The Ws And Hs Of Color In Logo Design
We can’t help but admire the beauty and excellence of a well-designed logo. It’s true. Step out into the market and search for a product. You’re probably going to end up choosing the one that has a nice logo, the one that describes what you feel, and understands what you want.
A logo design is a part of the brand building process, which either adds to the business success or downgrades it. It comprises several components, each of which highlight the prospects the business is able to reach via an identity. Though each logo design element may reserve its importance, what the color does for the logo design is what the logo design does for the business.
We humans are visual beings and depend on colors to guide the course of our life. When it comes to brands and businesses, colors impart a distinct visual identity to them, without losing their respective aura.
Want to learn why and how the colors work their way through a logo design? Consider this article your North Star because it’s going to elaborate on every questionable W and H regarding colors in logo design and shed light on the deep details that are easily missed out.
The article will first walk you through the whys and whats, after which we’ll be dealing with the hows of the logo design color scenario.
So, let’s begin.
Almost everyone knows that there is some psychology behind colors but not everyone knows that there is a latticework of numerous emotions and behaviors guided by the colors alone. Each color is limitless in its expression and can elicit responses varying from person to person. For instance, red is known for its passionate qualities, but the same red (when representing blood) can nauseate many.
Moreover, picking colors for your business’s logo isn’t as easy as a nursery rhyme. Our mind is a highly specialized machine that makes intricate color combinations with various factors, such as culture, context, and various instructions and shapes our perception with respect to our surroundings. Moreover, we tend to associate different feelings and emotions with colors over time.
Anyhow, color psychology today is neglected to a greater extent and is generalized to simplistic concepts. For instance, red is passionate, green is soothing, and blue is calming etc.
When we use colors in a logo, we need to be aware of how the human mind works with colors and the respective context. We must bear in mind what makes a logo a good logo and how color psychology comes into play when cementing a solid foundation for your business’s logo design. Let’s take a brief look at what messages color convey with their meanings.
As we discussed earlier, colors can deviate from the semantics they’re known for. Why do we associate an attribute or emotion with one color? Do colors mean what they mean or do we give them our own meanings?
Since the brain is a 24/7 running machine, it contains several nodes dedicated to each color. Yes. Every. Single. Color. No matter how many colors you’re exposed to, your brain has the ability to modify those nodes. It’s Iike a color sequence where you keep adding attributes to each color based on your growing exposure and experience with that color.
For instance, a red car on the road may remind you of the pain you experienced when you were hit by a red car in your childhood. It probably isn’t the same car, but the stimulus is the color red that triggers the memory of pain you once associated with it.
You could see it from a different perspective as well. When you’d see red around food, you’d probably remember your favorite fast food brand. Seeing a red logo triggers hunger, so there’s another experience.
Color psychology revolves around everything related to color. It isn’t just a ‘blue is calm, yellow is happy, and red is passion’ thing; it’s much more than that. Apart from the main themes, the colors are associated with, the experience, culture, context, and background play a crucial role in setting the overall tone for the color perception.
Your past experience complied with the cultural usage of color and the context determine the overall meaning of a color. Despite those facts, many brands might exceed beyond the generally accepted notion of color perception and set a different color standard suited to the business values and objectives.
You must’ve learned by now that the color perception keeps getting regulated time by time. So, why does that color perception affect us? How do the colors get ingrained into our minds and what impact do they have on our actions?
The color control runs in the subconscious of your mind, like a background app in your smartphone. When you come across a color, your mind produces two kinds of reactions: Arousal and evaluation.
The best case of arousal reaction can be explained easily with red when linked to romantic interests. A cascade of biological reactions inside the body takes place and as a consequence, we experience an adrenalin rush and an increased heart rate. The higher the arousal, the higher are the chances of getting hurt.
However, the other reaction is linked to the evaluation or likeness pattern of color choice. People are attracted to colors that are bright and warm in nature. For instance, if you’re hungry and are going to choose between two food brands – one using red and the other using multiple colors – your color node associated with hunger becomes activated and overrides your senses and lets you choose the one that has a stronger connection and perspective integrated within the internode connection in your brain.
Both these activation processes are at work in the subconscious of every individual exposed to colors. This part of psychology works well when brands are deciding colors of their logos.
They say that a color can stir some emotions in your memory. But there’s another thing to it. Colors are more than what they seem and in the case of brands, a specific goal can be achieved using appropriate colors. As we’ve mentioned before, your subconscious is in a constant process of running the color code and acting as an action incentive section; the colors in logos work in the same manner.
