How to choose your logo color wisely for your business

Warm reds, cool blues, neutral grays — the colors you choose to represent your company say a lot about who you are and what you do. When you begin to design a logo, those colors are a big part of the process. As a representation of your brand, it only makes sense that your logo contains your brand colors and helps visually reinforce your products or services in the minds of your customers. 

Every color carries its own meaning, and selecting the right ones for your branding takes careful consideration to ensure that they properly showcase your company’s best features. To help you make these choices, this Namecheap guide outlines what each color represents and how to make smart selections for your company, logo, and other visual applications.

Why are logo colors important?

As an extension of your brand, your logo colors are a key way to connect your business to the brand identity you want to convey. Here are four reasons why logo colors are important to your brand.

  • Logo colors connect your logo to your brand. A logo is only one part of your brand identity, which is composed of several parts that come together to help communicate your brand’s purpose and message to the world. These elements are all interconnected: Your brand colors, used across your website, social media, and print collateral, are also used in your logo. This reinforces the connection between your logo and your brand identity as an official representation of your brand.
  • The right colors can motivate your customers to action. Whether you want customers to feel assured, excited, or at peace when they look at your logo, the right logo colors can help influence that feeling. Logo shapes play a part in this as well, as each type of shape has an impact on how your business is perceived. Later in this guide, you’ll learn more about each color’s potential impact on your customer.
  • They can reinforce core brand values. Colors are powerful representations of brand values because each color is associated with certain emotions, as you’ll learn more about below. You can effectively use colors to communicate and visually represent your business’s core mission and purpose.
  • Logo colors help customers remember you. Color cues can trigger memories and help customers determine when something is associated with your brand. Using the same shade or shades as one of your logo colors can help customers remember your business when they need your products or services. For example, T-Mobile is uniquely identified by its magenta, while Cadbury has been strongly linked to the same shade of royal purple for decades.

Where do logo color meanings come from?

Color meanings are derived from color psychology, which is the study of the relationship between colors, emotions, and moods. This theory states that color has a significant impact on feelings, action, and other psychological reactions. When used thoughtfully in your brand and in your logo, certain colors can help foster connections between your brand and your customers.

As an extension of your brand identity, the colors used in your logo are essential to tying your logo to your company. They are core to communicating how you want customers to perceive your brand, whether you want to build trust, inspire passion, or encourage relaxation. 

Here’s what these 12 popular colors mean when you use them in your logo.

Red

Red is connected with desire, excitement, and energy. This color is often seen in healthcare logos as red is associated with hearts and other organs. In Chinese culture, red is the color of luck and good fortune. You’ll also see red used in fast food logos like KFC’s because it’s believed that this color stimulates hunger. 

Recommended for: If you’re hoping to inspire energizing and invigorating feelings in your customers, a red logo may be the way to go. Red may also be a bold choice if you want to attract attention to your business and earn respect in your industry.

Yellow

Positively cheerful yellow is a bright and bold way to call attention to your logo. Construction companies and safety equipment manufacturers will use yellow to signify caution and warning. Within the yellow spectrum is a wide range of shades. You can opt for a bright, highlighter yellow — although you may not want to use a color that bright in your logo, as it can be too difficult to read — or a more mellow dandelion color.

Recommended for: If you’re hoping to elicit feelings of happiness and positivity in your customers, yellow may be the right way to go.

Orange

This mix of yellow and red harnesses qualities of both colors, and the power and meaning behind the shade of orange you choose depends on whether it’s closer to red or closer to yellow. No matter which direction you go, this happy color is used to communicate excitement, friendliness, enthusiasm, and warmth. Also, just like its eponymous citrus, orange reminds your customers of the freshness of squeezed juice.

Recommended for: If you want your company to embrace feelings of happiness and friendliness, orange may be a good choice for you.

Green

As the color of money and the color of nature, green is used to communicate prosperity, growth, motivation, luck, and tranquility. Green is associated with calming properties and can help people feel at ease. If you’re a financial services provider, work at a nursery, or produce organic beverages, green is an excellent way to quickly convey to your customer what you do.

As it is with orange and as you’ll see with blue, shade makes a difference when you’re using green. A darker shade indicates reliability and loyalty, while lighter shades imply growth and transformation. Choose wisely if you want to use green in your logo!

