Saturday, March 27, 2010

Over the Rainbow

When creating a logo for your business there are so many color options, design choices and overall theme varieties the task can be daunting. In fact when creating our logo we went through several (and by several I mean A LOT!) of designs before we were able to make our final decision. Let’s face it, your logo is going to be the single most important representation of your business to a potential customer (no pressure or anything!).  So to accomplish an iconic and memorable logo, you must ask yourself, what feeling do I want to evoke from my customer through my logo? And to do so, you have to understand a little bit about the psychology of color. Why?  Because just like design, color plays a crucial role in how your logo is perceived. Here is quick crash course on the psychology of color.

The psychology of color means that each color is characterized by certain emotions. The emotions associated with color have been created through a long history of art, culture, history and social norms. It is important to note, various cultures view colors entirely different.  For example in the U.S. traditionally a bride wears white on her wedding day.  In the U.S. wearing white symbolizes purity; however in India a bride traditionally wears red.  In fact, in India white is customarily worn at funerals. So you can see that colors don’t always translate cross-culturally.  My point is this; if you are planning on globally expanding your company you must research what color means to that culture or region.  Below are a  few iconic U.S. logos, color psychologies and explanations of how there colors repersent there brand.

Red: Excitement, Passion, Energy, Love and Intensity

Coke is one of the most recognizable brands in the world.  Red is a perfectly suited color for this brand because red emotionally connects us to excitement and coke plays on that by exciting the senses with a caffeine energy boost.  Red is also commonly used in fast food restaurants because it sets the mood for people to grab'n'go. (If they wanted you to stay they would have used cool blues and greens.)

Pink: Femininity, Fun, Delicate, Pretty, Sweet and Energetic

Could you ever imagine the Barbie logo being black?  Pink was chosen for its softness and girly qualities. Pink plays into the femininity of this brand.  You see a lot of pink in businesses dedicated to women's products, bakeries and lines targeted towards little girls.  Pink is a great accent color and can add just the right pop of color.

Orange: Bright, Cheerful, Daring, Playful, Exuberant and Youthful

AT&T transformed its brand image by introducing its new logo in 2007.  Personnel at AT&T said they wanted to appeal to a younger demographic who can be extremely fickle when it comes to branding.  Orange was the perfect color to appeal to youth because of its daring and youthful emotional draw.  Orange can add the right burst of color to any logo. Bright orange has a playful exuberance and burnt orange shades can add a touch of warmth.

Yellow: Luminous, Happiness, Positivity, Warmth, Awareness and Caution
 Yellow is a primary color that typical exudes happiness.  In-N-Out used yellow as an accent color which played into its branding as an upbeat burger restaurant.  Yellow is a highly visible color which can create attention and awareness.

Green: Earth Friendly, Environmental, Crisp, Harmonious, Pleasant and Lush

John Deere is well known for lawn equipment and it is perfectly fitting that there logo is predominately green. Green is often associated with environmentally friendly businesses and lawn care companies. Green is a cool color that is created from a cool blue and a warm yellow. Lighter shades of green are considered soothing and brighter hues of green are considered more crisp.

Blue: Calm, Confident, Tranquil, Reliable, Soothing and Strength

It is no surprise Kleenex used blue as its color of choice for two reasons, one being the strength associated with the color and two being the calmness blue exudes.  Kleenex is a brand that has single handedly transformed the name of tissue.  I mean when reaching for a tissue most likely you are going to ask for a Kleenex regardless of the brand.  For its confidence darker blues are used often in logos for fortune 500 companies and the government.  Lighter shades of blue are soothing and used to relax the senses in spas.

Purple: Cool, Regal, Majestic, Spiritual and Whimsical

Purple is a cool color which is created by mixing blue and red. Yahoo recently revised its logo from red to purple. Purple is a whimsical color and with the explanation mark at the end of the yahoo logo I think it ties perfectly into this brand. Purple is often used for luxury brands because it exudes a regal quality. Purple is associated with nobility because only the wealthy and royalty could afford the purple dye to color their robes. “Tyrian” purple, as it was called, was used to dye royals’ robes up until the collapse of the eastern Roman Empire in 1453.

Brown: Woodsy, Natural, Richness and Organic

Brown is a natural warm color. I like brown for its neutral appeal and contrast it provides to brighter shades. Hershey’s not only plays on the color of its candy but cocoa is a natural ingredient which plays into the emotinal appeal of brown.  Try brown with a brighter hue like red or hot pink for a striking contrast.

Black: Bold, Classic, Chic, Formal and Authoritative

Haven't you heard that the number one essential in every woman’s closet is a LBD (little black dress)?  It's because black is chic and sophisticated and this logo is no exception.  This brand was first created in 1910 and is still as stylish as it was 100 years ago!

White: Pure, Clean, Fresh and Straightforward

White is used in almost every logo out there.  For white any color compliments it so you can't go wrong. White is used to fill negative space, as a backdrop of many logos and with some logos used for text if the backdrop is too dark to support black.

Gray: Subtle, Practical, Impartial, and Modern

Gray is a color that embodies simplistic modern elegance. It is a neutral between black and white that ties into any color scheme. The Audi 4 ring logo symbolizes the merger that took place in 1932, of four independent motor-vehicle manufactures. This new logo was created in 2009 and differs from the previous logos because of the increase in the 3-dimensional aspects of the rings. From its shiny hues of silver to its duller gunmetal grays this color you can create a subtle yet impactful logo.  

Typically, when creating a logo, you want to stick to 2-4 colors, as not to confuse the consumer.  Simple yet creative is the best course of action when creating a logo.  You also want your companies name legible in the logo, so as much as you want to use that crazy cool font, less is more!  The psychology of color is ever evolving and when choosing a color combo just be mindful of the implications your colors may have. 

Lastly, if you need help, Marketing Mix Studio is just a click or phone call away :)


Logo Credits:
(Red Logo) Registered Tradmark of Coca-Cola Bottle Company
(Pink Logo) Registered Tradmark of Mattel
(Orange Logo) Registered Tradmark of AT&T Cingular Wireless
(Yellow Logo) Registered Tradmark of In-N-Out Burger
(Green Logo) Registered Tradmark of John Deere 
(Blue Logo) Registered Tradmark of Kleenex-Kimberly-Clark Worlwide, Inc.
(Purple Logo) Registered Tradmark of Yahoo!
(Black Logo) Registered Tradmark of Chanel
(Gray Logo) Registered Tradmark of Audi

History of the Cingular Logo
History of the Color Purple
History of Audi

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