We humans are very responsive to visual input, and color is one of the main components of visual stimuli for most people. Colors convey meaning on the conscious as well as subconscious levels, and this can have a range of effects upon opinion and behavior. Because of this, business owners and graphic designers should be aware of the meaning and impact of color when choosing a logo design color scheme.
Color responses are based upon a variety of sources and mechanisms, from primitive brain and nervous system functioning to more recent cultural associations. An understanding of the most universal color meanings and responses can assist you in creating the ideal business logo for what your organization is trying to convey and accomplish.
The following are some important factors and color meanings to consider when selecting logo colors:
Warm colors. Inviting, stimulating, activate the appetite, cause excitement and kinesthetic body sensations.
Cool colors. Have a sedating, settling and subduing effect; are more serious.
Bright, saturated colors. Grab attention, but could seem garish or over-eager.
Muted colors. More sophisticated, but have a risk of not being noticed.
Specific Color Meanings in Logos:
Passion, vibrancy, power, energy, and possible aggression/danger; red stimulates excitement and the appetite, and is ideal for restaurant or snack food logos.
Has traditionally had feminine associations, and is most often used for businesses that market to women or girls.
Conveys a positive, trustworthy, friendly energy.
This is a sunny, positive, warm and upbeat color, but may not be taken seriously. Best when used with other colors.
Medium to light shades of warm (yellow-tinged) green are often associated with natural, organic or eco-friendly products. Deeper, darker, cooler greens are often associated with banks, financial companies or related organizations.
The color blue conveys professionalism, expertise and integrity. Darker blues heighten this sense of authority, while medium to light blues give an aura of sincerity and peace. Dark blues are ideal for corporate or government logos, and medium to light blues might be ideal for a healthcare business, educational institution or products related to children.
The color purple or violet conveys feelings of luxury, royalty, wealth and opulence. Deeper, cooler purples heighten this sense of dignity and tradition, while medium and lighter purples can convey a more new-age or spiritual essence.
The color brown and related earth tones have a pleasant, grounding effect. Brown is warm, trustworthy and down to earth. Darker shades are more masculine, while medium to lighter shades can be ideal for companies that sell hiking or outdoor products.
White conjures up associations of purity, simplicity and cleanliness. However, it is most effective when used intelligently as an accent color along with carefully chosen logo colors.
The color black can convey power and mastery, but it is also associated with darker themes. Used well, it can have great impact, and there is a big trend now for bold, basic logos with black text and design elements.
Color meanings can vary around the world, so if your business will be marketing worldwide, research about cultural considerations should be factored in. For example, while red is a lucky color in Chinese culture, it signifies mourning in India.
Each and every color in a logo has implications for emotional impact and brand associations. Logo colors should be selected intelligently based upon intended influence and audience of the product or service. Hue, tone, shade and even the presence of black and white all convey a message. If multiple colors are used, the interplay and visual effect should be carefully considered.