But it is important to render the key traits of your business as well as the perception of your customers. Colors, with all their relevance, are used to define your brand personality. However, they should address your brand characteristics. Before you jump at the color scheme, ask yourself these questions:
Once you’ve figured out how’s everything keeps getting linked, you will likely pinpoint the right color scheme for your logo design.
We’ve got past the color psychology and how the whole color psychology works. Now, let’s narrow our path to discovering how colors contribute in defining a logo and how your brand value gets a distinguished presence – just by color alone.
Depending on the type of your business, there are several ways via which you can choose the color scheme. Just know that it is not a random color choice, but a deeply ingrained one. Each color has its own hue, value, and saturation. You must see past the visual representation and think about the how your color scheme is going to connect your customers with your product.
The process starts by going through the color wheel which has variations of primary and secondary colors. For your convenience, divide the color wheel into two halves. One half contains warm colors, while the other contains cool colors. The arrangement of colors in the color wheel gives you the idea of appropriateness and a balanced color scheme.
Based on your business’s objective, you can make the following combinations.
As fun as it sounds, creating a color scheme for yoeur logo requires skills, knowledge, and time. A good color scheme controls the saturation and contrast in your logo design. You can create unique combinations by using neutrals and the classic B&W.
When deciding between colors, make sure you’re choosing the not-too-vibrant or not-too-subtle combination. When in doubt, check out what color schemes your successful competitors are using. Combine some inspiration, knowledge, and your imagination to devise the perfect scheme.
H # 2: How Many Colors Can You Choose?
Now that you’ve learned what each color means and the ways of combining them, how can you determine the number of colors you can choose for your logo design? Of course, the choices are unlimited, but since there is a semantic meaning behind each color, the number of colors have a meaning to them too.
The number of colors depends on your product. Is it something with a utility purpose or does it correspond to luxury? If it’s a causal product that displays lightheartedness and playfulness, you can choose more colors. On the other hand, if your product has a serious nature and is targeted at a particular audience, then the fewer colors, the better it is.
Another thing that determines the number of colors is the amount of content you use in your logo. If your logo is laden with several design elements and redundant text, the colors will lose their power. But if there is too little content and too much color, it’s still going to pose a problem for you. Your design will also become overwhelming if you’re putting in too much content as well as colors in your logo.
However, the key here is to choose the colors that represent the major attributes of your business and set its tone.
H # 3: How To Associate Your Brand Value With Your Logo Color?
As discussed above, the colors must align with your business objectives. They should bring out those elements and maintain a sense of congruency with the product. For instance, choosing deeper hues of black and purple when used in logos of a luxury brand will improve brand association with its products and motives.
In addition, marketers experiment with different approaches as to how colors can communicate several messages by activating the color nodes. They bring psychology to play with multiple factors, such as evolution, environment, gender, and social norms etc.
Pay attention to what your audience thinks about the colors in your logo and what evokes them to take the action. Noting the minute but deep details can help you associate your brand values with the colors in your logo.
If you’re a designer, then the above concepts might come easily to you. As for the brands in other domains, they either try their luck or hire experts to deliver a fully-furnished logo for their business. However, for brands that cannot afford expensive logo design, DesignMantic offers the ultimate solution; it offers a complete range of logo designs that help you pinpoint your brand’s goals.
Designing with DesignMantic doesn’t require you to acquire prior experience or knowledge of logo design as it allows you to choose your desired logo design from a plethora of options and have it customized. What’s more, you can even create your own logo using DesignMantic’s AI-driven logo maker tool.
With an advanced tool like that, you can achieve a hassle-free professional logo design in no time.
Now that everything’s said and done, the colors will never cease to rein our world. With all that you’ve learned about how the color system hardwired into our minds, the color psychology is best at play when exhibiting the brand messages.
Colors are one of the main communication sources that drive our senses. They make us feel whatever we’re oriented towards, which makes the underlying psychology a form of an interesting art. We learn to deliver messages without using verbal cues and that is also how the successful brands employ special color codes to drive their audience. At the end, it is hoped that this article has covered most of the Ws and Hs of the color in logo design and has contributed to your knowledge.
Meet Evan! He’s a Digital Marketing pro who’s been proactively engaged with the cyberspace since 2008, focusing on design services, user interface planning, and branding with a never-ending list. He now leads content marketing efforts at DesignMantic. Plus, Evan’s also a design aficionado since he loves DIY design projects.