What color should your new logo be?
Choosing the right color for your business’s logo isn’t an easy task, we know that for sure!
Not to stress you out at all, but did you know that it only takes 1/10th of a second for someone to form a first impression of someone else?
That may seem pretty quick, but you may be shocked when you discover that it takes about 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds) for people to form an opinion about your brand just from your logo alone.
That means you truly have to work your magic to make that logo stand out.
Logos are everything you want to say about your brand without actually saying it. The logo you choose for your brand should be instantly recognizable by your customers.
In fact, logos are so recognizable that many quizzes and trivia nights across the world have a “logo round”, where you have to guess the brand name from the logo. Pretty neat, huh?
All of the famous logos have a couple of things in common—for the most part, they’re simple, and they use the best colors, in the right way.
When it comes to your logo, there’s no “one size fits all” solution. Fantasize, draw sketches, get wild, as even the craziest idea might be a hit. To help you play around with colors, we have compiled the ultimate “logo color guide”.
Remember that there are no strict rules, only guidelines when it comes to colors. So, go wild!
How a Logo Color Influences Perception of Your Brand
“Color psychology” is a study of hues and their influence on human behavior. It’s one of the key pillars of branding and marketing and it is a key player when it comes to deciding on your logo’s colors.
Logo design is an exercise in imagination, and there’s no out-of-the-box solution that will fit every startup’s needs. One shade of color may work for one brand, while another brand in the same industry may find a different shade of the same color is more to their suiting.
It can be daunting trying to narrow down what color is best for your brand, but a little “color psychology” can at least narrow down what works for others and what doesn’t.
Let’s have a look at the choice in colors by the world’s biggest brands:
- Blue: 33%
- Red 29%
- Black, Grey, Silver: 28%
- Yellow, Gold: 13%
This doesn’t mean that you should cram these four colors into your logo design so you can align your brand with the big names. When it comes to choosing your logo’s coloring, we always say: keep it simple.
In fact, around 95% of brands only use two colors in their logo, and only 5% use three or more.
Consider these brands:
- Facebook: blue and white
- Ikea: blue and yellow
- Colgate: red and white
- FedEx: purple and orange
- Starbucks: green and white
- McDonald’s: yellow and red
- Coca-Cola: red and white
- Foundr: black, red, and white
Plenty of other brands use more than three colors, consider Google which uses blue, red, yellow, and green! For your logo, we highly recommend that you keep it simple and stick to two or three colors maximum. Any more and you run the risk of cluttering your logo completely.
The Problem with Colours
Every color has its positive and negative connotations. Remember that logo design is art, and art is subjective. Some people may find the color blue incredibly soothing because it reminds them of the ocean, whereas someone with severe thalassophobia may find the color blue terrifying.
The fact of the matter is, you are never going to be able to choose a color that is universally adored.
We say this time and time again, it’s all subjective, baby!
Below we have listed a rough outline of different colors and their general connotations and uses. This is by no means a complete list, and unfortunately, you will never be able to get one without doing a color survey of the entire population of the planet, but it will help to narrow down what color evokes what in the general sense.
Remember, great design is half the battle when it comes to building a startup!
READ MORE: How to Build a Profitable Marketing Strategy
Yes, white is not technically a color, but it is still used an infinite amount of times in logo creation so please don’t write us angry emails. Broadly speaking, white is associated with sincerity, purity, cleanliness, hygiene, peace, and simplicity.
If we consider white as a color and the connotations associated with it, it can suggest a few things. Aside from purity, hygiene, and cleanliness, in many countries, white is the color of weddings and the bride. However, in Asia, it is traditionally associated with funerals and mourning.
White is used as a contrasting color, either to create negative space in a logo or to compliment the other surrounding colors. FedEx does a great job of using white in their logo, using the white negative space in between two letters to create a sneaky “arrow”. Can you see it?
Silver is the color of sleekness, wealth, grace, and elegance. When used as a color in a logo, silver acts as a great descriptor of everything high-end, industrial, and technology-related. Some jewelry brands used to have silver in their logos, but over time it has become a little dated as the color became more associated with industrial metals rather than fine metals.
The silver details on your logo may be a great way to emphasize the sophistication and the classy side of your brand. No wonder so many car brands use it (Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, and Citroen to name a few). It’s often used for video gaming brands, as the silver suggests weaponry and war.
