The Meaning of Colors in Logos
A lot of attention to detail goes into designing a great logo. From the shape and size to the font to the subject matter of the design, to everything in between, each aspect of a logo is created to draw attention, appeal to potential customers, and convey the brand’s key messages. While each design element of a great logo is equally important in its own right, one especially essential factor in designing a logo is choosing the right colors. One part art and one part science, choosing colors that will effectively convey the desired meaning requires both a discerning eye and an in-depth understanding of the meaning of colors in logos.
Common Colors and their Meanings
Studies have shown that people have strong associations with colors. Viewing different colors can elicit certain emotions, making it important to consider what meaning and emotion is being conveyed with each color you choose. To get a better grasp of what each color conveys, here are some of the most common colors and their meanings:
Red is a color that is associated with passion, danger, strength, and power. It is one of the most emotionally charged colors and has even been shown to increase the respiration rate and raise the blood pressure of someone viewing it. Red commands attention and also evokes feelings of romance and desire. It is often used in logos that are meant to convey desire, adventure, high energy, and just a touch of danger.
Orange shares much of the same meaning as red, but is a little bit more subtle. It still manages to draw a lot of attention without such high associations with danger and aggression. Being a citrus color, orange is also shown to stimulate appetite. It is also a playful color that appeals well to a younger audience. Because of this, orange is most often used in logos that market food and toys.
Blue is a deep, calming color, conveying thoughtfulness, serenity, and wisdom. Studies have shown that viewing the color blue slows human metabolism and relieves stress. Blue is often used in logos for brands that market purity and cleanliness. Blue also has a very cerebral association and is often used to promote brands in the technology industry.
Yellow is a bright, energetic color associated with joy and lightheartedness. This color stimulates mental activity and arouses cheerfulness. When combined with black though (the color pattern of bees, hornets, and warning signs) it can convey fear and danger. On its own, though, it is effectively used in logos which promote children’s products and leisure products.
Green is the color most associated with nature. Logos using a large degree of green convey freshness, growth, and harmony. As opposed to red, green is the color used to signal safety. It has also been shown to be the color that is easiest on the eye. Green is a color commonly seen in promoting medical products as it coveys healing, naturalness, and safety. Thanks to its deep association with nature, green is also often the primary color seen in all-natural and eco-friendly brands. Lastly, a duller, darker green is associated with money and is often used in the logos of financial institutions.
Purple is the color of royalty and conveys wealth, luxury, and power. Containing elements of both blue and red, purple is associated with the calmness and wisdom of blue and the power and strength of red. According to multiple surveys, 75% of children prefer purple to any other color. Purple is also seen as a feminine color. Thanks to all of these aspects, purple is often used in logos that promote children’s products, products marketed towards women, and some luxury items.
White is the color of innocence, goodness, and purity. It has a positive connotation and, like green, can be used to signal safety. In logo design, white is most often used to convey cleanliness and purity. Charitable organizations and hospitals often use white in their logos. White can also be used to convey simplicity, and high-tech companies sometimes use the color in their logos to reduce the perceived complexity of their products. Lastly, the associations with safety make white a good choice for pharmaceutical brands and other companies who may place importance on conveying health and safety.
Black is associated with power, formality, elegance, and death. It is a mysterious color that is often used to convey the unknown. While it often has a negative connotation, black does signal strength, authority, and prestige. While it is often used on its own, black is usually most effective in logs when combined with other colors. It contrasts well with bright colors, and when used with colors such as red and orange it can convey a very aggressive message. Black also mixes well with white to create a classic that conveys sophistication and class. While black is a color used by a wide variety of companies in their logos, it is most commonly seen in luxury brands.
If there’s one important takeaway from all this info it’s that the colors chosen by large companies in their logos are rarely chosen by accident. The colors used in your logo are essential in broadcasting your desired message and branding your company as one that will be most appealing to its target audience. Fortunately, good designers know the importance of choosing the right colors, and they put a lot of effort into picking colors and color combinations that will not only be visually appealing but will also convey the desired message of your brand.
The meaning of colors in logos isn’t an exact science, and while there are a lot of studies showing how we perceive certain colors, choosing the right ones for any given logo is just as much an art as anything else. Nevertheless, colors do have meaning, and picking the right ones for your logo is definitely something you and the artist you work with should thoroughly consider.