Use of Colour in your logo - how important is it?
7th August 2010
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What are the best colours for a logo? Are there colours to avoid?
Your Branding
and therefore your logo is a significantly important part of your marketing.  

A great logo will state or show exactly  who or what your company is and does without the need for elaboration.  Clever, innovative design requires true creative ability and there are few Graphic designers with such flair so when researching do ask to look at the work they have done.  Alternatively look at the logos that you consider really work and investigate as to who has created them. 
However the question asked is what are the best colours for a logo?

David Murray of Acid Fox is an experienced and very innovative graphic designer and this is what he has to say: “It's a tricky one, it depends on the nature of the business and what you are trying to portray, .. as long as you go for colours that compliment each other and don't clash it'll be fine. Also try not to go overboard and use too many colours, as it'll be too much. Personally when I design a brand, I try and stay away from yellow as I feel that this doesn't show very well when produced on white paper, it also can be quite garish to look at, unless it is used correctly”

Colours are an emotive and subjective and different colours mean different things to different people.  However the most corporate colours are generally blue.  But the tone can be important in getting the right message across – too light and bright might not be right for the City but fabulous for a place by the sea. Hate to mention the banks but Barclays is very corporate with dark blue fading to a lighter tone with mixed with grey.  HSBC is bold and confident in its red livery and Lloyds is green which supposedly promotes trust but also has the black horse which shows strength and sobriety The City generally would respond more favourably to darker hues.
Green is considered safe and trustworthy and often used by Eco companies.  Red is bold and noticeable – make sure the colour is used wisely.  LBS builders Merchants work with it very well and everyone notices their lorries which shows it is working!  But red will not work for every business.

In brief consider the following:
People react in different ways to colours
Most colours invoke both a positive and negative response in most people so consider the consumer you wish to attract. i.e Pink is often considered girly. Brown is safe and trusting but also boring, Purple is rich and royal so could be elitist, Red is bold and confident but also pushy and hard. Yellow can be sunny and bright so maybe not serious and often garish. Green is considered safe and environmental but can also in the right tone be considered very trustworthy, could be good for financial services.  Blue is considered the most corporate but beware of the tone.  Darker Blue such as navy is thought to be cool and serious.
Consider the tone of the colour – it can make a difference, i.e Dark green versus lime green.  Some orangey browns will evoke one response where a mushroom brown another.  Mixing colours can be very good but don't over do it. Copywriter Juliet Fay has recently rebranded and it is a very cleverly constructed logo.  Her name is her brand but includes a pen nib (Juliet writes!) but the chosen colours are brown and red – safe and trustworthy and the dark red shows confidence.   If it had been too bright it might have been considered too flamboyant. Juliet predominately writes for rural businesses so the red and brown reflects earthiness, whereas if it had been in blues it probably would have been too corporate and not have appealed to the rural businesses which are her target market.  Telemat IT Support has chosen purple for its colour with a watermark of @ which is synonymous with IT
Ludo’s, a gastro pub new logo does just what it says.  The sharpness of the logo also indicates a contemporary modern feel.  Interestingly there is little colour, just dark grey and white but it stands up, is simply constructed and does what it shows!  Barri Davies Electrical’s new logo is a great design – although the word electrical is there the graphic used shows immediately it is to do with electrics.  The colours are well chosen too, Light Blue for Electrical – which is approachable and friendly  and a muted purple (not elitist but best!)  Bevan's Chimney Sweep shows exactly what he does without the need for words and the grey and black are just right.  Apex Cleaning gives the impression of sparkling corporate cleanliness together with the use of green gives the impression of eco friendly.

Top four Tips
1. Research your target market – what type of logos do your competitors have?  Do they work and can you create a better logo?
2. Collate logos that say what they do in a graphic with few words and research who created them.
3. Consider how your target market will react to the colours you choose and select accordingly.
4. Consider where your logo is to be placed. It might be that you need you logo for different marketing initiatives and the format and size could change. Website, Leaflet drops, Internet directories, brochures, stationery etc

If you have experience in colour and would like to add comments please share below:-

About the Author

Diana V

Member since: 10th July 2012

I am Diana Vickers, the site owner of thebestof Cardigan & Teifi Valley, which supports the very best of the area’s businesses with their promotions and marketing. The site is soon coming up to its fifth...

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