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Logo Design And The Psychology Of Color

  • Color can be as powerful of an element in your branding as the shape of the logo itself.
  • People respond to color on an emotional level, but there’s an exact science to pleasing color combinations.
  • As important as it is to be familiar with your industry color trends, you should also never discount thinking outside the standard guidelines.

When designing a new logo, the element of color is as important, if not more, than the shape. In fact, play it right, and your audience will recognize your brand from the color alone. That’s because the psychology of color goes beyond just recognition, but actually extends to human emotions and mood.

That’s is why choosing the right combination of colors for your logo is so crucial. Luckily, there are proven guidelines that you can use to increase your chances at getting just the right color combination for your logo design and branding. Let’s take a look at what they are.

Colors Can Be Used to Influence Mood and Emotions

The way you use colors in your logo goes beyond just aesthetics, it also communicates a feeling to your audience when they view it. For instance, warmer colors, such as red, orange or yellow, tend to have an uplifting effect on the mood of the viewer, while cool colors on the opposite end of the spectrum tend to have more of a soothing and relaxing effect.

This is an incredibly powerful tool of communication if used well, but can be disastrous for those who miss the mark. When selecting a color, make sure you consider the tone and personality of your brand as well as the target consumer.

Foolproof Ways to Select Winning Color Combinations

When Sir Isaac Newton came up with the Color Theory, he developed a way of combining colors in the most pleasing way possible. The theory centers around a color wheel, made up of 12 colors: three primary, three secondary, and six tertiary made from combining the former six colors.

Based on a color wheel, you can find complementary colors by selecting the opposite color on the wheel, or analogous colors by selecting colors that appear next to each another on the wheel. You can even go as far as to select a triadic, split complementary, or tetradic color combinations by either drawing an even triangle, an isosceles triangle, or a rectangle on the color wheel, respectively.

By using these simple guidelines, you can come up with a potentially endless list of combinations that are pleasing to the eye of the viewer.

Tempering Color Wheel Combinations

It may take a bit of experimentation and finesse to achieve the right balance between your color combinations. Even if you select according to the color wheel, you can end up with a mixture of competing colors if you don’t apply some moderation.

In many cases it can help to select a color that you wish to be dominant among the rest, and use the others as smaller accents in your logo design. This is especially the case with complementary and triadic color schemes.

The Standing Power of Black and White

Though there are so many potential color combinations, it never hurts to keep the trusted black and white option open. When it comes to timeless, monochromatic logos, black and white gives you the kind of contrast and classic feel that no other colors can match.

You may also need to design a second, black and white version of your logo for certain modes of communication, so factor that into the initial design process to save yourself some time down the line.

Know When to Follow or Buck the Industry Standards

If you pay close attention, you’ll learn that every industry has an overarching color scheme, such as blue for the financial sector, or green for the health. Knowing what your industry standards are can be useful when designing your logo, but it’s equally important to consider going against the grain to garner more attention for your brand.

For example, you might get an added boost in visibility if you’re the only orange logo in a sea of pale blue. When it comes to industry standards, know what they are so you can choose to strategically break them should it be to your advantage.

Final Thoughts

The right color combination can make of break your logo’s chances of success, so we hope this overview of the psychology behind color can be helpful in your quest. When making the selection, remember to play to your audience’s emotion and make use of predetermined color combinations to enhance your design.

If you don’t achieve the right balance right away, don’t be afraid to experiment and tweak the levels. In fact, you should also do so to make sure your logo looks equally good in black and white as well as color. Finally, keep in mind your industry trends, but be strategic in whether you play into or against them for added impact.


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