A lot of steps make up the logo design process.
And why not? A great logo can benefit a business for years while a poorly designed logo will only end up getting redesigned costing more time and more money.
Part of getting your logo right the first time includes nailing the colour. A colourful logo design (with the right colours) can improve comprehension by 73% and reading by 40%.
My favourite colour is blue. Everyone likes blue. I’m just gonna choose blue for my logo and call it a day.
That wouldn’t be a terrible choice. Blue is incredibly popular. But is it the best colour to represent your gardening shop?
Choosing the right logo colour sounds straightforward. But there’s a lot more to it than picking your favourite colour. Pick the wrong colour and your logo won’t just look terrible, it’ll deliver the wrong message.
To determine the best colour for your logo, you need to consider colour psychology, cultural significance, and industry norms.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The path to getting a colourful logo design right starts with your brand identity.
Get introspective! What do logo colours say about your business?
One of the most powerful factors that consumers use to decide which product to buy is brand identity.
It speaks directly to people. Brand identity gives consumers a way to connect with a business and say, “This is for me.”
Take a look at the colours of the logo we created for Baza Dance Studio.
The logo design features the shape two people dancing salsa configured into a “B” for Baza.
What do the colours add to the design?
What do the colours say about their brand identity?
The purple in the logo echoes the creativity and imagination you find in dance. It also adds a sense of fun and femininity.
So what’s your brand identity? This is a huge topic, so we’ll write ban3 other blogs about it, but for now here’s short summary:
Brand identity is thinking where your business fits along a spectrum of characteristics:
Feminine or Masculine – Does your product or business relate more to feminine or masculine personalities?
Playful or Serious – Is your business known to crack a joke every now and then? Or do you keep it straightforward and professional?
Extravagant or Down to Earth – Does your business deal in luxury products or does it have more in common with the average Joe?
Modern or Classic – Do you have more in common with a Tesla Model X or a 1968 Mustang Fastback?
Youth or Experience – When your business reaches for a drink, does it grab a juice box or a bottle of 12-year-old scotch?
Big and Loud, or Quiet and Reserved – How does your business behave at a party? Does it look to be the centre of attention? Or does it want to find a quiet corner where it could have a conversation?
The Coding Bull’s brand identity is based on being straightforward, modern, and simple. We cut the bullshit, take our work seriously, and focus on doing what’s best for our clients. Our logo represents this identity through the sleek, modern, and masculine bull icon in black arranged using elements of code.
What are the traits that you consider part of your brand’s DNA? Focus on a few traits that we mentioned.
Maybe you’ll think of one or two more characteristics I didn’t mention.
(If you think of anything I didn’t mention, suggest them in the comments below!)
Using colour psychology in your logo
Figuring out your brand’s identity makes choosing colours for a colourful logo design much easier.
From here, you can start to think about different colours and see which ones reflect your business’ personality best.
What Different Colours Represent
Through evolution and personal experiences, we’ve attached meaning to colours:
The universal sign of excitement, passion and anger. Is your brand loud, playful, youthful or modern? Think red. More mature, classic or serious? Red may not be for you.
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.
Accessible, sunshiney friendliness. Yellow exudes cheer, and your brand will radiate an affordable, youthful energy. Nobody puts yellow in a corner!
The ultimate in versatility, green isn’t linked with many brand personality traits, but it has strong cultural associations. Are you in finance? Gardening? Consider going green.
The classic king of colors, blue appears in over half of all logos. As it symbolizes trustworthiness and maturity, true blue will make sure you’re taken seriously.
Where the rainbow gets luxurious. Paint with purple to appear simultaneously cutting-edge and wise. There’s just a hint of femininity in there too.
Nothing says “girly” quite like pink. But it’s more versatile than that. From pastel rose to neon magenta, pick pink for a modern, youthful, and luxurious look.
What can brown do for you? Make your brand appear rugged, masculine and serious. Brown is very underutilized, so you’ll stand out from the competition.
Black is the new black. Want to look slick, modern and luxurious? Time to go black. Want to appear economical and affordable? Stay away from the dark side.
The absence of color. White is youthful and economical, but it can work for almost any brand. As a neutral color, consider white as a secondary accent.
Not quite dark, not quite light. Gray is the middle ground of mature, classic and serious. Go darker to add mystery. Go lighter to be more accessible.
Reflect on your business identity. Read more about colour psychology and what ideas different colours convey. Find the colours that represent your business best.
While you research colour psychology, you should also take a peek at how different cultures interpret colour.
If you’re shooting for a colourful logo design, you’ll want to choose colours carefully if your business has a global clientele.
Although red famously embodies luck in China, it’s associated with the revolution in Russia. North Americans associate yellow with happiness and optimism. In Germany, yellow illustrates envy.
Take a look at the colours of one Chinese bank and one Russian bank:
Bank of China uses the colour red in their logo to capitalize on the colour’s cultural significance. Whereas the Russian bank, VTB, uses blue, which in Russian culture signifies nobility.
There isn’t one way to choose colours for a global clientele. The best way is to reflect on your brand identity and choose colours that represent that identity.
How does your target demographic interpret the colour? What ideas (consciously or subconsciously) do your potential clients associated with the colour?
Some logo designers don’t put too much thought on research. They focus on design. At The Coding Bull, our marketing director and designer do their research prior to pencil sketching. This extra work is what makes our logo designs valuable for your business.
You can’t take into account how every culture interprets colour. But you can examine the businesses in your industry and the use of colour in their logos.
Some industries use specific colours frequently. Eco-friendly companies or health food products will often use green in their logos.
Food companies and restaurants learned that red stimulates appetite. Now you know why so many burger chains use red in their logos.
Study your competitors’ logos. Do you see a common colour that they all use?
Do you have an opportunity to zig, while all your competitors zag?
Part of the reason Shake Shack stands out from other hamburger chains is how they use the colour green instead of red in their logo. Through this design element, Shake Shack emphasizes their brand identity as “a 50s burger joint reimagined for a modern context.”
Finally, Don’t Let Colour Define Your Logo
Choosing colours that align with your brand identity, while taking into account industry norms, and colour psychology is one element of a great logo.
Remember that colours only reinforce a logo’s message and enhance its effectiveness. A colourful logo design isn’t the be-all and end-all. Colour is not what defines your logo’s design.
A great concept and expert execution make great logos. They’re the most powerful factors in creating timeless and memorable logos.