What Your Logo Colors Are Actually Saying

Whether you realize it or not, the colors you see impact your decisions every day.  As humans, we have been hard-wired to respond in certain ways when presented with specific colors.  As a small business owner, what this means is that the choice of the colors you use in your branding is vitally important.  While you may personally love the color yellow and wear it every day, yellow ultimately may not be the right color choice for your brand.

Red

The color red is a bold, exciting color and it’s associated with passion, heat, energy and on the flip side, can also be associated with aggression and danger.  It’s a statement color and choosing to integrate red into your logo tells the world that your brand is energetic and exciting.

As a side note, some studies have found that the color red can stimulate appetite, which is why it is one of the most widely used colors in food and restaurant logos.

Examples of red logos:

a1sx2_Thumbnail1_red-coca-cola-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_red-cnn-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_red-pinterest-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_red-frito-lay-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_red-virgin-logo.jpg
a1sx2_Thumbnail1_red-time-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_Red-Target-Logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_red-nintendo-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_Red-Netflix-Logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_red-lego-logo.jpg

 

Orange

If you want to be seen as friendly and approachable, orange might be the right color for your brand.  In branding, the color orange is often seen as being one of the most cheerful colors and generally implies that your brand is fun, youthful and accessible.  It also carries tones of innovation and modernity, which tie into the youthful feel and similar to red, orange is a warm, energetic color.

Examples of orange logos:

a1sx2_Thumbnail1_discover-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_amazon-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_nickelodeon-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_shutterfly-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_harley-davidson-logo.jpg
a1sx2_Thumbnail1_payless-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_hooters-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_fanta-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_blogger-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_firefox-logo.jpg

 

Yellow

While yellow is often thought of as a warm, sunny and friendly color, you want to use this color with caution.  In North America, the color is heavily tied to transportation and most warning signs are a yellow hue.  Also, historically, being “yellow” meant that you were cowardly, which generally is not one of the adjectives that you’d want associated with your brand.

Caution aside, there are many brands that have used yellow to set themselves apart and like red, yellow has also been shown to be an appetite stimulant.  Other words associated with yellow: optimism, warmth, and clarity.

Examples of yellow logos:

a1sx2_Thumbnail1_yellow-nikon-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_yellow-nat-geo-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_yellow-best-buy-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_yellow-mcdonalds-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_yellow-shell-logo.jpg
a1sx2_Thumbnail1_yellow-sprint-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_yellow-caterpillar-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_yellow-hertz-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_yellow-ikea-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_yellow-subway-logo.jpg

 

Green

Green is the color of life and growth in almost every area of the world and it is most widely used to emphasize a brand’s organic and natural side.  Because of the strong ties to growth, green has been used very well for financial logos as well.  Other words associated with the color green include peace and health, making it an excellent choice for brands who want to play up a restorative presence.

Examples of green logos:

 a1sx2_Thumbnail1_green-starbucks-logo.jpg  a1sx2_Thumbnail1_green-spotify-logo.jpg  a1sx2_Thumbnail1_green-xbox-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_green-tropicana-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_green-whole-foods-logo.jpg
 a1sx2_Thumbnail1_green-land-rover-logo.jpg  a1sx2_Thumbnail1_green-john-deere-logo.jpg  a1sx2_Thumbnail1_green-holiday-inn-logo.jpg  a1sx2_Thumbnail1_green-android-logo.jpg  a1sx2_Thumbnail1_green-animal-planet-logo.jpg

 

Blue

Blue is one of the most widely used colors in logo design and there is good reason for that.  The color blue conveys a tone of professionalism and implies trust and dependability.  It can also signal strength and integrity, which means that for banks and financial institutions, blue is an excellent choice.  On the flipside, blue is also highly associated with serenity, peace and tranquility and can work well for health, spa and beauty brands.