Yellow usually evokes feelings of optimism, confidence, self-esteem, happiness, and encouragement. It suggests sunshine, summer, and can even evoke feelings of wealth and money. A certain golden color can also make you think of McDonald’s, but that’s just proof of how powerful a logo can be.
Nothing says ‘expensive’ more than gold. It’s the color of wealth, victory, wisdom, royalty, prosperity, glamour, luxury, and prestige. The warmth of gold irradiates everything around it. But don’t get wires crossed when it comes to yellow and gold (pure yellow has a #FFFF00 color code and gold has #FFD700). The golden hues have some red or brown in them, which gives them power that pure yellow doesn’t.
Yellow pops up in many luxury brands for this exact reason. It suggests wealth and prosperity, and that’s why it works so well for luxury brands, finance, food, beauty, and fashion-related companies. The most famous gold logos include Cadbury, Chevrolet, and Warner Bros.
As a duality for yellow, it can also suggest a bargain, something on sale, or even cheap products. This works well for brands like BestBuy, where low prices are their selling point but might not translate well if you want to be high-end. It’s also associated with caution, like with hazard signs and traffic lights.
Orange you glad for the color orange?
Orange is a cheerful, friendly, and enthusiastic color. Orange tends to stir up a little controversy when it comes to logo design. As it’s often used for high-visibility, it can cross the line between eye-catching and eye-sore quite easily. Peachier tones seem to be more popular than heavy dark-orange or red-orange for this reason.
Orange can be a little harsh on the eye if not balanced with a nice neutral color. It’s often used by brands that are looking to promote themselves as fresh, exciting, friendly companies. It’s the perfect color for brands that are looking to promote entertainment (think of Nickelodeon, and Soundcloud), food and beverages (Fanta, Dunkin Donuts), and even more energetic brands like Firefox and Timberland.
In many Asian countries, orange is a color that triggers associations with religion (especially Buddhism and Hinduism).
Universally considered to be representative of romance, red can stir up a lot of emotions. It can represent power, energy, passion, love, and seduction. On the flip side, red can also suggest war, conflict, anger, and stress.
Red is another color that has strong connotations in different cultures. For many, it is representative of romance and love. In Asia, it’s usually the color of weddings. It symbolizes fortune, happiness, and fertility. In some African countries, on the other hand, red is a color of death and mourning.
Using bright red as your logo color is a classic marketing trick. It tends to catch the eye of impulsive shoppers by creating urgency, especially around Valentine’s day.
Red is often paired with white, black, or other neutral shades for brands that are high-energy and powerful. Lots of restaurants and food brands use red, including the most iconic color-combo by Coca-Cola, and is often used in sports (FC Bayern, FC Liverpool, Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bulls), food, transport, and retail.
Pretty in pink!
The color pink has long been associated with femininity, although historically pink was used for boys and blue for girls but that’s a story for another time. It also conjures up feelings of hope and inspiration. It’s a calming, reassuring, and comforting color, which is often associated with childhood or a dreamy, fantasy side of life.
In Japanese culture, pink is a traditional color of spring (it matches the blossoming sakura), and in branding, it tends to pop up for brands that are “sweet” or female-focussed.
As a logo color, pink doesn’t pop up that much but when it does you can see that it’s often for baby brands, desserts, and toys. Unfortunately, the dual nature of pink means that it can often suggest immaturity or playfulness that wouldn’t resonate well for certain industries. For example, a tax accountant may not thrive with a hot pink logo as opposed to another color.
The easiest color on human eyes is green. It’s also the color our eyes are most sensitive to, mainly because we can discern the most shades of the green palette. That’s why green is an international color of relaxation, nature, and peace. Green is all about harmony, rest, equilibrium. In some ways, it’s a color of wealth (it is the color of money, after all).
Green has evolved to be universally associated with the environment and environment-friendly products. Vegetarianism, veganism, and eco-friendly brands use green to signify their values. Next time you are shopping for food, have a look at the health food aisle and see how green the branding is in that aisle.
Despite all that glory, green is too weak for transport or industrial companies, unless they want to associate with the environment.
