Tag Archives: Logos

Color Harmony: Logos

Color plays a crucial role in the message and mood a logo communicates. Three considerations for employing color in logos will help you master the harmony.

by Christopher Simmons
Oct/Nov 2006
In the designer’s craft, logos represent a special achievement. They are the most succinct and compact vehicles we use to communicate complex messages. They must embody specific qualities that connect with and linger in the minds of the intended audiences. They must be thoughtfully conceived, expertly crafted, employ appropriate and supportive typography, and be imbued with a color sense that resonates with viewers.Color, of course, is highly subjective. What is individually pleasing to one person may elicit only a neutral response in another person. How many times, for example, have you been asked to use the CEO’s favorite color in the company’s logo? How many times have you observed designers (other designers, naturally—never you or I!) propose logo colors based on the latest trend or on their own personal preferences?

While there is no way to anticipate (and also little reason to accommodate) arbitrary tastes, there are certain colors and combinations that have come to represent particular attributes. Knowing and understanding these particular attributes can help you be more effective when selecting meaningful colors for your logo projects, as will the following practical considerations:

1. Weigh the one-color implications.
First is the general (but recently declining) requirement that a logo should work in one color. Typically, one color means black; this is based on economy more than any color theory. While it is important to consider what happens to a logo when it is photocopied, faxed, or applied in one-color situations (such as in a newspaper or silk screened on a T-shirt), the one-color rule is slowly becoming less applicable. We are increasingly relying on paperless document distribution, and color desktop printing is practically ubiquitous. If your multicolored logo needs to work in a single color, be sure to select colors that are sufficiently different in value to allow for one-color reproduction.

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