The importance of the right colour in your logo

The importance of the right colour in your logo

Before I start designing a logo, I ask the client several questions regarding style and colour. Especially the colour can be tricky, but one of the most important steps in creating your logo and corporate identity. Have you ever wondered why Coca-Cola is red, or why Philips is blue? And what about Mcdonalds’ strong colours red and yellow?

 

Most people see colour. However, not everyone sees the same colours. Why that is? That’s a whole other ball game which I’ll leave to the experts. What I can tell you, is that choosing a colour for your logo can be quite difficult. Just take a moment and think about what you want the logo to portray to your audience. What feelings or emotions should it conjure up when people see it? Not forgetting your personal preference for colours, because in the end, you are the one who must love the logo, and when you don’t, you won’t present it with pride.

The colour of your logo influences others

We associate colours with emotions. It doesn’t just influence how we process information; it also influences our behaviour. So where to start? As there are so many colours it’s quite hard to decide. In addition to all the colours of the rainbow, you also have warm and cold colours. Warm colours are red, orange, or yellow as they have an uplifting effect on our behaviour. And this results in what we call cheerfulness. In addition, red and yellow together provide a stimulating and powerful action, we go into action when we see these colours together. Hence Mcdonalds using them in their identity. Cold colours have a relaxing effect. Just think of what blue and green conjure up in you when you look at these colours.

So how to choose a colour that suits you?

Often it doesn’t have to be that difficult to choose a colour. You can think of the moment you started painting your living room or buying a new couch. When it comes to choosing a colour you tend to ‘feel’ what suits you best. At least that’s how it works for me. When picking a paint colour you probably went to the hardware store first, picked up a few colour samples, and checked them in daylight to see what would suit you best. Or maybe you already knew what colour to go for.

When you have no idea where to start, you can ask yourself a few questions.

1. Which colour suits my corporate identity best?
2. Which colour translates my company’s core values the best way?

And sometimes you just have to pick a colour and ask the designer if she can come up with other suggestions.

I have loads of examples where the client picks a colour because it’s their favourite, or they think they want green but end up with purple. One example was for a logo where the client wanted red as it was her favourite colour. Once seeing the logo she realised that it was too harsh and conjured up the wrong emotion she felt suited her company. We ended up changing it to turquoise. So don’t worry, the colour can always change once you see the end result.

Did you know that every colour has a meaning?

As colour evokes an emotion in us, it’s good to look at what colour does for you. One way to do this is to look at a colour and see what emotions come up. Take red, what do you feel? And now look at brown or green. Just looking around you and sensing the emotion, will help you in selecting a colour that suits you and your company.

Another way to choose your colour is to look at your company’s core values. As colour brings up emotions and these emotions are words, we can reverse the technique by looking up the core value and seeing which colour is connected to that. So write down your core values in order of importance and look in the list below to see which colour goes with that word.

I can’t choose

Logos are also often made up of multiple colours. Gray is often used as the underlying colour because it is not a very meaningful colour, but it enhances the other colour enormously. It may also be that next to blue, red is high on your list. As these two colours conjure up quite a lot of the emotions we want to associate with a company, they also portray important core values. Red attracts attention and is powerful and blue brings tranquillity, loyalty and success.

When developing the corporate identity, we also talk about secondary colours. These are added to support the main colour of your identity in the overall picture. So don’t worry when you love a colour that’s not used in your logo, it can always be incorporated into the corporate identity. Do make sure the colours complement each other or the effect will be the opposite of what you expect.

In the end, each colour family has hundreds of thousands of variants (hues, gradations, mixes) so that you don’t have to think of fire truck red when you think of red. This can also be a warm shade or lean towards brown/purple giving it the power of red but not immediately being associated with Coca-Cola.

Compare your core values with the colours below and create your colour palette for your corporate identity.

Red

Attracts attention and is powerful
Energy, passion, strength, romance, warmth, speed, desire, leadership

Orange

Enthusiastic, young and attracts attention
Joy, enthusiasm, youthfulness, friendly, success, creativity

Yellow

Happy and fun
Light, sunny, curious, hope, summer, warning, cooperation, logic

Pink

Brings warmth
Love, friendship, femininity, sweetness, trust, peace

Green

Soothing and refreshing
Nature, growth, prosperity, reflection, balance, sustainability, pure, healing

Purple

Luxury, wealth and spirituality
Luxury, elegance, conviction, spirituality, mystery, self-confidence, wisdom, ambition, wealth

Blue

Brings tranquillity, loyalty and success
Prosperity, calmness, security, dedication, stability, reliability, friendship

Black

Chic and stylish
Style, quality, strong, elegant, wealth, power, prestige, sadness

White

Peace and purity
Peace, spirituality, pure, innocent, honest, innovative, holy, positive

Brown

Convenience, comfort but also stability
Comfort, simplicity, intimate, masculine, sensual, powerful, stability

Gray

Intelligence, practical and solid
A nice colour to enhance the colour next to it. Gray works well next to another colour and not so much on its own.

Hint!

Picking colours can be tricky and overwhelming, so book a Style Scan and I’ll guide you in choosing the correct colour for your current or new logo and branding.

Booking Style Scan?