Logos are the face of a brand! Logos are memorable and have the ability to set your brand apart from the crowd. I will explore ‘The Best Color Combinations for Logos’ in this blog which will allow your brand to put the best “face” forward!
Imagine you wake up one fine day and find out that the world has suddenly turned grey! How would life be? Dull – right? Yes, absolutely! No one wants to imagine a colorless world. That is the impact color has on our mind. Colors add life and joy and make the world a better place to live.
What is color psychology?
Color psychology enables one to understand human behavior. It also reveals how people’s decisions are influenced by various colors when they buy various products. Does the color of an icon prompt us to click on it? Does the color of a dress or a package compel us to choose one brand over the other? The answer to all the above questions is a short yes. But why do we choose one color over the other? That question, my friends, is a bit tricky. A combination of gender, location and variety of other factors prompt us to choose certain colors over others.
Are logo colors all that important?
Yes without a trace of a doubt! Why do you think brands and design companies spend sleepless nights contemplating over the best colors for their brand?
Just like colors, shapes too have various meanings. The combination of varied shapes and colors evoke various emotions. Designers around the world are aware of the fact and use it intelligently to get the best results.
Quick tip: The colors you choose for your brand’s visual identity should be in line with the products and services your company provides.
Color terms you should know
Here is a list of important color terms that will not only help you understand this article but will serve as a guide when you decide to brand and market your own company.
Hue and Color: Color is a broad term used to define everything from hue, tint, shades and tones. Hue is a specific color on the color wheel. E.g. Green is a hue but emerald is a shade. Red is a hue while pink is a tint.
Tints: When white is added to a hue, it turns lighter making it a tint. E.g. White added to red creates pink.
Shades: Exactly the opposite of tint, when black is added to a hue the resulting color is a shade.
Tones: Tones are achieved when grey is added to a hue.
Primary Colors: Red, blue and yellow are the only primary colors.
Secondary Colors: combining any of the two primary colors results in the formation of a secondary color. Red + Yellow = Orange, Red + Blue = Purple, Yellow + Blue = Green.
Tertiary Colors: These kinds of colors are achieved when equal amounts of a primary and a secondary color that are close to each other in the color wheel are mixed.
Let’s take a closer look at logo colors
How do you feel when you look at yellow? You feel lively and energetic! Blue makes you feel calm and composed. Yes, colors have the power to evoke various emotions within us. Let us take a look at some colors and how they emotionally impact us:
Red is associated with love, passion, excitement and confidence. The color also has a negative side as it is associated with fury, revenge and danger.
One of the most eye-catchy colors, yellow is associated with energy, light and self-confidence. However, like red, yellow sometimes is associated with frustration and anger.
A combination of primary colors yellow and red, orange evokes the feeling of enthusiasm, warmth and excitement.
One of the most peaceful colors, blue is associated with spiritual growth. Blue also evokes the feelings of stability and trustworthiness.
Associated with nature and fulfillment, green evokes feelings of good health and good luck. The color is also associated with soothing and calm feelings.
Another spiritual color, purple is said to generate the feelings of truth, honesty, royalty and luxury.
The color brown is associated with earth and the natural world. The emotions that the color generates are reliability, warmth, earthiness and nature.
Considered to be an emotional less color, grey is generated when black is added to white. The color communicates sophistication and formality
Associated with glamour and sophistication, black is not accepted as a color in the scientific world. The absence of light creates the color. Black is also associated with coldness and death.
If black is the absence of light and color, white is the container of all the wavelengths of light. The color is associated with simplicity and purity but can also depict coldness like the color black.
Pink is often associated with femininity and is said to evoke the feelings of love, softness, kindness and compassion.
Types of color combinations
Color wheel is truly your best friend when working with colors for a logo. Understanding how colors interact with each other is the key to successful design. Here are three ways colors may be combined; but, of course you can always experiment!
1. Complimentary color combinations
These are the colors that sit exactly opposite to each other on the color wheel. The opposite colors make some of the most impactful logos.