READ MORE: How to Start a Podcast on a Budget
Blue is the favorite color for marketers and brands the world over. It’s a color of calm, control, logic, honesty, intelligence, security, purity, freedom, and confidence. Its soothing tones help to establish trust-based relations and tend to give the logo a professional and serious vibe.
Blue is an obvious and safe choice for finance, IT, equipment, healthcare, energy, and transport industries. The blue logos look trustworthy and professional and are often used by major corporations like Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Ford, Dell, IBM, Visa, or Samsung. Its positive connotations work perfectly to create a strong image for such companies.
In the wrong context, blue can look a little cold and unfriendly. A bright aqua color can be a little abrasive if not balanced with something a little more neutral, so be wary of overdoing it with this.
“Violet. You’re turning violet, Violet!”
Violet or purple is a traditional color of royalty, luxury, and spirituality. It triggers associations with creativity, extravagance, fantasy, sophistication, mystery, calm, luxury, high quality, and independence.
The great thing about violet is that even a small amount of this color in your logo can make your products look and feel luxurious (especially when violet is combined with gold). Purple is also perfect for any kind of packaging, so you should definitely think of incorporating it into your brand palette. Consider Cadbury as a brand, their purple coloring immediately conjures up feelings of luxury, royalty, and quality chocolate. When you stop and think about it, lots of chocolate brands use purple for this reason.
Like pink, violet is an underappreciated color in modern logo design. Not many companies tend to use it. But those who do often find their place in the sun. Think of Yahoo, Taco Bell, Twitch, Wonka, Viber, Benq.
Brown as a color isn’t everyone’s favorite but it sure does feature in logos.
As the color of earth and wood, brown embodies everything practical, stable, down-to-earth, conservative, and reliable. Brown gives support and comfort. It’s the color of strength, maturity, and safety. Sometimes it can even replace green as a symbol of eco-awareness or organic products.
The most common negative connotations related to this color include dullness, cheapness, inactivity, depression, suffocation, rigidity, and…bathroom related activities. It doesn’t really work for leisure, finance, IT, or beauty brands, unfortunately.
Brown is good for agriculture, food, transport, and family products. Such brands as M&M’s, UGG, Paulig, Hershey’s, A&W made brown their own to communicate their values. UPS is probably the most well-known brown-based logo. The combo of gold and brown is iconic enough that they once had a campaign that just said “what can brown do for you?”
Fifty shades of grey in logos.
Grey is one of the most interesting colors if we’re talking about creating a brand identity. It is associated with professionalism, conservatism, dignity, classics, stability, modesty.
In one aspect, it’s totally neutral and can be a great canvas to start with. On the other hand, grey represents the lack of color and can seem depressing, sad, boring, lifeless, or just plain ordinary.
Still, that “on the fence” feeling grey brings (neither warm nor cold, neither masculine nor feminine) is used by most designers as it’s not as stark as white, and not as clashy as other colors. It subtly illuminates the bright, light shades in the logo and calms down the stronger, darker colors.
Grey in your logo makes a startup look serious, professional, and credible. Just like silver, it has a “hi-tech” feeling to it. Being universal, grey can convey different messages depending on the other colors in the logo (which is good for rebranding).
Different shades of grey are traditionally used for finance, equipment, transport, and IT. Although it isn’t the first choice for food and beverage brands, popular food and drink brands like Nestle and Grey Goose have managed to make grey work, proving the point that there are no super strict rules in logo design.
Another color that is technically a shade and not a standalone-color, we know. But how can we not include this iconic logo shade?
Just as white is known for reflecting the light, black is a color that absorbs light. It’s the symbol of efficiency and sophistication, prestige and power, elegance and luxury, control and protection, mystery and seduction. It is strong, serious, and authoritative, but at the same time can fee depressing, evil, cold, heavy, and pessimistic.
Black is a traditional color of grief and mourning in most countries of Europe, North America, and Africa. No wonder it’s seldom used for healthcare, baby care, family products, food, or finance.
Black is great to emphasize the luxurious side of your brand, make products look more expensive. It has that ‘not for all’ attitude. That’s why black is so popular in the luxury, fashion, IT, and equipment industries. It can be seen on Adidas, Chanel, Schwarzkopf, Nike, Dolce and Gabanna, and WWF logos.
