In my last post, I wrote about the benefits of creating your company logo in black and white before adding color to it. In this post, I am going to give you information that will help you effectively add color to your logo design. This information can also be used to help choose colors for your product labels, website, and print marketing materials.
Let’s take a look at how some of the world’s most recognizable brands effectively utilize color in their logo designs.
Red and Yellow
The colors red and yellow are known to induce hunger; therefore, they are often used in the logos of fast food chains such as McDonald’s. Red is also known to elevate heart rate, which may explains why countless numbers of young children get overly excited at the thought of consuming a Happy Meal. The color red is also associated with energy, strength, aggressiveness, and adventure – making it a very appropriate color choice for the energy drink Red Bull – as well as love and passion. Yellow can represent positive elements such as sunshine and happiness, as well as negative ones such as danger, caution and cowardice. Yellow, like red, is a primary color, which makes it particularly appealing to young children.
Although orange has been a trendy design color for the last two years, the orange Nickelodeon logo has been around for more than two decades. This color is traditionally associated with fun, creativity, vibrancy and youthfulness – making it an effective logo color choice for this children’s television channel. A combination of red and yellow, orange is also known for stimulating the appetite.
Green is most closely associated with nature, which makes it a good logo color choice for natural grocer Whole Foods and British Petroleum Company (BP) alike. Although BP is best-known in the US for its automobile gasoline stations, it is a global energy company that markets itself as a pioneer in alternative energy exploration. Green also induces relaxation in many people.
Blue is an excellent color choice for IBM’s logo for many reasons. First of all, if you stop a North American on the street and ask them what their favorite color is, they are most likely to say blue. Secondly, this color is associated with authority, loyalty, security, dignity, confidence, success, and trustworthiness – qualities any business would like to be associated with. For these reasons, blue can be seen in the logos of all types of organization. It is especially popular, however, among Fortune 500 companies, government organizations, and medical establishments. A prominent color in nature, blue also has a calming effect.
Hallmark, which is best known for its greeting cards and gift collections, capitalizes on the color purple’s associations with sophistication and royalty in the design of its logo. This color is also commonly associated with spirituality, wealth, and mystery; and is most likely to be named as a favorite color by a North American teenaged girl.
Pink is often used in logos to give them a feminine touch, appropriate for entities whose target audience is women such as the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Mary Kay, and Barbie. Pink is associated with the feminine qualities of gentleness, innocence, romance, softness, and fragility. This color can also represent gratitude, appreciation, and tranquility.
Brown’s association with reliability and conservatism makes it appropriate for the National Park Service and UPS logos. Brown’s associations with the earth and comfort make it an ideal color choice for the herbal tea company Celestial Seasonings. Brown can also be perceived as being utilitarian or boring, so use this color with caution.
Black & White
Black, the absence of color, brings to mind boldness, distinction and determination. It also has connotations of elegance, tradition, formality, and mystery. For many, the simplicity of black gives it a sophisticated quality.
If you do not currently have a logo, you might want to keep the information I have presented in this post in mind when designing one. If you already have a logo, I’d love to hear what colors you use, why you chose them, and what you feel they communicate about your company and its products.
Color Psychology Resources