Every successful business owner will tell you that a good logo is more than just an attractive presentation of your brand. The picture tells every potential customer a thousand words about your business. The key is evoking the right message and emotions in your desired customers. The colors in your logo can serve as powerful psychological triggers to make customers believe your services are the best choice for their business the second they lay eyes on them. The key is using colors that evoke remedying feelings people desire when seeking out those types of services.
SEE ALSO: The Psychology of Color – A Color Guide for Designers
Here is a breakdown of the most basic colors, what emotions they evoke, and what services they can effectively attract customers to:
Emotions: Love, Anger, Aggression, Passion, Sensuality, Intensity
Red is the most used color in logos as it has many emotions but carries them all intensely. Red can intensify or evoke the passion of whatever niche you’re in. One thing red is not known to be is relaxing or calm. Many restaurants can get away with a lighter shade of red as they feed off a potential customer’s intense desire to eat that food or get immediate service. Notice how many fast food use red logos.
If you’re opening a therapeutic business or place of knowledgeable healing, it might be best to leave red out of your logo. Most doctor’s offices don’t use red in their logos, but hospitals do. Hospitals get away with it because, at times, there is no more serious place in the world.
Emotions: Pleasure, Boldness, Distrust, Enthusiasm
The shades of orange can cover a wide variety of emotions, but one that stands out is boldness. Orange is not quite powerful enough to evoke the passion of red or dark enough to be calm or subtle. Orange would be a good color for a bold business that supplies innocent services such as toys, daycares, vacations, etc.
Orange is very easy to contrast, however, and if coupled with colors like black or even darker shades of blue and purple, it can carry a more serious tone.
Emotions: Cheer, Joy, Energy, Caution, Sickness
Yellow is naturally bright, so you will usually find it evokes more happy emotions than others. However, like orange, yellow is powerless to change its meaning even with darker shades. Even the darkest yellow can make people think of mild sickness or decay. For this reason, it’s deemed a more precise, childish color.
As such, it is generally more appropriate for family-friendly businesses such as water parks, family restaurants, toys, shops, etc.
Emotions: Harmony, Fresh, Ambition, Greed
Green is a color commonly associated with finance, safety, and nature. Many outdoor recreation companies use their green logo to really push the raw, harmonious nature that comes with experiencing their products. Camping equipment, yard care, finance, and health food establishments could effectively utilize green in their logos.
Emotions: Calm, Trust, Confidence, Seriousness
Blue is a color most associated with business because it evokes a sense of balance and calm intelligence. Like the water, blue can adapt to anything and look like it had no problem doing so. For this reason, blue tends to be the color of many businesses with niches like pediatrics, physical therapy, and other severe problem-solving services.
A lighter blue evokes more trustworthiness, whereas a darker blue evokes the presence of intelligence. Both are good, but deciding which is more likely to get the customer through the door is essential. Think light, blue=safe, dark blue=professional (waterpark vs. police uniforms).
Emotions: Ambition, Dignity, Mystery, Independence
You rarely see many logos full of purple because it evokes particular emotions that we tend to feel less often than we should. Purple is not the color that will appeal to everybody, but it still attracts a specific clientele looking to differentiate itself as unique. Businesses with more vanity or high-class niches, such as jewelry, luxury cars, or beauty, could succeed with purple.
Emotions: Comfort, Strength, Laziness, Isolation
Possibly the most subtle color of all, brown seems to limit’s logo presence to the more masculine, outdoor businesses. The most prevalent of brown’s emotions seems to be isolation as it’s just light enough to let us know it’s there but keeps to itself. Camping equipment, hunting, and other businesses that allow people to do things themselves tend to fall under the brown banner.
Emotions: Power, Mysterious, Grieving, Elegance
Any logo meant to give the customer a sense of power holds a little bit of black in it. Black is the ultimate dominance and ultimate finality. The more power the services deal, the more black is used in the logo. Think of athletic symbols like Under Armour and Nike sports gear relies on making the customer feel more mighty for wearing their clothes. Similarly, formal wear helps the individual feel powerful in celebration instead of performance.
Emotions: Innocence, Purity, Cleanliness
Not many businesses can pull off a lot of white in their logos. Those with an abundance of white must be in the business of something as absolute as a starting point. Bread dough, weddings, paper, things everyone at some point in their lives at least consider using.
Like black, however, in almost all logos, white is used in moderation. If nothing else, black and white can help tell customers if your services are serious or happy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Owen Oliver is a writer with American Graphics Institute who also serves as an educator in various forms of Adobe Training for business owners seeking to build themselves a website. In his downtime, Owen enjoys swimming and exploring his creativity in his painting.