The human mind is a powerful thing. Did you know that people make long-lasting subconscious judgments about a product, brand or person within 90 seconds of when they first see them? When it comes to logos, visual stimuli can convey meaning, power, and emotion. However, the decisive factor in a potential customer’s outlook on your brand is color, with up to 90% of your client’s assessment based on the color of your logo. So what impact does this have on your business? Here’s a crash course on how you can use color psychology to your advantage and create a brand that stands out.
What is the meaning behind famous logos?
Even if you do not own a business, it is quite interesting to take a look at your favorite brands and try to decipher the hidden meaning behind their logo color and design that compels you to choose them over others. However, if you run a business, you need to know the basics of color psychology before committing to a particular brand image. So here is the message you are sending your customers with your logo when you use the following colors:
Secret Meaning: orange is associated with enthusiasm, social communication, playfulness, and excitement.
When you should use it: this color is perfect if you want your brand to come across as friendly and light-hearted, but also confident, affordable and persuasive. It is also great as a call-to-action, as it conveys both openness and aggressiveness at the same time.
Which brands have it: Amazon, Orange, Fanta, Nickelodeon, SoundCloud, Mozilla Firefox, MasterCard, Penguin Books, Blogger.
Secret Meaning: blue evokes feelings of safety, reliability, authority, trust, and stability.
When you should use it: this color scheme is great for establishing an intimate and mature relationship between your brand and your customers. It might not be as eye-catchy as red or yellow, but it lets prospects know that they can count on your company and that you are offering both quality and loyalty.
Which brands have it: Paypal, Hyundai, Ford, Oral B, Philips, Intel, Volkswagen, Motorola, Twitter, Facebook, Samsung, HP, IBM, Gap, Skype, Nokia.
Secret Meaning: red is the definition of passion, energy, aggression, action, and strength.
When you should use it: this attention-grabbing color is bound to stand out and encourage impulsivity. It stimulates appetite, increases heart rate and evokes strong emotions in the customer, creating a sense of urgency. This should be your go-to choice if you own a restaurant or a business that sells food and promotes impulsive buying.
Which brands have it: McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Netflix, ESPN, Heinz, Toyota, Canon, Youtube, Time, CNN, Kellogg's, Pinterest.
Secret Meaning: yellow is linked to optimism, cheerfulness, warmth, playfulness, and creativity.
When you should use it: this color is a bit tricky, but can work wonders for your logo when used right. You choose yellow if you are going to grab the attention and convey a sense of happiness. It is an excellent choice for selling natural products, cleaning supplies or shiny, appealing items.
Which brands have it: McDonald’s, Snapchat, Warner Bros, Lay’s, Chevrolet, Subway, 20th Century Fox Studios, Nikon, Cheerios, Denny’s, Forever 21.
Secret Meaning: we associate green with health, money, growth, healing, renewal, safety and prosperity.
When you should use it: this is the perfect choice if you have a business in finance or your target audience is geared more towards healthy living and an eco-friendly lifestyle. Green is usually the trademark for a product or service being environmentally sustainable, and it is ideal for organic, bio, vegan or vegetarian brands.
Which brands have it: Whole Foods, Starbucks, Tic Tac, Android, Sony Ericsson, Spotify, CancerWise, Animal Planet, Carlsberg, Heineken, Sprite, MorningStar Farms.
Secret Meaning: pink is associated with youth, femininity, love, and tranquility.
When you should use it: this color does not just cater to a “girly” clientele, but can also inspire fun, sweetness, and playfulness to potential customers. It is an excellent choice for businesses selling food or products targeted towards women.
Which brands have it: Barbie, LG, Cosmopolitan, Baskin Robbins, Johnson & Johnson, Flickr, sweetFrog, Dunkin’ Donuts.
Secret Meaning: black represents luxury, authority, sophistication, mystery, and power.
When you should use it: black conveys that you mean serious business and that you are a well-established brand that offers exclusive products and values elegance, customer loyalty, and quality above all. It will not attract a great deal of attention, but it is classy, straightforward and sends a clear message of authority, power, and simplicity to your prospects.
Which brands have it: ABC, Gucci, The New York Times, BBC, Prada, BlackBerry, Nike, HBO, Disney, Louis Vuitton, L’Oreal, Adidas, Sony, Ralph Lauren.
Once you have made your choice – stick to it!
Just how important is the color of my logo?
We are glad you asked. You might think that logo color, while essential, can’t possibly have such a profound impact on the customer’s actions. Moreover, that changing your logo colors if needed doesn’t affect your brand. Well, you would be wrong. Have you ever imagined the famous McDonald’s logo in pink and black colors instead of red and yellow? Picture it in your mind. Even if you do not change the design at all, you might not be so eager to buy your next Big Mac anymore.
However, let’s take it a step further – look at some of the most well-known brands out there, from Coca-Cola to Facebook, and now picture their logos in bright yellow. You will find that their appeal is gone.
We, as consumers, correlate specific color combinations and fonts with different qualities and emotions such as authenticity, product quality, and security. So whatever your choice is, remember to stick to your desired colors once your brand image is established. This will make it easier for people to recognize your business and won’t create any confusion in the future. It might be a hard pill to swallow, but most of us do not make purchases based on what we think about a product, but instead on how it makes us feel and on how easy it is for us to recognize it.