Choosing Your Logo Color
Now it’s time to decide on which color you want to use for your brand. Don’t stress, this is something you’ll lock down over time as your brand develops, but for now, let’s start with the easy stuff.
Logo Colors for Industries
As you can see from the above list, the colors used by brands aren’t exclusive to industries. Chanel and WWF share black and white as their core color scheme, but you won’t see pandas carrying a Chanel clutch on the runway (yet).
Canva, our go-to free graphic design tool, has a great infographic outlining popular colors in industries:
Only use this as a starting point to help guide you.
At Foundr, we suggest beginning with a plain black and white logo and then working with one color at a time to see what works.
If it’s not working, you can add color. Some brands even use different versions of logos depending on the occasion. For example, here at Foundr, we play around with the color on our “r”:
The Color Wheel
If you have one color you like for your logo, play around with a complementary color to really bring it to life. This may be as simple as a black, white, or soft grey as a filler, or something more vibrant.
DecoArt Blog has some great infographics to help with color selection. Let’s start with something we may have all seen in school: the color wheel.
Complementary colors are those that enhance (or compliment) each other. See which color lies across from your chosen color on the wheel. Using these color combinations will make the color pop out. Green boosts red, orange boosts blue, even purple and green work in harmony to bring out the best in each other.
Have a look at the old Firefox logo and see complementary colors in action. The orange and the blue clash wonderfully with each other creating a symphony of logo joy:
An analogous color scheme involves combining three neighboring colors. The way this works is that you choose your “hero” color, and then include the two neighboring colors on the wheel. Analog color schemes are less invasive than complementary schemes, but they do run the risk of being a little bland.
Take a look at the BP logo below. The dominant green color is flanked by another shade of green and yellow.
Using different hues of the same color is referred to as being “monochromatic”. This is great if you’re looking to accentuate the sophistication of your brand. Both Paypal and Oreo rock a monochromatic scheme with its navy blue and sky blue duo.
PayPal and Oreo are not in the same industry at all, but both use the same color scheme to great effect. This just proves time and time again that when it comes to logo design, it’s more an art form than anything. See what works for you.
Color psychology tells us a lot about how our minds work. It can really help to predict an audience’s reaction and build a strong brand identity, but it has no set path and no set boundaries. Your brand can be whatever color you like, and you can always rebrand if it doesn’t work.
What’s your favorite company logo? Really proud of your own? Share your favorite use of color in logos below!
The biggest problem founders and small business owners have is that they’re experts in their field and novices in what it really takes to effectively run a . That’s what usually trips them up, sooner or later.
Don’t let that happen to you. Admit that you don’t know what you don’t know about , starting with these 15 tips guaranteed to help keep you and your company out of hot water. Some are straightforward, others are counterintuitive, but they’re all true. And some day they’ll save your butt.
Always make sure there is and will be enough cash in the bank. Period. The most common business-failure mode, hands down, is running out of cash. If you know you’ve got a cash flow or liquidity problem coming up, fix it now. You can’t fire bad employees fast enough. You just can’t. Just make sure you know they’re the problem, not you ( see next tip ).
The problem is probably you. When I was a young directeur, my company sent us all to a week of quality training where the most important concept we learned was that percent of all problems are management problems. When things aren’t going well, the first place to look for answers is in the mirror.
Take care of your stars. This goes for every company, big and small. The cost of losing a star employee is enormous, yet précurseurs rarely take the time to ensure their top performers are properly motivated, challenged, and compensated. Your people are not your kids, your personal assistants, or your shrink. If you use and abuse them that way, you will come to regret it. Capiche ?
Learn to say ' yes ' and ' no ' a lot. The two most important words owners and founders have at their disposal are “yes” and “no. ” Learn to say them a lot. And that means being decisive. The most important reason to focus – to be clear on what your company does – is to be clear on all the things it doesn’t do.
It boggles my mind how little most créateurs d'entreprise value their customers when, not only are their feedback and input among the most critical information they will ever learn, but their repeat is the easiest business to get. Learn two words : meritocracy and nepotism. The first is how you run an organization – by recognizing, rewarding, and compensating based solely on ability and achievement. The second is how you don’t run an organization – by playing préférés and being biased.
Know when and when not to be transparent. Transparency is as detrimental at some times as it is beneficial at others. There are times to share openly and times to zip it. You need to know when and with whom to do one versus the other. It comes with experience.
