Choosing the Right Colours for Your Logo

Colour Choice is Vital to an Effective Logo

Understanding the psychology of colours is vital to designing an effective logo and brand identity for your company.

The use of colour can bring multiple layers of meaning, from primitive responses based on millions of years of evolved instinct to the complex associations we make based on learned assumptions.

You can use these responses to underline and accent your branding messages when having your logo designed. If you apply a thorough understanding of colour psychology to the design of your company's logo then you will be able to produce a brand for your company that will generate the right responses from customers.

The diagram below shows themes commonly associated with particular colours

What do Different Colours Mean?

Red implies passion, energy, danger or aggression; warmth and heat. It has also been found to stimulate appetite, which explains why it is used in so many restaurants and food product logos. Choosing red for your logo can make it feel more dynamic.

Orange is often see as the colour of innovation and modern thinking. It also carries connotations of youth, fun, affordability and approachability.

Yellow requires cautious use as it has some negative connotations including its signifying of cowardice and its use in warning signs. However it is sunny, warm and friendly and is another colour that is believed to stimulate appetite.

Green is commonly used when a company wishes to emphasise their natural and ethical credentials, especially with such products as organic and vegetarian foods. Other meanings ascribed to it include growth and freshness, and it's popular with financial products too.

Blue is one of the most widely used colours in corporate logos. It implies professionalism, serious mindedness, integrity, sincerity and calm. Blue is also associated with authority and success, and for this reason is popular with both financial institutions and government bodies.

Purple speaks to us of royalty and luxury. It has long been associated with the church, implying wisdom and dignity, and throughout history it has been the colour of wealth and riches.

Black is a colour with a split personality. On the one hand it implies power and sophistication, but on the other hand it is associated with villainy and death. More mundanely, most logos will need a black and white version for use in media in which colour is not available - and there is currently a trend for bold monochrome logos and word marks.

White is generally associated with purity, cleanliness, simplicity and naiveté. In practical terms, a white logo will always need to stand in a coloured field to make it show up on a white background. Many companies will choose to have a coloured version and a white version of their logos; for example, the Coca-Cola word mark appears in white on its red tins and brown bottles but is used in red when needed on a white background.

Brown has masculine connotations and is often used for products associated with rural life and the outdoors.

Pink can be fun and flirty, but its feminine associations means it is often avoided for products not specifically targeted at women.

Should I Use Single or Multiple Colours?

To get the maximum impact of your logo's colour coded message, it is usually best to stick with a single colour when creating your company's brand and identity. With that said, there are some very successful multi-coloured logos out there - think of Google, Windows and eBay. The implication of multiple colours is that these companies are offering a wide choice of products and services.

So make sure the colour(s) you choose for your logo reinforces and enhances the design of your logo - but doesn't define it.

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