The University of Texas -- whose sports teams are known as the Longhorns -- and Home Depot (hd) have logos that symbolize grit and hard work. The burnt orange (verging on brown in the case of the University of Texas) attempts to convey that. It suggests the sort of dust that covers you after, say, digging up your yard -- or perhaps branding some cattle (whichever you're in the habit of doing). Both logos are as powerful as they are reassuring.
Hess Corporation and the New York Jets
Jets management is once again trying to rebuild a broken franchise, and using a version of its 1960s-era design (the one Joe Namath wore during the team's glory days) after an unfortunate multi-decade logo detour in the 1980s and 1990s. What better color for a "New York" team -- the Jets actually play in a former swamp in New Jersey -- than the color of money? Hess (hes), a Fortune 100 corporation headquartered in (actual) New York City, has the same greenback hue. And with 2012 revenues of $37.9 billion, it's just another outfit that is outdoing the Jets.
Pepsi and the Montreal Expos
Okay, for those of you born recently -- or not so recently, given how the team's futility consigned it to obscurity -- the Expos were a Canadian baseball team, one with a memorable logo. (The team produced some wonderful players, but more than one -- think Pedro Martinez and Gary Carter -- achieved greater renown playing for other teams. In 2004, the Expos were reincarnated as the Washington Nationals and adopted uniforms inspired by the long-defunct Washington Senators.) Pepsi's red, white, and blue beach ball logo shares a spirit, and a swirl or two, with the Expos emblem. Of course, Pepsi (pep) came first (1898 to the Expos' 1969 founding) and adopted its colors in 1906, but it didn't implement the wavier, simpler sphere that you now recognize until the 1990s and, with some modest variations, it has stuck with the approach.
Ikea and the University of Michigan
What do Ikea and University of Michigan share aside from their cousinly (Michigan's blue is a shade darker) palettes? Both were born in the cold: Ikea is Swedish (though it now has a strong global presence with 332 stores in 38 countries) and the U of M is from, well, Michigan. Ikea's blue and yellow is taken from the Swedish flag, while fans of the Big 10 powerhouse shout "Go Blue" thanks to a small group of literary students back in 1867 who selected "azure blue and maize" as the school's farm-friendly, emblematic colors.
Gulf Oil and the Denver Broncos
The venerable Gulf Oil was swallowed by Standard Oil of California in a 1985 merger. But the Gulf brand name lives on, and its logo remains recognizable. The Broncos, whose orange, blue, and white color scheme is exactly the same as Gulf's, have a similarly authentic brand. Legendary players from Terrell Davis to John Elway have worn the sunburst orange with pride.
Puma and the Brooklyn Nets
If there's anything Puma and the Brooklyn Nets share, it's a cool factor. Relocation and an ownership change helped these Nets rise to popularity, even among non-basketball fans. Though he only owns a fraction of the team, Sean "Jay-Z" Carter (#50 on Fortune's 2012 Businessperson of the Year list) has injected a dose of hip into the company's marketing. The team's stylish and stark black and white is similar to that of Puma, the German sportswear multinational, which has returned to cool in recent years.