Recommended for: Businesses centered in growth and prosperity, like financial services, are good fits for green. It’s also a smart choice for businesses that want to suggest that their customers will be prosperous through their product or service outside of financial services.

Light blue

Just like green, light blue can suggest a sense of calm and tranquility. As one of the most preferred colors among both men and women, it’s often used to indicate trustworthiness. You’ll see brands use light blue in their logo colors to show that they are inviting, welcoming, and calming, like a still sea or a beautiful blue sky.

Recommended for: Companies that need their customers to trust them with their personal information or to rely on them for performance can indicate those qualities with light blue.

Dark blue

Deeper blue hues stand for maturity, integrity, stability, and power. Brands that have stood the test of time or that have been around for many decades use dark blue to indicate their status. Just like light blue, dark blue also represents trustworthiness, a great quality for any brand to have.

Recommended for: Brands that prioritize trust and authority, particularly in a highly competitive industry, can use dark blue to showcase their core values.

Photo by lan deng on Unsplash

Purple

Royalty and regal grace are what come to mind when a brand uses purple in its logo. Purple is used to communicate wealth, sophistication, quality, wisdom, and creativity. This is common across all types of products, from food to beauty to gifts.

Recommended for: Brands will use purple in their branding when they want to indicate the luxurious nature and high quality of their products to their target audience.

Pink

This bright and cheery color has long been associated with women and girls, but pink goes beyond dolls and cherry-scented soaps. Pink stands for sentimentality and can help your customers feel calmer. 

There’s quite a wide range of shades to choose from when it comes to pink. Lighter hues are more associated with the romantic sentiments pink can invoke, while darker and more vibrant magenta-like shades are connected to confidence and fun.

Recommended for: Pink has wide-ranging implications for many types of businesses. You can consider pink if your target market is girls or women, but don’t discount pink in your logo if your brand is all about having a good time.

Brown

Brown evokes dependability and reliability in several interesting ways. For one, brown represents antiques and old wooden structures that have stood the test of time and have lasted from decade to decade. Just like the stability of the brown earth beneath our feet, natural and rugged brands draw the connection between this logo color and strong foundation, creating a sense of dependability.

On the flipside, brown is an example of a programmed association, or associations with color due to evolution. It may be hardwired in people’s brains to link brown with rotting food. It’s no coincidence that brown is at the bottom of the list when it comes to people’s favorite colors.

Recommended for: Brands heavily connected to nature or ruggedness may benefit from including brown in their logos.

Gray

Often seen as gloomy or sad, gray doesn’t always make the top of the list when it comes to neutrals. However, when used well in your logo, gray can suggest balance and neutrality, conveying a sense of professionalism and formality that’s good for common business services like law firms and accounting firms. Brands should be cautious about using gray as the sole color in their brand, instead opting to use gray as an accent color or the neutral in the color palette.

Recommended for: Brands that want to put a professional and polished foot forward can make a gray logo work for their business.

Photo by Xiong Yan on Unsplash

Black

Sleekness, class, and elegance are all associated with black. Brands that use touches of black as part of their brand color scheme emphasize luxury, sophistication, and prestige. This great neutral can be applied to packaging, giveaways, card stock for when you create business cards, and many other places as a way to reinforce the quality of the product or service being offered.

If you choose to use black, it’s important to do so wisely. Black is not as memorable as other brighter and cheerier shades, so it may be hard to build an emotional connection with your audience if this color is your main one. Consider incorporating black as an accent color or a neutral instead of making it the star of the show.

Recommended for: Companies that want to communicate luxury and elegance should consider using black in their logo.

White

Pure, crisp, and clean, white is associated with innocence and virtue. It’s also associated with health, so you’ll often see white as part of a logo representing a healthcare center or hospital. Its connection to purity and innocence also makes it a popular choice for charities or organizations that work with children.

Importantly, a white version of your logo is not the same as a white logo. In this instance, an all-white version of your color logo is just for printing onto dark backgrounds so your logo remains visible on giveaways and other applications. (You’ll likely need an all-black version of your logo for the same reason.)

Recommended for: Charities, childrens’ organizations, animal shelters, and other organizations with notable and noble goals should consider including white in their logo.

Feeling inspired? Make a logo for your business! Get started with Namecheap’s free logo maker.

What color combinations should you use?

