You probably already know that colors have meanings. It all started long ago when knights and kings had their coats of arms on their flags and shields. People then used colors the same way that businesses use it with their logos today: to be recognized and to share a specific message.
Consequently, the color choice must not be taken lightly when making your logo or a website for your company. Let’s take the time to review basic notions about colors and their significance so you create a logo that will convey the exact message you are looking for.
Basic Notions About Colors
Colors can be separated into two different categories: warm colors and cool colors.
Red, orange, and yellow are considered warm colors while green, blue, and purple is cool nuances. Warm colors are in general dynamic, full of energy, overwhelming and even aggressive if used in exaggeration.
On the opposite, cool colors have the benefit of calming people and give a fresh vibe to logos.
They are also very present in nature and might not be as noticed as warm nuances. What is the field of activities of your business? Are you working in entertainment or something related to sports? Are you working on something related to sciences or knowledge instead? Your domain can surely give you a hint on if you should look for a warm palette or a cold color palette of colors when choosing your nuances for your logo.
There are also primary and secondary colors.
Primary colors, red, yellow, and blue, are colors that cannot be created by mixing other colors together. Primary colors are the most used nuances for logos. In fact, according to Nora Kramer, 33% of top big brands logos are blue and 29% of them are red. Therefore, are you looking to have a more common logo or do you prefer to stand out of the crowd and use secondary colors when making your logo?
Secondary colors are nuances made when two primary colors are mixed together. As you can guess, green, orange, and purple are secondary colors. They are not used a lot in logos but can surely give a more sophisticated touch.
If you are looking to use two colors or more when making a logo, why not choose complementary colors?
Logos using complementary colors can be very dynamic, intense, and attractive. If you are looking to catch people’s attention, you should consider using these matches. But first, what are exactly complimentary colors? Take your color wheel and select a primary color (as seen above red, yellow or blue). Then check what the opposite color on the color wheel is. You should then see that green is the complementary color for red, purple for yellow, and orange for blue. Please note, however, to use complementary colors in a balanced way. Choose the main color to use predominantly and a second one for the accents. Lacoste and Fanta are good examples of logos using complementary colors. It is also often used for sports teams.
The Different Meaning of Colors
What message would you want your logo to convey? Who is your targeted audience? Keep in mind what your values as a business and who are your customers are when choosing the colors of your logo. The colors you choose must match your business if you want to have a recognizable brand.
What does your logo color say about your brand?
The Meaning of Red Logo
The red color of the logo is the color of strong feelings such as love, passion, bravery, anger or lust. It is also associated with blood, danger, warmth, and fire. Therefore, use red if you want to catch people’s attention or if you want to give it a dynamic or explosive touch. It is no coincidence that this nuance is used to make stop signs. Logos using red are common. They can evoke emotions or give a sense of urgency. A lot of restaurants or food-related businesses like to use this color in their logo.
Big brand logos using red: Coca Cola, Netflix, McDonald’s, Target
The Meaning of Orange Logo
The orange logo is the color of freshness but also of entertainment and youth. It is also associated with creativity, carelessness, falls, as well as Protestantism in western countries. It is an interesting option if your targeted audience is young and if you are looking for a less aggressive nuance than red. Logos or flags using orange are very uncommon. You should consider using this color if your business is in a creative sector or if you want to give a youthful look to your brand.
Big brand logos using orange: Harley-Davidson, Nickelodeon, Fanta, Mozilla Firefox
Yellow: Color of Positivity
Yellow is the color of joy, gold, and wealth but also greed and immaturity. It is considered a very optimistic and happy color but it can be aggressive if overused. It is even proven that yellow can stimulate the brain. It is also often used to represent the sun or power but it is the less used primary color for brand logos. Like red, yellow is a color that catches people’s attention easily. You could use this color if your business has a positive impact on your customers.
Big brand logos using yellow: Yellow Pages, Best Buy, IKEA, Chevrolet
Green logo color: Color of Nature
Green is the color of life, environment, and health, but also of money, banks, and jealousy. It is often used by businesses related to nature or that want to be seen as ecofriendly. This color is also associated to hope, tranquility, and serenity. Green is indeed is very common around us because of the trees and plants, however, there are not a lot of logos not related to nature that is using this nuance. Since it is considered as a positive color, why not consider it for your logo?
Big brand logos using green: Starbucks, Android, John Deere, Spotify
Blue: Color of Confidence
Blue is a very common color. It is indeed the color of the sky and the sea but as said above it is also the most used color for big brand logos. It is also the favorite color of many. Brands often use blue because it is a cold color that conveys trust, security, and accessibility, qualities liked by customers. It is also associated with wisdom, knowledge, tranquility but also sadness, masculinity, and conservatism. If you hesitate to use blue for your logo, try to add some other nuances to make it stand out.
Big brand logos using blue: HP, Walmart, Facebook, American Express
Purple: Color of Royalty
Purple is a cold secondary color and it was used by royalty for a very long time. In fact, purple was so expensive until the 20th century that only popes, kings, and emperors could afford it. This color is associated with mystery and spirituality but also luxury since it was overpriced. It is also related to solitude and femininity. It is then a color you could use if you are aiming for high-end products or services or if your business is in the beauty field. It has the benefit of calming nerves too.
Big brand logos using purple: Yahoo!, Cadbury, Taco Bell, Los Angeles Lakers
In conclusion, we hope that you learned enough today to choose the right colors for your logo. Be bold, do not hesitate to test any color combination until you find what really conveys what you want your customers to feel when they see your logo for the first time. You might start by making a list of all qualities and values your business has and then select which audience you want to target. Are your products aimed for younger generations or older ones? Is it something useful or fun? Do not wait any longer, create your logo now!