Esquire will rarely deviate from their basic black, white, red, blue, and earth tones. In this month’s issue, the cover only contains black, white, blue and red. This same pattern is used on the inside where the same intensity and tone of the red and blue are used. The red is used to call attention to one specific element such as the sidebars of an article or an important caption. The blue is then used for subheadings within the reds and the blacks. These colors are mainly used for typography. For illustrations and graphics, the same families of reds and blues are used, along with earth tones such as oranges and yellows that are both close to brown.
Most of their typography within the magazine is black, for headlines, subheads and text. The only difference is the boldness or the thinness. They will use red and blue to label sections within a section of the magazine. For example, within the Style section which is in black, The Buying Guide which is a subsection is in red, while The Deconstruction is in blue. These colors are also alternated throughout the magazine. They also alternate the colors between stories. One story will only have blue and black typography, while the next one only has red and black typography. They’ll also use them as dividers in between text that might be too cramped in some instances.
This color palette works because aside from the nameplate in red that everyone recognizes, the color palette provides a consistent identity, even though the colors used are primary colors. They don’t have to go to any great lengths to distinguish themselves with manufactured colors.