Most brand colors used in a logo are a combination of three shades: a main color called a “base” color, a neutral color, and an accent color. This trio of colors is then implemented across all channels and all mediums, including your logo, to visually represent your company’s brand identity.

Your combination of brand colors should fall into one of four major categories, all of which turn to the color wheel to help guide choices that work together as a comprehensive unit.

Complementary

Complementary colors are those opposite one another on the color wheel. Many brands opt for complementary colors as the opposing tones seem like they would not work together until they’re strategically united in the brand’s marketing materials. The results are memorable and eye-catching. You’ll often see complementary logos representing sports teams, food brands, chain stores, and more. The Los Angeles Lakers’ purple and yellow team colors are a great example of complementary colors.

Monochromatic

Monochromatic logos select a base shade and lean heavily on it. Instead of selecting a neutral and an accent color, a monochromatic color palette utilizes the lighter and darker shade of the base color. The PayPal logo is a great example of a monochromatic color scheme used in a logo.

Photo by Brett Jordan from Pexels

Triadic

Think of the color wheel as a clock. The triadic approach selects colors at the 12, 4, and 8 positions; the 1, 5, and 9 positions, or any other similar equivalent. The goal with the triadic color palette approach is to imply stability by taking from equal sections of the color wheel. The Mozilla Firefox logo is an example of a triadic color palette used in a logo.

Analogous

The analogous approach selects three colors that are next to one another on the color wheel. This means that your brand colors will all be in the same family. Three different shades next to one another on the color palette, such as yellow, yellow-green, and green, would be analogous. Use of this palette type implies a harmonious grouping that naturally belongs together.

5 tips for selecting the right color combinations

  1. Tap into what you want to convey. The 12 colors listed above offer a clear roadmap if you want to choose your colors strategically. Want to show the world that you offer a luxurious and elegant product? Try mixing black elements into your logo. How about fiery passion and excitement? You may want to stick with red. That direction can help you make the right choices as you begin playing with your options.
  2. Assess other brands. There’s a reason that certain colors pop up time and again in so many industries: Green is very common in the financial sector, while brown is used in organic and natural brands. That doesn’t mean that your logo colors need to match, but if there’s a common theme emerging among your competitors, it may be a sign that your customers may immediately link your company to that product or service. On the flipside, you may want to stay away from those typical colors if you want to really stand out.
  3. Keep cultural sensitivities in mind. Not all colors mean the same thing to all people globally. A widely shared example is the color associated with death and mourning: Black is the main color of mourning in European and American cultures, but its polar opposite — white — is the color of mourning in many Asian cultures. These types of associations should be taken into account when selecting your logo colors.
  4. Remember your brand voice. Yes, your brand voice can have an effect on the logo colors you choose. That’s because your brand voice is just as much a part of your company’s personality as your logo colors. For example, if your company communicates in an authoritative way, the trustworthy, stalwart nature of blue may be a good choice for your logo colors.
  5. Aesthetics matter, too. Even with all this information about choosing your palette based on color psychology, your selection can still be influenced simply by what looks good. A certain combination may be striking, soothing, or particularly moving, without feeling forced to choose blue for trustworthiness or yellow for friendliness. Remember, it’s just as important that you’re happy with your logo colors as it is to choose them strategically!

Logo color selection: Color psychology and personal taste

What feelings does your favorite color bring to mind? What about your least favorite color? Whether consciously or subconsciously, your customers are similarly moved to think, feel, and act in a certain way by the colors you choose. As an extension of your brand identity, your logo — and the colors used in it — represents your brand in a particularly powerful way, both visually tying the logo to your greater brand identity and subtly nudging your customers to feel a certain way or take a particular action.

The Namecheap logo generator makes color selections for your logo a cinch. This free-to-use, intuitive tool takes you through several options for logo shapes and fonts, ending the process with several options for logo colors that best represent your brand. Organized by mood, you can choose between many options that reflect both what you want to convey and your personal tastes. Visit the Visual brand design suite of tools from Namecheap to get started on this process today.


Nick Allen

Nick Allen

Nick Allen is a writer, photographer, and content marketer. He’s also the founder of BrainBoost Media, a boutique content and operations studio. With a wide range of interests, he enjoys reading and writing about sports, entrepreneurship, and start-ups.
More articles written by Nick.

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