Choosing a colour scheme for your business.
We are highly responsive to colours, colour is one of the major defining factors in that statement. On both a conscious and subconscious level, colours convey meaning – not only in the natural world, but also within the artifice of our culture. Graphic designers need to harness the power of colour psychology to bring resonance to their designs – and in no field is this more important than that of logo design.
What different Colours Mean
Every colour, including black and white, has implications for logo design. As a designers you need to pick your colours carefully to enhance specific elements of the logo and bring nuance to your message with the use of shade and tone.
In general terms, bright and bold colours are attention-grabbing, but can appear brash. Muted tones convey a more sophisticated image, but run the risk of being overlooked. More specifically, particular meanings are ascribed to different colours in society…
What blue Means: Blue is one of the most widely used colours in corporate logos. It implies professionalism, serious mindedness, integrity, sincerity and calm. Blue is also associated with authority and success, for this reason is popular with both financial institutions and government bodies. Trusted. Conservative. Dependable. Honesty. Calm. Secure. Cool.
Notable: Most popular corporate colour. Used frequently for online businesses & financial institutions. Masculine colour.
What Black means: Black is a colour with a split personality. On the one hand it implies power and sophistication, but on the other hand it is associated with villainy and death. More mundanely, most logos will need a black and white version for use in media in which colour is not available –there is currently a trend for bold monochrome logos and word marks. Sophisticated. Luxurious. Formal. Style. Elegance. Expensive. Authoritative.
Notable: Black is used by “high-end” brands as main or paired with another colour. Black is somber and serious. Most logos are actually designed in black & white first.
What Red Means: Red implies passion, energy, danger or aggression; warmth and heat. It has also been found to stimulate appetite, which explains why it is used in so many restaurants and food product logos. Choosing red for your logo can make it feel more dynamic. Bold. Passion. Strength. Attention. Love. Exciting. Action. Aggressive.
Notable: Red works equally well on black and white backgrounds. Can mean stop, danger and hot. An exclamation colour. Pinks (tints of red) are generally considered feminine colours.
What Yellow Means: Yellow requires cautious use as it has some negative connotations including its signifying of cowardice and its use in warning signs. However it is sunny, warm, friendly and is another colour that is believed to stimulate appetite. Logical. Optimistic. Progressive. Confident. Playful. Creative.
Notable: Yellow is (generally) too bright a colour to stand on its own and will require a secondary outline, background or bordering colour. Universal caution colour. Represents clarity.
What Orange Means: Orange is often seen as the colour of innovation and modern thinking. It also carries connotations of youth, fun, affordability and approachability. Happy. Energetic. Sociable. Friendly. Affordable. Enthusiastic. Sunny.
Notable: Orange is thought to stimulate appetite. Orange is used in some warning labels. Used frequently in retail. Often a “call to action.”
What Green Means: Green is commonly used when a company wishes to emphasise their natural and ethical credentials, especially with such products as organic and vegetarian foods. Other meanings ascribed to it include growth and freshness, it’s popular with financial products too. Nature. Wealth. Fresh. Life. Harmony. Environment. Growth. New.
Notable: Green means “go.” Used frequently to represent eco-friendly companies and products. Thought to be a calming colour
What Purple Means: Purple speaks to us of royalty and luxury. It has long been associated with the church, implying wisdom and dignity, throughout history it has been the colour of wealth and riches. Royalty. Mystery. Pomp. Ceremony. Creative. Unique. Majesty.
Notable: Once the most expensive colour to reproduce (it was made from hard-to-find sea weed) purple is often viewed as “elitist.” Appeals to children and often used in candy and toy packaging.
What rainbow colours mean: Fun. Easy-going. Child-like. Internet. Multi-disciplinary. Authority.
Notable: Multi-coloured and “rainbow” coloured logos are a relatively new phenomenon due to the web and more economical four colour printing. Represents a colour-branding challenge.