Examples of blue logos:

 a1sx2_Thumbnail1_blue-jpmorgan-logo.jpg  a1sx2_Thumbnail1_blue-facebook-logo.jpg  a1sx2_Thumbnail1_blue-ibm-logo.jpg  a1sx2_Thumbnail1_blue-wordpress-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_blue-oralb-logo.jpg
 a1sx2_Thumbnail1_blue-hp-logo.jpg  a1sx2_Thumbnail1_blue-dell-logo.jpg  a1sx2_Thumbnail1_blue-amex-logo.jpg  a1sx2_Thumbnail1_blue-walmart-logo.jpg  a1sx2_Thumbnail1_blue-nasa-logo.jpg

 

Purple

If you want your brand to be perceived as luxurious, purple may well be the way to go.  In western cultures, purple has historically been the color of royalty, which gives it it’s high-end appeal.  Purple has also been associated with the church, which lends itself to being a good representation of a brand that is considered dignified and wise.   Along those lines, purple has also been use to showcase a brand’s imaginative and creative side.

Examples of purple logos:

a1sx2_Thumbnail1_purple-syfy-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_purple-taco-bell-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_purple-welchs_logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_purple-wonka-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_purple-yahoo-logo.jpg
a1sx2_Thumbnail1_purple-aussie-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_purple-big-brothers-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_purple-cadbury-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_purple-crown-royal-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_purple-hallmark-logo.jpg

 

Black

Using the color black in your logo can convey a lot of different things.  On the one hand, the color black has strong connotations of sophistication, seriousness and power, which can be great for high end luxury brands.  On the other hand, for many cultures, black is the color of mourning and is symbolic of death.  The color black is heavily tied to the supernatural as well and is the color of the unknown.

That all being said, almost every logo will have to have a black and white version for cases where color is not available and as of 2014, black logos are right on par with current design trends.

Examples of black logos:

a1sx2_Thumbnail1_black-lexus-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_black-puma-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_black-times-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_black-ysl-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_black-adidas-logo.jpg
a1sx2_Thumbnail1_black-chanel-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_black-cartoon-network-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_black-gucci-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_black-guinness-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_nike-logo.jpg

 

White

Historically, the color white has been used to convey purity, cleanliness and simplicity.  It can also be used to convey balance and a sense of calm or zen.  Baby brands, organic products and brands dealing with wedding products are all industries where white favors heavily.

Similar to the color black, even if your primary logo is full of color, you’ll almost always need a version that can be done just in white and black.

Examples of white logos:

a1sx2_Thumbnail1_white-apple-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_white-abc-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_white-levis-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_white-dominos-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_white-coca-cola-logo.jpg

 

Brown

The color brown has an earthy, masculine feel that is often associated with the outdoors.  Companies who work closely with or in nature or who want to give consumers the feeling that they are down to earth and practical should consider using brown in their logo.  Brown is also closely tied with dependability and reliability.

Examples of brown logos:

a1sx2_Thumbnail1_brown-ups-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_brown-godiva-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_cracker-barrel-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_brown-hersheys-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_caribou-coffee-logo.jpg

 

Pink

Is there any color that is more closely associated with femininity than pink?  Pink is light and fun and flirty and fresh and can be great for logos directed towards female consumers.  It is also tied closely to the idea of sweetness and works well for confectioners or bakeries.

Examples of pink logos:

a1sx2_Thumbnail1_pink-barbie-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_t-mobile-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_pink-orkut-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_hello-kitty-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_pink-vs-logo.jpg

 

Multi-Colored

While most logos will utilize more than one color, the logo design standards typically state that you should limit your color choices to no more than 2-3.  However, there are circumstances where it might make sense to use a multitude of colors in your company logo.  For instance, if you are trying to convey that you offer a wide variety of products and services, a multi-colored logo could work well.  Using more than 3 colors also helps convey that your brand is inclusive and is focused on diversity.  If those are key pillars of your companies brand, multiple colors could work well in your logo.

Examples of multi-colored logos:

a1sx2_Thumbnail1_google-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_windows-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_ebay-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_bahamas-logo.jpg a1sx2_Thumbnail1_olympic-logo.jpg