Logo Design: Best Color Combinations

If you read our last blog post you know color is important to your logo design. If you didn’t read it, shame on you! Read it now! Tee Hee!

The majority of logos, 51% to be exact, are monochromatic, which means they have only one color. The rest of the 49% have two or more with 19% of these having three or more. I am sure that most of us can name a few of the popular logos and what colors they use. Most of the time primary colors are the go to choices for combos. They are easy to reproduce and give a good feeling to the consumer. With the digital movement we have seen that red, blue, green, and yellow are popular with internet or tech companies, such as, Google, Ebay, Microsoft, Chrome and so on.

Of course, we are not all tech companies! We are bloggers, ecommerce sites, and all other types of sites and businesses. So let’s talk color combinations. If we took some logos which you identify certain color combinations with and mixed things up a bit we can see that they give off a totally different feel and image than the ones that we know.

john-deere

What if John Deere green was John Deere purple? Um…! I can’t imagine a bunch of purple tractors driving around let alone a bunch of farmers wearing purple hats. Even just adjusting the colors a little can change the concept of farmer to hunter. Do you agree?

pepsi

What if Pepsi was pastel or more fashion friendly colors? It doesn’t make me want the sparkly goodness of a cold soda.

Dennys

Denny’s does not look appetizing in lime green or orange. It actually makes me think of popsicles…weird.

I was debating on how to present the best combinations of colors and I think that this will be the best way. I will give you the best 2 color combinations first. These are the best colors for each main color. You always want a main and a complimentary color if you are doing just 2.

Red- Yellow, Blue, Black

Red

Orange- Purple, Blue, black

Orange

Yellow- Red, Blue, Black

Yellow

Green- Yellow, Blue, Pink

green

Blue- Yellow, Green, Red

blue

Purple- Pink, Green, Orange

purple

 

Black- Red, Orange, Yellow

black

 

Now these are the basic color wheel colors. If you take, for instance, orange and blue as a combination and then you substitute coral for orange and aqua for blue you get a more feminine look. This goes for any of these basic combinations. Navy and gold are the #1 combination for men and the #2 combination for women. Still a blue and a yellow. Now there is a whole lot of color theory in here with shades and hues and what not but we have tools to help us discover which shades and hues look best with the color we have chosen. There are two websites that I really like that help you pick the best colors to match your main color. www.color-hex.com and www.color.adobe.com Have fun!

If you are wanting more than 2 colors, here is the rule. Three colors are best, if you want 4, then use a shade of one of the colors, usually the main color or the neutral color. Rainbow, or primary colors, is the ONLY exception to this rule. If you have too many colors, you can get a very messy looking logo and we don’t want that.

I have one caution for you. Be careful not to pick fad colors. There are certain colors that we associate with eras in time. The 70’s were orange and brown. The 80’s were everything in neon. You get the point. If you want your logo to last for more than just a generation then pick colors that are tried and true. That doesn’t mean that you can’t use popular colors but the combination can make the difference. Get creative. Think about who you are or what your company represents. Are you a yellow and pink or a yellow and black? Thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings!

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