What Every Entrepreneur Should Know About Choosing Their Logo Colors

Kelly Morr Senior Content Strategy Manager, 99designs 
How to pick your logo colors

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the coolest company of them all? If you’re a business, it will be up to your logo to answer that question. The world’s best logos communicate everything a potential customer needs to know about a company in less than a microsecond, and your logo colors are a major part of that message.

The average brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it does words. Because of the way our eyes and brains evolved together, colors tend to zoom directly to the emotional part of the brain and by-pass the skeptical part. When you pick the best brand colors, you communicate your value proposition at the speed of light (or dark, if that’s more your thing).

Grab the Color Wheel

To help you choose wisely, here are three steps to finding the perfect color for your logo:

  1. Summarize the personality of your business.
  2. Use the psychology of color to understand how to show off your personality.
  3. Look over the competition to make sure you stand out and stay unforgettable.

It really can be that simple. The most important step is the first one. Define how you want to be perceived and then coordinate your marketing materials to present a coherent personality, both visually and verbally.

The Personality Spectrum

There are many personality exercises to help you define your brand’s most memorable qualities. One useful tool is the “brand personality trait continuum.” Where would your brand appear on the line from:

  • Playful to serious?
  • Modern to classic?
  • Affordable to luxurious?
  • Youthful to mature?

Take the Color Quiz

When you have a clear idea about the image you want to present, you can match your brand personality traits with colors that research shows communicate those values. For a fun way to get started, try the “What color should your logo be?” quiz at the bottom of this page.

Make the Competition Green with Envy

Your last step is compare your colors with close competitors to make sure that your logo is memorable for all the right reasons. Perhaps you’re a dentist and it’s very important that you be taken seriously, so you pick blue. But then you look at every other dentist out there and they all have blue logos, too. Are you okay with that? Or are there other aspects of your practice you would like to play up that will allow you to stand out? Add a pop of yellow to your blue logo to show that you’re also affordable.

Finally, remember to factor in cultural, historical, and natural influences into your choices. Perhaps you’re a tech company and want to be seen as modern. Therefore, you decide to go with a red logo. But the majority of your business is in South Africa, where red is associated with death — time to pivot. Not all color meanings are universal, so you’ll want to make sure you understand where your business operates. Now, go back and try that first question once again. Who are you? And how do you communicate that through color?

Still not sure? Oh hey, we made a handy infographic to help you out!

Kelly Morr Kelly is the senior manager of content strategy at 99designs. She likes writing stuff, making stuff, coming up with far-fetched ideas, figure skating, and cuddling her two cats.
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