. The franchise goes between sleek and polished colors, like Lightning McQueen’s fiery red, and tarnished and worn hues like those found on the lovable Tow Mater.

Hex Codes:  #E9302A, #A46C64, #EC7B4B, #EEF50F, #736B7B, #2C2424

#4:  Finding Nemo

This heartwarming tale has been a fan favorite for years. Marlin the clownfish just keeps swimming in an attempt to reunite with his lost son in an underwater world painted with captivating aquatic colors.

Hex Codes: #EB4511, #040414, #FCF44C, #045CFC, #6BCBF3, #048B7C

#5:  The Incredibles

A superheroic family like the Incredibles deserves a color scheme that’s just as daring and powerful. The super suits are colored with strong dark colors that would make Edna Mole proud.

Hex Codes:  #AA0A00, #D52D12, #EB8B25 #F4B900, #0B0B0B, #E7A17E

#6:  Wall-E

Wall-E shows an apocalyptic world where humankind’s excessive consumption has led to our downfall. All this bleakness, and eventually the love shared between two robots, is shown using a mix of rusty colors.

Hex Codes: #CC743C, #A49C94, #FCC41C, #F4F4FC, #040404, #0464A4

#7:  Inside Out

Joy’s green dress and blue hair were added after the fact so she didn’t look like Tinkerbell. The rest of Inside Out’s color scheme is just as unique, showing the range of emotions we all feel throughout our lifetimes in a movie that strongly relies on color to tell the story.

Hex Codes:  #0494EC, #FCE4B4, #D4EC7C, #BC84DC, #74BB43, #B3240B

#8:  Coco

Coco is set during the Día De Los Muertos or The Day of the Dead. The movie uses the traditional colors of the festivities. You’ll see these hues on the sugar skulls, instruments, and characters in the vibrant underworld known as the Land of the Dead.

Hex Codes:  #FCDC84, #7C4C74, #643404, #FC5C14, #EC4494, #2395CB

Disney tends to love having a unique set of colors. Their princesses, adventurers, and villains all have a designated scheme meant just for them.

Pixar, which is owned and operated by the mouse house, is no different. Their colors are a way to set their brand apart from others and make their movies unique, memorable, and recognizable. 

Pixar’s Branded Merchandise

The other bonus of having unique colors is Pixar can use them in their merchandise. Take for instance, the cell phone wallets pictured here.

Pixar ordered 3,000 of these mobile accessories from Quality Logo Products® and used them in their recruiting office and studio store. The iconic ball and lamp really pop against the black background.

It’s not just Pixar’s studio that benefits from branded merchandise with distinct colors. Everything from backpacks printed with their characters to t-shirts featuring their movies’ logos use the palette fans have come to know and love.

Take a look at some examples below!

Pixar offers quality films and colorful merchandise that are adored by their fans. Any brand, no matter if they’re as small as the critters in A Bug’s Life or as big as Carl Fredricksen’s floating house in Up, would be wise to follow in their footsteps.   

Final Thoughts

A signature color can boost brand recognition by up to 80%. That’s why you can see Coca-Cola red and are immediately thirsty or take a BuzzFeed quiz on Pixar colors and get a pretty high score. Color creates a strong association to an object or idea.  

Color is key to any organization with a brand to promote. You should stick with the same scheme and use it everywhere – in your logo, on the sign above your door, and in the branded swag you sell in your online store.

Stick to your true colors and who knows? Maybe you’ll move your customers to tears in a good way just like Pixar.

*NOTE: These colors are as approximate as possible and may have varied slightly in the films or merchandise. The characters are all the property of Disney-Pixar. You need express permission from Disney to use their logos or characters on any branded merchandise. Visit the Walt Disney Licensing website for more information.

Resources & References

RBG to Hex Color Converter: https://www.rgbtohex.net/

Image Color Picker:  https://www.colorcodepicker.com/

Colour Lovers. Monster’s Inc. Retrieved July 22, 2019, from https://www.colourlovers.com/palette/2943876/Monsters_

Oh My Disney. These Disney Pixar Palettes Are the Most Aesthetically Pleasing Things You’ll See All Day. Retrieved July 22, 2019, from https://ohmy.disney.com/movies/2015/05/11/these-disneypixar-palettes-are-the-most-aesthetically-pleasing-things-youll-see-all-day/

Del Palacio, G. (2018, June 29). Only True Pixar Fans will be Able to Recognize These Character Color Schemes. Retrieved July 22, 2019, from https://www.buzzfeed.com/guillermodelpalacio/the-colorful-characters-of-pixar

May, T. (2015, November 5). 5 Surprising Facts About Inside Out’s Character Design. Retrieved July 22, 2019, from https://www.creativebloq.com/animation/inside-out-character-design-111517644

Scheme Color. Monsters University Color Scheme. Retrieved July 22, 2019, from https://www.schemecolor.com/monsters-university-color-scheme.php

Brand Buddha. (2017). 20 Jaw-Dropping Stats on Branding You Should Know. Retrieved July 22, 2019, from https://brandbuddha.com/branding-stats/”>https://brandbuddha.com/branding-stats/

Scheme Color. Bright Toy Story Color Scheme. Retrieved July 23, 2019, from https://www.schemecolor.com/toy-story.php

Scheme Color. Woody – Toy Story Color Scheme. Retrieved July 23, 2019, from https://www.schemecolor.com/woody-toy-story.php

Scheme Color. The Incredibles Color Scheme. Retrieved July 23, 2019, from https://www.schemecolor.com/the-incredibles-color-scheme.php

Pinterest. Cartoon Character Color Palettes. Retrieved July 23, 2019, from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/574771971190359468/

This Fairy Tale life. (2018, April 19). Poster Palette – Inside Out Wedding Inspiration. Retrieved July 23, 2019, from https://thisfairytalelife.com/poster-palette-inside-out/

The Happiest Things. (2017, December 2). The Color Palette of Disney’s/Pixar’s “Coco”. Retrieved July 23, 2019, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJeEmyv2PIU

About the author

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa is a promo expert with over four years of experience in the industry. She is the Lead Copywriter at Quality Logo Products and has had work published for the Promotional Products Association International and the Advertising Specialty Institute.