Professional Development
Business development / Design / Marketing

ING Direct’s orange just might be the official color of Delaware’s tech startups

Several veterans of the banking giant who have turned Delaware tech founders have been inspired by hex code #ff6600.

Orange you glad Delaware likes this color? (Screenshot of color sample)
Full Disclosure: 1313 Innovation, which is mentioned in this story, has sponsored This report is unrelated.
Here’s one way to mark yourself as a Delaware startup: include hex code #ff6600 in your logo.

That brilliant orange is the color used in the logo for European banking conglomerate ING, which was then ported to its Delaware-based upstart consumer banking division ING Direct, according to former marketing honcho Greg Shelton. (ING Direct was acquired by CapitalOne in 2011.) While reporting out the impressive network of ING Direct alumni who now populate Delaware’s startup community, this reporter couldn’t help but notice that orange kept popping up.

It was first pointed out to us by John Royer, a cofounder of InsiteHub, the e-learning app firm, which uses the color prominently.

“It’s one of the most effective marketing colors you can have. It means the right thing,” Royer said, alluding to research that orange is meant to elicit feelings of fun and warmth — which fit nicely into ING Direct’s spirit and does for InsiteHub too.

Shelton, who left his credit card marketing life to cofound the Digital Vikings mobile consultancy, was part of  the founding strategy team behind 1313 Innovation, the tech incubator housed by the McConnell Johnson real estate firm in its downtown Wilmington Hercules Building. Once 1313 Innovation was launched, Shelton and others helped kickoff Tech2Gether, an annual one-day conference on Delaware’s economic dynamism that takes place during Delaware Innovation Week. When you look at both brands, what do you find? Orange, of course.

“There is a rejuvenating feeling to it and a certain uplifting/spirited inspiration that has already been tested and true,” said Shelton in an email. “It always feels like the alternative, and the thing I learned from [ING Direct] was things must always differentiate and a touch of polarization makes the blood flow.”

It doesn’t stop there. Look at WhyFly, the insurgent internet service provider founded by ING Direct CTO Mark Thompson and Mike Palita, who was also a tech executive at ING Direct. We’ll give you one guess: what color is featured prominently in their logo? Yup, orange. The pair also used the color in two other startup pilots: Media Analytics and AppSygna, noted Thompson.

So whether you think orange means fun or health or creativity, perhaps with a few more successes it could mean something else: Delaware.

Companies: ING Direct / WhyFly / InSiteHub / 1313 Innovation

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