Trust your gut. This phrase is often repeated but rarely understood. It means that your own instincts are an extremely valuable decision-making tool. Too often we end up saying in retrospect and with regret, “Damn, I knew that was a bad idea. ” But the key is to know how to access your instincts. Just sit, be quiet, and listen to yourself.
Protect and defend your intellectual property. Most of you don’t know the difference between a copyright, trademark, trade secret, and patent. That’s not acceptable. If you don’t protect and defend your IP, you will lose your only competitive advantage.
Learn to read and write effective agreements. You know the expression “good fences make good neighbors ? ” It’s the same in business. The more effective your agreements are, the better your business relationships will be.
Far too many entrepreneurs run their like an extension of their personal finances. Bad idea. Very bad idea. Construct the right business entity and keep it separate from your personal life. Know your finances inside and out. If you don’t know your revenues, expenses, capital requirements, profits ( gross and net ), debt, cash flow, and effective tax rate – among other things – you’re asking for dysfonctionnement. Big dysfonctionnement.
You don’t know what you don’t know. Humility is a powerful trait for leaders, and that goes for new owners, veteran CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and everyone in between. More times than not, you will come to regret thinking you knew all the answers. Behind every failed company are dysfunctional, delusional, or incompetent précurseurs. The irony is, none of them had the slightest idea that was true at the time. Even sadder, most of them still don’t. Don’t end up like one of them.
For every success you have in growing your market share, another or other businesses will inevitably lose ground. Here are 11 quick and easy business tips to gain a competitive advantage over your rivals and insulate yourself from the threat of new entrants in the market.
Of course, we all want to spark business growth and increase revenue. But the way you do this in a sustainable way is to focus instead on the building of a loyal database of avid fans. Content marketing, paired with optimized website forms and compréhensif mail automation follow-up is critical to success. This approach builds trust by giving away free value before asking for someone’s hard-earned money. Not an spécialiste in creating optimized lead generation pages on a website ? No worries, use a trusted tool like Leadpages to make it happen.
Like it or not, folks out there aren’t searching for your brand, they’re just looking to solve a problem or find a particular type of product ( unless you run Starbucks or Adidas ! ) Don’t list all the benefits your product brings. Focus on the solutions. Explain to the customer in simple, straightforward terms how or why your product can help them or assist in the attainment of their goals. Consider FedEx’s iconic slogan : When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight. This was a clear example of addressing widely-spread anxiety about the reliability of delivery services. Run through some market research to profile your target customer. How does your product or service – and your delivery and and price point – solve other people’s problems and make their lives easier or more pleasurable ?
Dropping prices doesn’t necessarily raise sales, for instance ( though it will definitely squeeze margins ). If you place yourself as a de haute gamme brand, then your customers aren’t necessarily value-driven in the first place, and cutting prices could even tarnish your brand. Consider this case study from Robert Cialdini’s seminal book ‘Influence : The Psychology of Persuasion’ : a jeweller sold out of turquoise jewelry after accidentally doubling, instead of halving, the price. The inflated price tag lent the product an unwarranted cachet ! If you are a premium brand, there are ways to optimize your pricing without lowering prices. For example, offer the quality-conscious customer an ‘exclusive’ benefit that your rivals do not or cannot provide. If you are at the value-driven end of the market, on the other hand, don’t assume slashing prices means incurring a loss. Low pricing can help you rapidly onboard a heap of new customers who may also buy other items in your shop and return again. Context also counts for a lot with pricing. The best way to sell a $5, 000 watch, for instance, could be by putting it next to a $10, 000 watch. Think strategically when it comes to deciding any price point.
Yes, it sounds obvious, but it’s so very important ! Whether consciously or not, people are more likely to buy a product if they like the sales assistant who’s attending to them. While the employee’s personality obviously has no bearing on the price or your product’s ability to serve their needs is irrelevant. Friendly customer-facing équipe will always attract more sales. Be rigorous in hiring people who are genuinely cheerful, friendly and outgoing. Make sure your training program teaches them to adopt a consistently friendly approach that puts customers at ease and feel like a priority.
