The Image GroupThe Image Group

By Adam Norman

What do the colors in your logo mean, and how does it color the perception of your brand?  When designing a new logo or creating a brand for your business or organization, color plays a key role in how people will perceive your identity.

Research shows the colors we see affect our mood how we interact with a given brand.  Choosing the right colors for your logo and brand can have significant impact on how your brand is perceived and, ultimately, how successful it is.

Here is a quick primer on colors and how they are viewed:

  • Red:  Red is a power color that represents strength and decision.  It is often used to generate impulse purchases and stimulate appetite.  Examples of business with red in their logo are McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, Target and Netflix.
  • Yellow:  Yellow is associated with stimulating feelings of optimism and hope, and is an attention getting color.  Organizations such as Best Buy, Sprint, Ikea and UPS use yellow to drive their business.
  • Blue: Trust, security, order, dependability, and cleanliness are all feelings sparked by the color blue.  Longstanding businesses such as Ford, Lowe’s, General Electric, Faacebook, American Express and Pepsi associate blue as a dominant color in their brands.
  • Orange:  Orange creates a call to action. Much like red, orange is associated with impulse purchases.  Brands such as Amazon, Payless Shoes, Harley-Davidson and Discover use orange in their logos.
  • Green:  Green is also a calming color, and one associated with wealth, growth, health, and stability.  Starbucks, John Deere, Land Rover, Tropicana, and Girl Scouts are some examples.
  • Purple:  Purple is perceived to represent imagination and wisdom, and is considered a calming tone.  That’s why brand such as Yahoo, Hallmark, Crown Royal, and Taco Bell use purple to define their brands.
  • Black and White:   Many companies have black and white versions of their logos, but some use them as the core colors.  Black inspires feelings of power, while white represents peace and prosperity.  Black and white can also display elegance and precision.  Examples of successful companies that utilize black and white are Apple, Nike, Disney, and Lexus.

Another key factor in how color plays a role in the perception of your brand is the perceived appropriateness of the colors – do the colors “fit” what is being sold?  Heinz has been known for over 100 years for their ketchup.  If Heinz used purple to promote their fresh tomato ketchup it would create a disconnect.  Instead, Heinz uses red as their primary logo color, presenting a pleasing image of tomato freshness.

No matter what color scheme you choose for your brand, keep in mind these key points when creating a new logo.  Keep your logo simple – if it is too complex and detailed the meaning can get lost.  When using multiple colors in a logo, plan to create a simplified version that can be printed in one color.  To successfully build your brand you will need to present your logo in a number of different ways, and via a multitude of medium.  Your logo that looks great on a large billboard should look just as clean when printed on the barrel of a pen.

Whatever colors build your identity stick to them.  Our brains prefer recognizable brands, which makes consistent use of your logo and colors key to the success of your identity.
Coloring Your Brand