A beginner's guide to the psychology of color

Just as typography conveys a certain message in your design, color also has an influence! The colors in your logo serve as powerful psychological triggers (I did a whole 10-page research paper on this!). The key is using the colors that evoke the correct feelings for your business.

Let's take a look at the different colors:


Red is the most used color in logos due to it's intensity – and business owners are always anxious to grab people's attention. Red often evokes love, anger, passion and intensity – everything but calm or subtle. Many fast food restaurants use red as they are feeding off a customer’s intense desire to eat that kind of food or get immediate service. Ever notice how many fast food logos have red in them? There's a reason! 


Orange also covers a wide variety of emotions but one that stands out among them all is boldness. Enthusiasm is also another common one – orange is a very "energizing" color. Orange is not as powerful as red, but again, definitely not calm or subtle. Orange is a good color for a business that is bold but supplies innocent services such as toys, daycares, vacations, etc.


Because of its brightness, yellow evokes more happy emotions – like cheer, joy, and energy – than other colors. However, it's not a color that can be used in different shades – get too dark, and people start to think of sickness or decay. Yellow is more of a simplistic color, and used in many "family-friendly" environments.

Related: A beginner's guide to branding with color



Any guesses on what emotions green evokes? It's pretty obvious – finance, safety, and nature. Many outdoor recreation companies use green their logo to really push the "nature" aspect that is associated with using their products. Finance, and health food establishments are also great places to use green! 



Blue is the color most used by businesses because it conveys balance, security, and calm intelligence. Lighter blues lean more towards trustworthiness, where darker blues convey intelligence. Both are good, but it’s important to decide which one fits your business (and your audience) better!


Ever notice how there are not many purple logos? That's because purple evokes very specific emotions that we tend to feel less often than we should – ambition, dignity, independence. Not many people are drawn to purple either, so you need to have a specific clientele in mind if you plan on using purple. Businesses who deal with more vanity or high-class niches are the most common businesses to use purple. 


We don't see a lot of brown logos either, because brown is often limited to more masculine, outdoor businesses. Brown is most often associated with isolation and strength – thus, things like camping or going to coffee shops (which most people like to do alone) often have brown logos.

Black and White


Black and white should be used in moderation in logos – not many companies can get away with using JUST black and white. Black is a "power" color, and companies who want to convey that they are the best might use black. White logos are often associated with starting points – like weddings. 

Does the color of your logo accurately reflect what you want your business to convey?

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