The Logo Rainbow: Applying Color Theory To Logo Design

There are literally millions of logos around the world in every color imaginable, but have you ever wondered WHY certain brands choose certain colors? As consumers, we don’t always realize what each color means to us and how it affects our emotions. But top brands are in on the secrets of color theory and are using it to their advantage to break through the clutter and stand out from their competitors. If you're looking to create a great logo design, start by reading up on the emotions that go along with these specific colors:


The color red is notable for its physical effect on the human body. It often causes us to have an increased heart rate and raises our excitement and energy. It is also a color of urgency and demands the viewer's attention. It is beneficial for brands in a competitive market to use red because of its aggressive nature when placed next to other colors.


This color is seen as youthful/childlike and is often used for messages that are NOT serious. Many people either love or hate orange because it can be such a “loud” color and can easily come off as cheap.  It does tend to heighten our appetites which makes it the perfect choice for a restaurant to use in their logo.


Yellow is considered a mellow color that is highly reflective. It is seen as something with high energy that generates creativity. Although the color gives off a feeling of enlightenment when shaded to close to green, it leaves an acid feeling in consumers minds that is highly unfavorable. Yellow is good to use if you are trying to get consumers’ attention fast because the eye is immediately drawn to it.


The color green is most often linked with nature in the minds of consumers. Different shades of green invoke the feeling of being refreshed. The darker the shade, the closer it is linked with wealth and security. Many institutional establishments use green because of its trustworthy nature. Just like the color yellow, the use of green must be done cautiously because if it contains too much of a yellow tint, adults tend to stray from it.


Blue is the most favorable color of all because of its dependability. People normally view blue as reliable and constant in their everyday lives. It is considered non-gender specific, so it attracts both men and women. Darker shades of blue create authority and credibility for businesses that use it. If you are trying to attract a wide range of consumers, blue is a great choice because of its wide acceptance.


Purple definitely gives off a higher quality feeling to consumers. Even though purple is made by combining two of the most popular colors (red and blue), it lacks the demand for attention that its parent hues have. Purple is rarely used in logos and packaging because of uniqueness of its tone. Personally, I also consider it more of a gender-specific color which does not work for more generalized products.


This color is very energetic and is commonly seen on products directed at women, such as cosmetics or lingerie. Similar to orange, using the color pink can easily cheapen a product and it does have a connotation attaching it to little girls. Just like red, however, it demands attention which makes it a good choice for in-store displays if it is relevant to the product.


The color brown is stable and reliable in the eyes of consumers. It is very connected with the earth and nature. It is most commonly used in interior design as a neutral balance, but is sometimes controversial in fashion because of its association with dirt. It is a good choice for more serious brands because of the credibility it has.


Grey is considered a wise color that is dependable and long-lasting. It is not too dark, but not too light, which allows it to play between serious and fun. Grey is a great neutral color that pleases many consumers because of its versatility.


Black is a strong, authoritative color. It is credible and often used on higher-end brands. The simplicity and starkness is what draws people to it. Although its classic look is appealing, it can be overwhelming if used too much. Black is a good base color for any brand’s logo and complements many other colors well.