2. Analogous color combinations
These are 2-5 colors that can be found beside each other on the color wheel. These colors generate a feeling of harmony.
3. Triadic color combinations
You just need to draw a triangle on the color wheel and you will find the three colors. These three colors are generally very dynamic and eye-catchy. If you are looking for a dynamic three-color palette, you can begin by drawing triangles on the color wheel.
Our readers also liked: Logo shapes and their meaning
Top 10 Best color combinations for logos
1. Yellow and red
The outstanding color combination of yellow and white immediately catches the attention of the audience. The amazing combination of passion and energy oozes beauty. The Macdonald’s logo is an example of a minimalist logo which very easily gathers the attention of people. Yellow arches in the red backdrop create a sense of playfulness and energy.
2. Black and yellow
Black and yellow put together in a logo creates a very energetic contrast. Black represents authority, judgment and the conflict between right and wrong, whereas yellow portrays optimism, joy and happiness. The Nirvana logo combines the two colors very interestingly with a smiley which adds another dimension to their visual identity.
3. Blue and green
Blue and green when combined can result in an interesting looking logo. Blue represents calmness and reliability and green symbolizes nature. When the two are combined it evokes the feeling being refreshed in a very natural way. The Sprite insignia is a prime example of a blue and green logo. The blue and green combination goes very well for the beverage brand that wants to focus solely on feeling refreshed without trying too hard! WOW! Feeling refreshed without trying too hard sounds like a great one-liner for an ad campaign.
4. Navy blue and yellow
The combination of blue and yellow evokes a sense of reliability and trust. The Expedia logo is sleek and presents a comfortable feel while viewing their services online. The online travel-agency logo inspires trust in people while booking their trips online. Blue adds the element of professionalism and reliability and yellow adds a joyful feeling: perfect for an online travel company.
5. Pink and white
Pink is associated with femininity, love and kindness, while white portrays purity. The combination of the two may evoke various emotions such as calmness, joy and love; however, the combination of pink and white has been used very interestingly in the Pink Panther logo. The Pink Panther logo evokes the feeling of fun and joy with a touch of humor: truly a remarkable logo.
6. Red and black
Red and black are two very powerful colors that portray varied emotions. When combined, they can exhibit a unique personality. The red and black colors in the KFC logo are extremely welcoming and evoke a sense of hospitality: perfect for a fast-food brand.
7. Red and white
The combination of red and white can be extremely appealing. The Coca-Cola logo has beautifully used the combination to portray youth, purity and optimism. The Coca-Cola insignia is one of the most iconic logos on the planet. The idea behind a logo is to stand out from the crowd while telling the brand’s story in a matter of seconds and the Coca-Cola logo truly does that.
8. Blue, white and red
Red white and blue are three extreme colors that can have a magical effect when combined in a logo. The Pepsi logo, just like the Coca-Cola insignia, has one of the most iconic visual identities in the world. The combination of red, white and blue looks amazing especially due to the “smile effect”.
9. Orange and blue
The blue and orange color duo is perfect for the IT and banking sector. You can use this color combination to evoke the feeling of professionalism with a touch of fun. Mozilla Firefox has used the combination creatively in their logo.
10. Black and white
The classic black and white is probably one of the best selections you can make for the visual identity of your company. The combination of the two might sound boring to many but it can be the best choice you make for your brand. From Chanel to Nike and from Adidas to Prada, all have stuck to this classic color combination.
There are so many colors to choose from while designing your logo. Experiment with colors as much as you want to. I have only shared the color combinations that some of the biggest brands in the world have successfully used, but that should not stop you from experimenting. Experiment with lipstick red and white or teal and coral. Yellow and electric-purple could be a killer combination while charcoal grey and taupe could be slick. Use the one that perfectly tells your brand story. At the end of the day, all colors are great, colors make life beautiful!
Besides having grown up in the design Industry, Christiaan has advised some of the world’s largest companies on their branding & packaging designs. Has been the resident judge for design awards, and has spoken at numerous global design & marketing events. Christiaan founded the London office of the award-winning Cartils agency, and has founded the DesignBro.com platform.