In one of my last entries I asked if your logo would survive the black and white test.
But the second most important decision in the logo design process (and an important question in general design) is about colour.
There is this saying about having no second chance to make a first impression. Colour plays an important role in that. I read some days ago that 80% of any first impression with brands, websites, packaging is based on colour. That's quite a lot when you think about it. Especially when you get it wrong. It's not about the General Manager's personal preference (or his wife's or your own) – it's about the right colour for the brand, the product or the business. It's not about decoration, it's about strategies.
There is a lot of information available online about colour, colour symbolism, colour psychology. The following list only shows a small part of what's important to know:
Blue: Trustworthy, committed, blue is perceived as a constant in our lives, blue has an equal appeal to men and women, blue is calming. Blue is the colour accepted by the majority of people. Is this why so many financial institutes and insurance companies use blue within their corporate design?
Green: The colour of peace and ecology, but also associated with health, relaxing, soothing, renewal, harmony, self-control: check out hospitals, pharmacies, charity organisations.
Yellow: Optimism, happiness, enlightenment, golden yellow carries the promise of a positive future, mentally stimulating, encourages communication, activates memory.
Orange: Warmth, energy, stimulates activity and appetite, encourages socialisation, generates either a 'love it' or a 'hate it' reaction.
Red: Has the most personal associations than any other colour, it's stimulating, energising, red increases enthusiasm, encouraging, protecting.
Purple: Shows royal and mystic qualities, eccentric, uplifting, offers a sense of spirituality.
Brown: Organic, natural, evokes orderliness, stability.
White: Purity, cleanliness, neutrality, enables fresh beginnings, aids metal clarity, evokes purification of thoughts or actions.
Gray: Timeless, solid, practical, classy.
Black: Authoritative, powerful, too much black can be overwhelming
But there is still more to think of, especially when you design for a global company. Some colours have different meaning in different cultures. For example, White is a colour of grief and death throughout Asia. Red is the traditional wedding colour in China, Yellow in China is reserved for royalty, in Japan pink is
equally popular with both genders, brown in Colombia would discourage
Over the last years the boom of so-called 'Web 2.0' companies brought a lot of logos in bright orange, bright cyan and bright green or in a mix of all three all over the web. So interchangeable, so often not in the right context with the brand or the business purpose. Sometimes so colourful that there was no room for any association left. This trend seems to disappear slowly now.
It takes time and a good discussion with the client before choosing and implementing a colour for a successful brand.