Leading Branding Expert for Small Business

Many inexperienced designers often use way too many colors in a logo design, with inappropriate color combinations or randomly chosen colors to provide a client with a large number of color options – in hopes that they will like one. This is not a strategy for success and can create amateur outcomes. 

I’ve designed hundreds of logos over my career and learned that there are five main ways that business owners typically land on a color selection for their logo:

  1. Personal/spousal opinion
  2. Pantone trends
  3. Copy and paste
  4. Color psychology
  5. Differentiation
  • Personal/spousal opinion
    I can’t count the number of times I’ve been at a networking event and asked a business owner why they chose a certain color for their organization. Often they’ll say something along the lines of, “my wife likes the color teal,” or “I like the color orange so that’s what we went with.” There is zero strategy with this approach and I highly recommend against it. Your logo is for your target audience, not you. Your personal taste in color may not be the same as theirs.
  • Pantone trends
    Have you ever worked with a graphic designer that recommended a PMS (Pantone Matching System) color because that color was “the color of the year” according to PANTONE®?

Do you get my point by looking at these color samples? I don’t recommend allowing a graphic designer to apply a color trend to your company’s logo. Color trends come and go quickly and there is no sound reason to use them on a logo that needs to last for at least the next decade, if not longer. 

  • Copy and paste
    Often times a business owner will do their own research on their competition and choose their logo color based on their top competitors in the marketplace. Just because your top competitor(s) uses blue as their dominant color in their color scheme doesn’t mean you should use it as well. In fact, you should probably stay as far away from it as possible to differentiate your brand from the competition. When a potential client looks at your competitor’s logo and then yours, everything starts looking the same, or worse, it looks as if you copied your competition, especially if you’re not as established as them.
  • Color psychology
    Advertising agencies and marketing firms are often guilty of offering color psychology as a color selection process for logo design. The pitch sounds something like this: “Hey John, your company is very passionate, so you should use the color red in your logo design because red signifies passion and energy!” The only problem with this pitch is that red also signifies danger and anger and has different meanings to different cultures. This is why clients need more of a holistic approach when it comes to choosing a color for their company’s logo identity and is why I recommend the below option, differentiation. 
  • Differentiation 
    When I say the color “brown”, what company do you think of? Are you thinking UPS? Whenever I’m giving a branding seminar or facilitating one of my branding workshops and we’re on the topic of color, 99.9% of the participants will say they think of UPS when asked the above question. That is because UPS OWNS THE COLOR BROWN, not just in the courier industry, but every industry! You can’t forget their boxy brown trucks or their old slogan from the early 2000s, “What can brown do for you?”.

Look at the UPS logo below compared to their competition. Not only do their competitors never use brown, but even their top competitors’ color schemes are different from one another. This did not happen by accident. They are differentiating themselves through color just like you should.

Choosing the wrong color for your company logo can impact the ability to stand out, or worse, blend in with your competition. A bad logo design is bad for business. Alienating potential customers can cost your company in terms of perception and trust. It can cause your target audience to subconsciously question your validity and drive them straight to one of your competitors. 

Your logo is an investment. Don’t risk your logo with an amateur designer. Choose an experienced, strategic identity designer who will strive to make a simple, clean and bold logo design for your company.

If you’re ready to take the first step toward a memorable, flexible and easy to reproduce logo identity, drop us a line at 602.695.1305 or write us a note to learn more about how our logo creation process can benefit your company’s next logo project. Check out our logo identity work to see how Damon can help you connect with your prospects.