Bad logos happen to good businesses. Maybe the design is so busy, customers can’t quite make out what the business actually does. Or perhaps it’s just outdated enough to be stale rather than retro. Often customers won’t even know why they don’t like a logo. They simply have an immediate negative reaction that leads them to take their spending money elsewhere.
You may not even realize how much color plays into how customers perceive your logo. They don’t even realize it, actually. But too many businesses make snap decisions during the design process. Going on sheer instinct could be disastrous to your brand. Thankfully, you can learn from the mistakes of others and avoid making them from the start. Here are five missteps you should avoid as
you brainstorm your logo colors.
Choosing your favorite colors
Perhaps you love blue. Your entire bedroom is decorated in blue, and your closet is jam-packed with clothing in various shades of
the color. So naturally, when it comes time to create branding for your business, you’ll gravitate toward blue, but this can be a mistake – and a common one at that. According to a recent survey of 99designs, 65% of small business owners admit that “personal
taste or preference” was the number-one factor for them in choosing their logo colors. However, by considering color psychology in your design choices, you’ll be able to connect with customers on a visceral level.
For example, one look at a new psychology of logo colors report will tell you that blue conveys a mature, classic message, which is likely why it’s the most popular color in technology logos. However, “mature and classic” is not the best message for many business types. A red or pink logo for your children’s boutique will attract parents, while a brown logo will draw customers to your outdoor gear store.
Following the pack
In your research, you may find that others in your industry veer toward a certain color. Just as blue is the most popular color in
tech, green rules agriculture, red dominates retail, and black and white are predominant in photography. But if you follow the crowd, you risk being confused with others in your industry. Instead consider a way to communicate your brand messaging that is different from all the rest. You’ll not only stand out, but you’ll also show that you aren’t afraid to be unique. It’s a tough balance, since often these colors
are popular because they match the psychology of color. But you can still look at the chart and find a way to stand out in your own industry.
Not considering all platforms
If you assume everyone is viewing your online content on a computer, you’re making a big mistake. Consumers now spend five hours a day or more on their mobile devices, which means if people happen upon your brand, they’re probably doing it on a smaller screen. If your logo was designed for street signage and website banners, it may not be packing the same punch when scaled down to fit on a five-inch screen. There are plenty of tools that will let you test your content on multiple screens. Make them part of your logo design process. If you’re
outsourcing your design, ask for a variety of logo sizes and use them as a placeholder in a mobile-responsive website to ensure the colors work before you commit.
Not truly knowing your brand
Just as you have a personality, so does your brand. It’s important that your marketing materials convey that personality, whatever
it is. Color is an important part of that, but it’s also the way you use color, imagery, and lettering in your logo to send a message. Put serious time into getting to know your business, its mission, its values, and how you plan to impact the consumer market with the products or services you offer. When you combine your own company values with the values of the customers you serve, you’ll likely find that colors and imagery come naturally as you begin to conceptualize a logo.
Not considering the full spectrum
You aren’t limited to one color in your logo design. In addition to multiple colors, designers can actually choose from a wide range
of hues and make them work with other colors. The color wheel can be very helpful in understanding which colors work well together. Colors that are side by side on the wheel, as well as those that are directly across from each other, often are the best to combine. But you should also play with various shades of each color. In the purple spectrum, for instance, lavender and pale yellow may look better than raspberry and mustard yellow. Professional designers develop a skill for choosing the best colors, but there is a science to it, as well.
Creating a logo for a brand can be complicated, but it’s important to ensure it’s an accurate representation of your brand. If you’re
having your logo designed by a professional, ask for multiple color options and make sure you understand your own audience before making a final choice. Even the most talented graphic designer won’t know your brand as well as you do, but understanding how
color plays a role in brand marketing can help you decide what will work best.
Pamela Webber is Chief Operating Officer at 99designs She is passionate about using data to derive customer insights and to find “aha moments” that impact strategic direction. In addition to her experience as a marketer, Pamela brings a host of first-hand experience as an ecommerce entrepreneur and working with fast-growing startups. Prior to joining 99designs, she founded weeDECOR, an ecommerce company selling custom wall decals for babies’ and kids’ rooms, and also worked as an executive marketing consultant for True&Co, a wildly successful ecommerce startup specializing in custom-fitted women¹s lingerie.