You’ve done the most difficult part of designing a logo which is to create the shapes and to choose the font. Now you’re faced with another hurdle and that is the option of which colors to use.
Here’s some helpful tips to guide you in your color choices. This article intends to describe and explain some of the most famous brand colors and their inherent meaning.
Now, meanings are very subtle and may vary from places to cultures to industries. But take note of all these nuances as they may indicate how you’d like your logo to turn out. Whether you create the logo yourself or have it designed professionally, choosing the colors can take considerable research.
Pink is associated with femininity. But that was after the World War II because before that, parents would often don their baby boys in pink clothing. Clothing companies then thought it would be more profitable to associate gender with baby clothes’ colors. Hence, pink became synonymous with being girly.
Apart from the gender connotations, pink invoke youthfulness, vitality, luxury, and consumerism. Many vanity products nowadays are laden with pink such as makeup, skincare, bags, clothes, shoes, and so on. If you’re a business dealing with self-care products, you might want to incorporate pink hues in your branding message.
In lighter shades, pink is feminine and youthful; in its darker shades, it’s vibrant and passionate. If that is the kind of traits and qualities you’re looking for in a customer base, then might as well use pink in your logo and other branding assets.
Blue is calming and soothing. Like green, it’s often associated with nature because of its relation to the seas and the oceans. And in terms of gender, blue often caters to young boys, as opposed to pink.
Blue is also an appetite suppressant, so if you’re in food business, steer clear from anything blue, as they are known to repress hunger psychologically. Notice how they are rarely used in any restaurants or food products.
Otherwise, anyone can use blue because it is the most widely used color in business. It invokes a sense of dependability, trustworthiness, and loyalty. It indicates confidence, reliability, and responsibility. For a conservative business such as accounting, law firms, tech, and banks, blue is the ideal color.
But for younger people, lighter blue can also work. Specific colors such as powder blue, turquoise, periwinkle, and teal are soothing and calming.
Established companies used a black logo. For example, The New York Times, Chanel, Adidas, Nike, Sony, and a lot more. It means black is authoritative, established, dominant, and powerful.
But black also means hiding. Technically, black is the absorption of all light and the absence of color. It conceals instead of shows, which makes a business all the more intriguing, mysterious, protective, and controversial.
Black can also mean luxury and grandeur. Notice how luxury products use black wordmarks. For example, Yves Saint Laurent, Apple, Burberry, Versace, Jaguar, Cartier, Bentley, etc. Often black appeals to an old and wealthy customer base. Those who have established businesses or belong to a family of great influence.
Even if you’re a starting business, you cannot go wrong with black. Black is the color of ink and therefore it has no inherent meaning that may shun a target audience. In other words, black can be a neutral color. It can be used anywhere and whatever business niche.
White alone doesn’t make a good logo. It has to be partnered with a colored background to make sense. Look at the logos of Tesla, The North Face, Crocs, Cotton, etc. Their background colors range from red to black to green. Then from there, the white-colored logotype and icon are easily recognizable.
Opposite of black which conceals, white symbolizes purity and openness. There’s nothing to hide. But for it to work as a logo, the choice of the background color is just as important. And that also needs careful consideration.
Often partnering black with white connotes balance and neutrality. Green and white can mean cleanliness and environmental-sensibility, red and white invokes beauty and passion, and so on.
Brown is a dominant earth color. It connotes stability, environmental-friendly, sturdiness, and practicality. Often associated with trees and bark, any materials with brown color scream vitality and life. It can connect you to nature in an instant.
In business, brown is not the favorite color because it has a negative connotation of being dirty and cheap. But with the right brown tones and color placement, brown can exude luxury and authority.
In logos, brown is often used by food industries such as chocolate and coffee; service sectors too such as farming and logistics; and the shoes and garment sectors. For example, M&Ms, UPS, Louis Vuitton, Hershey’s, Nespresso, Gloria Jeans Coffees, etc.
If you’re a business that uses the earth’s natural resources, a brown logo is a good choice. Say you export wood materials, or you farm cotton and coffee, or tomatoes.
But take caution if your target audience is mainly women because brown may seem earthy to such a customer base.
Purple connotes luxury and beauty. If you’re a business owner who wants to reach a young audience and want them to feel beautiful and empowered, purple might be the color for you.
Purple is often used in beauty industries such as fitness, make-up, skincare, and hygiene. These can be seen in Babies R Us, Whisper, Asprey, Curves, Prilosec, etc.
As the color of luxury, comfort, taste, and extravagance, purple is also the central theme of the following brands: Cadbury, Milka, Premier League, FedEx, NYU, etc.
Purple is also the color for dreams and fantasy. So if your brands are selling dreamy products and services that they don’t often find in normal places, purple colors in logos or across different platforms might be your best bet.
To denote a premium service, use purple. To invoke a sense of exclusivity, use purple.
Green is the color of plants. Hence, using green can mean sustainability and growth. Look at Whole Foods Market, Heineken, Tropicana, and Land Rover.
Green is also a positive color and brands can use it to indicate improvement in value and importance. Perhaps owing to the saving properties of green and sustainable operation, green became the color for money in the western world. Insurance, accounting, and freelancing are some of the brands that incorporate green colors. For example, Sprout, Fiverr, Shopify, and Cash App.
But overall, if the brands want to give off a sense of vitality, renewal, and restoration to customers, then the green color is the go signal.
Dark green relates to prestige, perhaps best if the target audiences are older wealthy generations. And light green targets young customers. These are people who care for the environment and want to save as much in their purchases.
Yello is a warm color. It is often associated with the sun although literally, the sun is not yellow in color. It is also the color of gold. The Egyptians paint their gods with yellow pigments and laden them with gold because they refer to them as the sun gods.
Nowadays, yellow is the color of vitality, youth, and energy. Any company that targets young audiences can never go wrong with using yellow as logos and other brand messaging needs. For example, yellow is the logo’s main color in Post It, Lays, Subway, IKEA, McDonald’s, and Nikon. They mostly cater to young and energetic audiences.
In color psychology, yellow is optimistic, cheerful, and playful. It doesn’t work on companies that are rigid, bureaucratic, and conservative. It works on businesses that are out-of-the-box, and creative.
In color psychology, red is the color that excites the human senses such as the appetite. Notice how big takeaways and restaurants use red in their branding. Look at Jollibee, McDonald’s, KFC, Wendy’s, Tokyo Tokyo, etc. Red provokes a sense of hunger and it drives action.
Apart from the appetite, red instigate sexuality. It is commonly associated with love, passion, sex, and gender. This is why it’s used on sexual objects like condoms, lubricants, intimate clothing, toys. Magazines like Men’s Health use it too.
But too much red can be negative. Red agitates and provokes anger. It’s a universal color of danger and aggression and it can invoke such feelings. Excessive use of red can cause anxiety and mixed emotions. So use red sparingly.
There’s a reason why logos whether icons or wordmarks are short and simple. Because it reduces the possibility of confusion. So that their target audience can easily relate the brand to things they already know and memories they hold.
That’s why choosing a color is an equally important but a daunting task in the process of logo creation. Colors are there to complement the image not go against it.
Hence, whether designed through logo makers or a professional logo design agency, the designer should carefully consider the meanings of color options in all their subtlety and nuances. This helps prevent misunderstanding and customer disconnection.