Green mermaid and coffee. Yellow arches. White checkmark. If you thought of Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Nike while reading that, you already know the impact a brand’s logo and colors can have on a consumer. One thing these brands have in common is that you don’t need to see their names to know what they represent. Starbucks took its name off its logo in 2011, but that didn’t stop anyone from recognizing it. It takes a while to get to a point where your brand is recognizable without the company name, but that journey starts with choosing the right colors and creating the right logo for your brand.
For your logo, you can choose to go with a simple monogram of your company name or with a graphic that portrays the story behind your brand. Whatever choice you make, it is important to ensure it is the right choice for your brand because your logo is the face of your brand and your company. When people see your logo you want them to automatically affiliate it with your company. Your logo should be memorable and easily identifiable. Most importantly, it should follow the personality of your brand. Is it playful but reliable? Bold and independent? Your logo should convey whatever message you want consumers to remember about your brand.
Designing or Choosing Logo Graphics
Let’s use a fictional company, ‘Lion,’ for this example. It might be easy to just use the image of a lion for the logo. If another company offering completely different goods/services, maybe even with a different name, decides to also use the image of a lion for its logo, you lose your uniqueness. No one is going to associate the lion exclusively with your company.
Instead of going with the obvious, try word association. Think of all the things you associate with your company name. Using Lion:
Lion → King → Jungle → Roar → Lion King → Strength → Mane
When you brainstorm, the idea is to let everything that comes to mind out.
If you can integrate the services your company does into your logo, even better. For example, Lion is a barber and grooming store. Its logo consists of a suited lion admiring his mane in a mirror.
Whatever logo you choose, be sure to make it perfectly suited to your company. Ask the people around you for their opinions. Other people may have a perspective you haven’t considered.
Your company colors are going to be on everything that relates to your company. From your packaging to the labeling of your logo, your colors will be on everything your customers see. When it comes to color, you should stick to a few guidelines.
- Your colors should match your brand identity.
If the theme of your company is sturdy and loyal, pick colors that convey that, like green and blue. If your company’s image is classy and vintage, use a classic color like black. Although the way a color is perceived differs from person to person, researching the general meanings of colors can be helpful when deciding what colors to use. A simple google search on the meanings of colors will produce multiple articles.
- Your colors should complement each other.
Mix and match the colors on your list and see what goes together. It is important to play around with the colors so you can see what it would look like on your logo or how it makes the company name look.
Your colors should also complement your company name and logo. Red and yellow might be a good match for a restaurant because together they invoke a hungry response in viewers (e.g. McDonald’s). They are not a good match for a barbershop though.
- Your colors should be flexible.
Some colors do not do as well on print as they do on the web and vice-versa. You can pick colors that will deliver the same saturation (the intensity of a color, expressed as the degree it differs from white) on plain paper, a billboard, or a website. The color should be easy to recreate as you will use it on different mediums. If the color doesn’t recreate well on paper, look for a color that is similar enough.
Pro Tip: Instead of picking multiple different colors, try to make a new one from a color you already have.
A shade is a darker version of a color made by mixing the color with black. A tint is a lighter shade of a color made by mixing the color with white. This gives the illusion of a brighter color. Try making various shades and tints of a color. Shades and tints complement each other well because they are of the same color family.
Also, if you need help making a color palette, try Adobe Color. It is a free website where you can create your own color palette. You could select a base color on the color wheel and receive suggestions for a palette. The suggestions can be adjusted according to a preset color theme like shades or can be custom adjusted to your liking. Another cool thing about the website is that you can upload a picture or graphic you like and a palette will be made from the colors in the picture. The colors in the palette can also be adjusted. When you are satisfied with your creation, you can download it as an Adobe color file or as a JPG file.
How are your color and logo journeys? Share any hits, misses, and advice with us in the comments below.
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Lois Olowoyo is a telecommunication production major at the University of Florida and an avid storyteller. When she’s not writing a story of her own or acting one out, she can be found listening to, watching, or reading someone else’s story. You can learn more about her and view her work at loisolowoyo.wordpress.com. Check out her LinkedIn profile here.