Opting for the appropriate colors in your logo can effectively accentuate your business’ advantages and draw in the desired clientele. Conversely, an ill-chosen color combination can yield unfavorable outcomes.
Color psychology, a widely known concept, enlightens us about the influence of colors on our emotions and actions. For instance, yellow evokes cheerfulness (as the sun shines brightly in a yellow hue), while green induces a sense of calmness (reminiscent of lying on grass and gazing at a canopy of serene leaves). Nevertheless, do these perceived “rules” regarding logo colors hold true in the realm of business and branding?
The Comprehensive Guide to Logo Colors
To create impactful branding, it is crucial to grasp the symbolism behind colors in logo designs. This comprehensive guide explores the associated meanings of various logo colors.
- Red, orange and yellow logos
- Green and blue logos
- Purple and pink logos
- Brown and black logos
- Gray and white logos
Read on to discover what colors symbolize in your logo designs.
Which logo colors mean what?
Red universally signifies excitement, passion, and anger, making it an attention-grabbing color that helps you stand out. If your brand embodies qualities such as being loud, playful, youthful, or modern, red is a suitable choice. However, if your brand aims for a more mature, classic, or serious image, red may not align with your desired brand identity.
Red is a powerful logo color with evolutionary and emotional significance. It is one of the first colors babies can see and is associated with heightened emotions like love, anger, and passion. Additionally, red stimulates appetite, making it popular in food and restaurant logos. Whether used alone or as an accent, red has a strong impact in logo design.
Orange is an invigorating, playful color. Go orange to stand out from the crowd. It’s used less often than red, but still packs an energetic punch. Be cautious when using orange if your brand is trying to appear luxurious or serious, as orange does not invoke those traits to consumers.
As a blend of yellow and red, orange inherits characteristics from both primary colors.
The word “orange” was a relatively recent addition to the English language, originally referred to as “yellow-red” in Old English. The term “orange” was adopted from French when the fruit of the same name was imported from the Mediterranean.
Orange is closely linked to the concept of change, reminiscent of autumn leaves or the vibrant skies during sunrise or sunset. It is frequently employed by brands that aim to distinguish themselves as unique or unconventional.
Yellow logos project an inviting and cheerful friendliness. The color exudes a vibrant and sunny energy, evoking a sense of accessibility. Incorporating yellow in your brand identity can infuse your business with an affordable and youthful aura. However, it is important to note that yellow is not typically associated with maturity or luxury brands. If you desire your business to be perceived as mature or luxurious, it might be prudent to reconsider using yellow as a dominant color in your logo.
Yellow holds a significant place as a primary color in subtractive color systems and was among the first paint colors that humans were able to mix. This versatile color boasts various cultural associations, including gold, fields of wheat and corn, and sunlight. It exhibits a diverse range of shades, with a soft, bright yellow evoking a sense of lightness and freshness, while a deep gold carries more depth, weight, and historical connotations. The diverse nature of yellow allows for a wide spectrum of interpretations and applications in logo design.
The ultimate in versatility, research shows that green isn’t linked with many brand personality traits, but it has strong cultural associations. Typically, green represents the natural world, which is why eco-friendly, vegan, and natural wellness brands often have green logos. But you can also use green for just about any type of business!
Since plants are green (and they come back to life after a long winter), many people say green is the color of growth or new life, but also greed and poison. But historically and in different cultures, green has been a color of death. (In fact, a popular green dye created in the 18th century included arsenic, and it literally killed people. Some have argued that it may be partially responsible for the death of Napoleon Bonaparte, whose walls were covered in green-dyed wallpaper).
Despite being a late addition to color naming across various cultures, blue remains popular and carries connotations of confidence and trust. However, it may not be ideal for the foodservice industry due to its potential appetite-suppressing effect. To add playfulness, consider lighter shades leaning towards teal. When choosing blue for your brand, consider your desired image, target audience, and industry context.
Blue, despite being a primary color, was named relatively late in human history. Choose blue for your brand to exude classic confidence and trust. However, be cautious in the foodservice industry as it may suppress appetite. To add playfulness, opt for lighter shades leaning towards teal on the color wheel.
Purple signifies luxury and can help your brand appear cutting-edge and wise.
The luxurious associations of purple likely stem from its historical significance as an expensive dye worn exclusively by the wealthy. Interestingly, despite its connection to luxury and wealth, purple is not perceived as an overly serious color. If you have a project that combines playfulness with an air of expense, purple is an excellent choice. However, if you are selling professional business attire, using purple in your brand may present challenges as it might not align with the serious image typically associated with such products.
In modern, Western society, pink is one of the most versatile colors. From soft millennial pink to neon magenta, pink can give a brand a modern, youthful, luxurious look.
Pink stands out as an unconventional color among the six listed above. While the other colors are either primary or secondary colors in subtractive color systems, pink is essentially light red. Interestingly, there is no equivalent English word for light blue or light yellow. Moreover, pink is a relatively modern addition to the color lexicon, entering the English language in the 17th century to represent luxury. Considering the extensive history of color, pink remains youthful and trendy.
Brown, being reminiscent of soil and tree bark, is a quintessential representation of earth tones. Its subdued nature lends it a rugged and serious quality. Additionally, brown is the least commonly used color in logos, which means that choosing it can help your brand stand out from competitors. By opting for brown, you can create a distinct and unique visual identity that sets your brand apart.
Brown, a deep and rich color created by mixing all other colors, exudes a subdued and earthy feel. It is ideal for outdoorsy brands, those selling natural brown products like chocolate, or those desiring a vintage, hand-made aesthetic. Brown represents aging and nostalgia, making it versatile and impactful in logo design.
Black is the epitome of slickness, modernity, and luxury. Choosing black for your brand can exude a sense of sophistication and opulence. On the other hand, if you aim for an economical and affordable image, it’s best to steer clear of black. Embrace the power of black when you want to make a statement of style and luxury, while being mindful of its association with high-end branding.
Black, unlike colors such as orange and purple, is not a specific wavelength of light that we perceive. Instead, black represents the absence of light. Despite its fundamental nature, black retains a modern and captivating quality. Its simplicity can be striking, creating an air of mystery and exclusivity, particularly when used in all-black logos. This characteristic can be leveraged by luxury brands to enhance their image and evoke a sense of allure and sophistication. Despite its simplicity, black holds a timeless appeal and continues to captivate our attention.
Gray is the middle ground between darkness and lightness, representing maturity, classicism, and seriousness. Darker shades add mystery, while lighter shades make your brand more accessible. Gray offers versatility to create a refined and adaptable visual identity.
Similar to black, gray exhibits a striking simplicity. However, due to its softer nature, gray logos emanate a more subdued and serious vibe, evoking a classic sensibility.
White, as the absence of color, evokes a clean and weightless feel. It is ideal for brands aiming to convey meticulousness and purity, while also offering an aspirational quality.
Although most logos have a white version, it often serves as a background to complement another dominant color. When used as an accent or to lighten another color, white conveys a youthful and economical vibe. Nonetheless, white can be suitable for almost any brand, offering versatility in its application.
In conclusion, the selection of logo colors plays a crucial role in shaping your brand’s identity and influencing audience perception. By understanding the meanings and associations behind different colors, you can strategically choose the ones that align with your brand’s values and target audience.
If you’re seeking expert guidance to create a powerful logo and enhance your brand’s visual identity, we encourage you to speak to our experienced branding consultants. They can provide valuable insights and help you make informed decisions that will set your brand apart from the competition.