Say you’re a bricks-and-mortar store and you’re getting a rush of customers as closing time approaches… why not close up an hour later ? While this may cause disgruntlement among équipe, solve this venant by getting creative with rosters. Monitor customer footfall throughout the day and week to identify your busiest periods, and staff people accordingly. You can also reduce headcount during quieter periods to offset the higher costs and longer sérieux hours created by your extended opening hours. It’s a win-win !
Even in the web age, some customers will always prefer to contact you by phone rather than fax or Facebook. While many online companies with tight margins eschew manned phone lines altogether, it’s worth giving customers the option of having a voice-to-voice conversation with your brand. By all means, slash the time and cost spent responding to queries by funnelling customers to standardized, pre-existing responses on your webpage ( i. e., FAQs ). But if their query isn’t listed in the drop-down menu of FAQs, then don’t make them click more than once more to find your phone number. Put it front and center on your digitale page, particularly if you’re a retail offering. ‘Live chat’ bots are an inexpensive way of offering real-time communication, too.
Why not give your happy customers a voucher with their purchase to redeem on your products and services ? If they love what you do already, they’re only going to love you more for this. It’s good for you because : It guarantees they will return to your store again. People hate to waste freebies ! When they return to your store to redeem their voucher, they may buy other items, too. If your operates online, then the freebie could be strategically timed to coincide with a special sale. Oh, and guess what ? Chances are customers who have received vouchers or freebies won’t stay quiet about it either, so you could enjoy some positive buzz on social media.
Local businesses can arguably connect with their unique communities with much greater authority than any global chain. A local retailer, hair mobilier or gardening company can sponsor a kid’s sports team and offer deep discounts for OAPs at the same time. Some cinemas feature special ‘sensory’ screenings where parents can bring kids with autism ( who would normally be overwhelmed by busy, noisy environments ) to enjoy a movie in a relaxed, stress-free atmosphere. This reflects well on them and also guarantees them a loyal customer niche. Whatever you choose to do to support your community, make sure it authentically fits with your brand offering and journey to date.
Social media is a great medium through which to build a solid relationship with customers – just don’t forget what ‘social’ actually means ! Soul-less corporate shop-talk won’t work on Twitter. Try to give your brand some ‘personality’ when you write updates or posts. This can bring its own risks, oui. But if you get it right, the benefits can be très grande. Develop a tone of voice that aligns well with your brand identity. Seek to inform, help, entertain or amuse. And most importantly – given the dire PR consequences – don’t patronize, try too to be funny, or tweet after a few alcoholic drinks !
Sometimes it’s better to be a master of one discipline than a jack of all trades. Admittedly, multiple revenue streams do spread your risk : if one falters, others can take up the slack. Nevertheless, consumers often associate ‘specialists’ with higher quality products or services than generalists. And with good reason, too : specialists typically invest all their resources into perfecting a single product or service. So what should you specialize in ? tera state the obvious, it should be something in which you excel. You could also pick something with rising or recession-proof demand which is resilient to technological change in which you possess a competitive advantage over your rivals or where there’s an obvious gap in your local market. Own it, whatever you do.
Don’t ever get too satisfied with your . You can always improve – and improve you must ! Don’t get me wrong : without the odd moment of smug satisfaction, what’s the point ? Do relish in the successful launch of a game-changing product or take pleasure in positive customer feedback. But don’t let your customers hear you banging on about it time after time ! Be alert to the common element that has led to the downfall of countless hitherto thriving brands : complacency. Imaginative, nimble and innovative start-ups often do better than big market leaders that just got lazy. You may be the disruptive innovator today, but tomorrow you could be the complacent market leader with a tired model. So try to be humble and always strive to improve. Seek inspiration from other créateurs d'entreprise, from books and from seminars. The moment you think ‘mission accomplished’ is the same moment you become vulnerable to being usurped.
There are lots of ways in which you can improve your business, and not all of them are complicated ! Try out the above tips or integrate them with your existing strategies, and let me know how you go in the comments below. Guest Author : Faye Ferris is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Dynamis APAC Pty Ltd offices in Sydney. She develops the DYNAMIS durable of brands and their expansion into the Asia Pacific region as well as BusinessesForSale. com, FranchiseSales. com and PropertySales. com. If you have an interest in partnering up with Faye or advertising on any of these websites in the APAC territories, please do not hesitate to contact her on faye@businessesforsale. com.