How Many Colors Should a Logo Have? And Other Important Elements of Choosing the Best Hues for Your Brand
A company’s logo is the first detail you notice when looking at its products, services, website, social media channels, or printed materials. It’s an opportunity to instantaneously capture an audience and create a positive first impression that will generate a reaction and entice them to learn more about your company. A logo carries the significant potential to turn itself into a landmark visual – think Coca-Cola, Apple, Google, McDonald’s, and Starbucks. These brands have turned their logo into industry icons. One of the most noteworthy qualities of these brands is the colors that are used in their logos. With so many possibilities, how many colors should a logo have? And how do you know which ones are best for your brand?
How Many Colors Should a Logo Have?
Company logo colors make up to 90% of a consumer’s first impression (Website Planet, 2021). How many colors a logo should have can vary depending on the brand’s goals, target audience, and industry. However, when choosing logo colors, it’s best to limit the number of colors to a minimum. So, just how many colors should a logo have? Many successful logos use only one or two colors and three at maximum.
Why keep the color palette so simple when there is a world of infinite, prismatic options? A logo with too many colors can be challenging to print or display accurately, which can dilute its impact and make it less effective in branding. Additionally, a simple color scheme can be more memorable and recognizable, helping your brand stand out in a crowded marketplace.
The Best Colors for Business Logos
Colors are a powerful component in a company branding toolkit. Company logo colors can communicate various emotions and create a lasting impression. Colors can affect everything from our moods and behavior to our purchasing decisions and brand perceptions. Colored ads attract attention 42% more than similar ads in black and white (Ragan, 2015).
The three primary colors – red, blue, and yellow – each evoke different emotions and associations in consumers.
What Colors Mean in Logos
Color marketing theory is the idea that color helps individuals understand how to effectively use color to communicate ideas, evoke emotions, and create aesthetically pleasing compositions (Help Scout, 2020).
This has an impact not only on the emotions of individuals but company logo colors can influence purchasing decisions as well. 42% of online shoppers base their opinion of websites on design alone (Corporate Eye, 2011). Red, for example, is often associated with passion, energy, and excitement, but can also give the sense of danger or warning. Blue, on the other hand, is typically seen as calming, trustworthy, and professional. Yellow is often associated with warmth, happiness, and optimism, but can also be seen as attention-grabbing or overly bright. Company logo colors that consider the emotional impact their branding might have could potentially increase the chances of audience members spending more time examining their page and becoming a lead. For example, in 2021, 40% of Fortune 500 companies used blue in their logo. (Website Planet, 2021). This is a strategic move. Blue is a trusted company logo color since it conveys feelings of tranquility, harmony, peace, trust, and stability.
Paradigm’s Graphic Designer Harrison Alvarez offers insight on how many colors a logo should have and best practices for the process of choosing logo colors through the lens of an expert.
- What colors/color scheme do you find are most successful in company logo colors? How can companies make themselves stand out among competitors while still following a formula that shows proven success in designing a logo?
H.A.: I have found that colors for business logos follow trends and cycles. For example, the 90s had neutral and more muted color palettes, using accents of burgundy or mauve to name a few. The 2000’s had more “pop” with their colors, with bright oranges and limes or hot pinks. The 2010s settled in with flat colors with a social blue or millennial pink. So, what are the colors that define the 2020s? That is still being explored. In my opinion, colors for a logo should follow their industry trends, but at the same time try to be unique to stand out from their competitors.
- What are colors and design traits that a company should AVOID when choosing logo colors?
H.A.: The color wheel is your friend. Even though there are plenty of color generating engines online, a color wheel can always tell you if certain basic color combinations clash or should be avoided. With that said, there are certain No-No’s to avoid when picking colors. Colors that are too light, or shades of a color, especially when used on a white background, should be avoided. Neon colors or bright yellows should also be avoided. Too many colors may look confusing or overpowering to the eye. Try not to use more than three in one logo.
- Do you have a specific creative process for when you are presented with a project to produce a logo? Where do you look for inspiration?
H.A.: Listening is my first step in the creative process. My inspiration comes from listening to the client’s wants, needs, likes, and dislikes. The creative juices usually start flowing at this point. Rough ideas are sketched out quickly. Then the research phase starts where I research competitors, trends, color combinations and basically any visual stimulus that can get ideas moving. Finally, ask yourself questions – why, what, and how. This tests the purpose of your design to further refine your logo ideas and give the logo a purpose.
- Do you have any favorite popular company logos and what do you think makes them so visually appealing?
H.A.: Starbucks is a great one. It’s so iconic, but it didn’t start out that way. It went through many iterations before settling on the version you see now. It developed into a more approachable and distinctive logo by using a certain color combination and an identifiable, but unique, figure symbol, “the Siren.” They chose a specific green color to stand for wealth, healing, and nature.
The meaning of the colors is as important as the combination of colors for a logo. It should represent something important to the entity or company to emphasize their story. Many times, this step is overlooked.
Paradigm Marketing and Design has worked with numerous B2B companies to develop customized company logos that create a lasting impression, generating brand awareness. By taking a strategic approach to logo design and incorporating the latest design trends and best practices, we’ve helped our clients achieve a significant ROI and stand out in a crowded market. Struggling with how many colors your logo should have? If you’re looking to take your brand to the next level, contact Paradigm today to learn more about our branding and logo design services.