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What does that color really mean?
By Russell Webb

In my previous article I emphasized the importance of choosing & using color wisely in your logo creation.

Colors speak volumes about your company. I'll be sharing some ideas and concepts referencing color, and the use of color combinations in logos and graphic design.

The psychology of color has been researched in depth and the conclusions are simply fascinating.

Let's take a closer look...

Like fashion, color trends change too. The task is to find a color combination that not only works in 2005, but will maintain its appeal and meaning over time. It's not easy, and many companies revamp their logo every few years.

One option corporations often take, is to keep their original logo affiliated with their originial product, & then to vary their original logo with a newer flair, to be identified with a new product line.

It is a great marketing solution. Products will always change. Your business logo design can too & it is with no loss of power. Nike and Apple are good examples.

So for now, narrow down the traits that define your company, & match them with the colors that evoke these feelings.

How does your logo make your clients feel? Excited, Confident, or maybe even Hungry?

If your logo-rug was hanging amongst others in a tradeshow, what would your image communicate?

Some psychological qualities of color and how they relate to each other are:

  • Black: seriousness, distinctiveness, boldness, power, sophistication, tradition

  • Blue: authority, dignity, security, faithfulness, heritage, corporate stability, trust

  • Brown/gold::history, utility, earthiness, richness, tradition, conservative

  • Gray/silver::somberness, authority, practicality, corporate mentality, trust

  • Green: tranquility, health, freshness, stability, appetite

  • Orange: fun, cheeriness, warm exuberance, appetite, speed

  • Pink: femininity, innocence, softness, health, youth

  • Purple: sophistication, spirituality, wealth, royalty, youth, mystery

  • Red: romance, sexy, passion, strength, vitality, aggressiveness, fear, speed, appetite

  • Yellow: youth, positive feelings, sunshine, cowardice, refinement, caution, appetite

One color or more?

It is no coincidence that 80% of the world's most widely recognized business logo designs use either one or two colors. Truth be told, few good logo designs use more than three colors; this is because using more than three colors usually turns a logo into a muddy mess!

Some examples of logo rugs we have made are a good reference.

Lancome uses only red & white - Red = sexy, romance, sophistication, daring, White = purity & cleanliness.

The Mattel & Hot Wheels logo is very successful in using 4 colors.

Red = heat, passion, danger, power, vitality, fear, speed,
Yellow = youth, positive feelings, energy, joy,
Black = distinctiveness, boldness, power, sophistication &
White = contemporary.

Which color comes first place in logo creation?

Interestingly, Blue is by far the most popular color in logo creation - conveying peace and tranquility, harmony, trust and confidence. Lighter shades of blue are lighthearted and positive. There are many good carpet choices in blue!

The main logo colors for IBM, Dell, Hewlett Packard and Intel are... you guessed it... blue. Blue color associations are stability and progress, therefore blue has long been a standard color among high-tech companies.

So if you are a technology company, you might consider incorporating blue into your logo design to take advantage of these positive built-in associations.

On the other hand, blue is the least utilised color when developing logos for food or cooking, there very few blue foods on earth and it is known to be an appetite suppressant! Think of McDonald's, Subway, and Burger King.

What other color can you use with blue? What will the combination create & convey?

Well... blues work well with other pastel and "cool" shades (like greens), and are an excellent compliment to earth tones and neutral colors like gray and beige.

Be careful when using orange with blue, because these two colors vibrate against each other and cause a jarring effect.

It is also important to keep in mind that your logo should be created using Web-safe colors, or Pantone swatches, so that your logo looks the same, or almost, as a rug, when printed or viewed online.


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Russell Webb 2018
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