Colour affects our emotions and behaviours and plays a critical role in designing a successful logo. Yet it’s one of the elements of logo design that small business owners who want to create their own logo feel the most uncertain about.
So today, we’re going to help you understand a bit more about colour, how it affects our choices, and how to use it more effectively when creating your own logo.
A Closer Look at Logo Colors, With Examples From Envato Elements
Envato Elements is a great place to find the best logo colour schemes. Envato Elements offers over 5,000 logo designs to suit a wide variety of tastes and needs, and each template is completely customisable. You'll find some of the best logo color combinations available.
For one low monthly fee, you can download as many of these digital assets as you like, as often as you like. All the colour logo designs featured in this article are available there.
What’s in a Logo Colour?
Colour psychology experts have studied how colour affects our emotions and behaviours for years. What they've found is that gender, personal preference, upbringing, and culture can all diversify our responses to certain colours.
So if you want to know the best colours to use in your logo design, you first have to understand how and why people respond to colour and how using different colours will influence people’s perception of your brand. Bear in mind, though, that the products or services you provide will and should influence the colours you use to represent your business.
In his article by 99designs on How to choose the right logo color, we find that, "just like colors, your brand has a personality of its own, and consumers go after products that match their own personalities."
Colour Terms You Should Know
Before exploring different color logo alternatives, there are a few terms that are going to come up in this article. So let me define them for you before we get started.
- Hue vs. Colour. Colour is an umbrella term used to describe hue, tint, tone, or shade, while hue refers to the dominant colour family of a specific colour on the colour wheel. For example, red is a hue, but pink is a tint (see below). Blue is a hue, but twilight is a shade (see below).
- Tints. A tint is created when white is added to a hue, thus making the colour lighter, e.g. when white is added to red it creates pink.
- Shades. A shade is created when black is added to a hue, thus making the colour darker, e.g. when black is added to blue, it creates twilight.
- Tones. A tone is produced by mixing a hue with grey.
- Primary Colours. There are three primary colours: red, blue, and yellow.
- Secondary Colours. Combining any two of those primary colours will give you a secondary colour. Red + Blue = Purple, Yellow + Blue = Green, Red + Yellow = Orange.
- Tertiary Colours. A third set of colours called tertiary colours are created when equal amounts of a primary and a secondary colour that are adjacent to each other on the colour wheel are mixed, e.g. a mixture of 50% yellow and 50% green would result in the tertiary colour of yellow-green.
- Warm colours. Red, yellow, and orange evoke a warm feeling because they remind us of things like the sun or fire.
- Cool colours. Blue, green, and purple evoke cool feelings because they remind us of cool things like water or grass.
A Closer Look at Logo Colours
Now that we’ve gotten these terms out of the way, we can take a look at the emotional impact of colour:
One of the primary colours, red is typically associated with strong or passionate emotions like love, confidence, excitement, and passion, and it has been known to make people hungry. On the flip side, it's also associated with anger and danger.
Fish Grill Colorful Logo Design in Red (AI, EPS, PDF, PNG, PSD)
Orange is a combination of the primary colours yellow and red. It's an energetic and refreshing colour that communicates enthusiasm, excitement, and warmth.
Webb App Business Logo With Colors (AI, EPS, JPG, PDF, PNG, PSD, SVG)
A cheerful and warm colour, yellow is the most eye-catching of colours and is associated with optimism, self-esteem, extraversion, and friendliness. Yellow can conversely induce feelings of frustration and anger.
Energetic Yellow Logo Color Schemes (AI, EPS, PNG, JPG)
Blue brings to mind the sky and the ocean and is a calming and serene colour which promotes tranquillity and peace. It’s also associated with intelligence, trustworthiness, and stability.
Blue Combination Logo (AI, EPS, PSD, PDF, PNG, JPG)
Green brings to mind nature and abundance, so it's no wonder that it’s associated with money, fertility, good health, balance, and good luck. It's known to create soothing and calming feelings.
Business Logo With Colors for Green Brand (AI, EPS)
Purple is a spiritual or regal colour associated with luxury, royalty, imagination, quality, and truth.
Design for Brands With Purple Logo (EPS)
Brown can be created by adding different colours together. It's associated with the earth and the natural world and communicates nature, earthiness, reliability, and warmth.
Vintage Coffee Logo Design (AI, EPS, JPG, PNG)
Scientifically, black isn’t considered a colour; it's the absence of light. In the world of art and design, however, it's a colour and is associated with sophistication, glamour, and substance. It can also be associated with heaviness, menace, coldness, and death.
Black Sheep Business Logo Colors (AI, EPS, JPG, PDF, PNG, PSD)
White contains all the wavelengths of visible light and, like black, scientifically isn’t a colour. However, again in the world of art and design it's associated with simplicity, purity, innocence and cleanliness, but can also be considered cold, sterile, or bland.
When it comes to choosing logo colours, another point to keep in mind is that women and men tend to prefer different colour and women tend to gravitate to softer colours like tints, while men tend to prefer hues or shades of colours.
12 Outdoor Badges & Logo (AI, EPS, PSD)
For example, pink is a tint of red and is often associated with femininity, kindness, softness, compassion, and love. It also evokes a certain calm.
Floral Design for Brands with Pink Logos (AI, EPS, JPG, PDF, PSD, SVG)
Grey is a shade created by adding black to white. It's considered to be an emotionless and moody colour that can be used to communicate formality, conservativeness, and sophistication.
Modern Grey & Orange Combination Logo (AI, EPS, PDF)
Best Colour Combinations for Business Logos
Selecting the best logo colours isn’t about choosing the colours you think are the prettiest or the best logo color schemes. You need to consider colour meaning in logo design. Strategically assess the impact of the logo colour combinations you choose on your target audience, and select company logo colours they'll respond to positively.
To help you come up with the best logo colour combinations, we’ve put together a collection of the best colour combinations for business logos. These are used by top global corporations and corresponding examples to show how you can borrow from them to create your own logo colour schemes:
1. Monochromatic Logo Colour Schemes
Monochromatic logo color schemes use only one hue, but can use various shades, tones and tints of that hue to create the perfect logo. This approach to logo colours is among the best logo color schemes. It's the cleanest and simplest to use. Here are four approaches to monochromatic logo colour schemes:
PayPal is a good example of a company that uses monochromatic company logo colours successfully. Their text logo combines both a shade of blue and a tint of blue to create logo colours meaning "we’re stable and trustworthy".
These colours can be transposed to a variety of businesses. The Time Machine Logo Template is a great example of how they look on another type of logo.
Now we move into some brands that are in the grey area of the monochromatic colour scheme.
Nike, for example, could be considered to use a monochromatic colour scheme, as the company’s simple swoosh is usually black against white. However, it can also be white depending on the background it's shown against. This is something that Apple also does. Though these two colours are opposites, both these companies have used them interchangeably as logo colours meaning sophistication and simplicity.
If you’re interested in seeing how the simplicity and elegance both companies bring to their logos can translate in other logos, check out the Drop Logo Template.
Like Nike and Apple, Coca-Cola falls into a grey area of the monochromatic colour scheme. Most often their famous text logo is white against a red background, but sometimes the logo itself is red instead of white.
While the red colour symbolises passion and vitality and is meant to activate hunger, the white colour represents the elegance of the Coca-Cola brand.
Though the advice for a company looking to create a logo is to pick a logo and stick to it, one of the things that was interesting about many of the companies on this list is that the logo they started with is often starkly different from the logo they now use.
The logo for Starbucks is no exception. The Starbucks company logo colour has gone through four changes to arrive at the current minimalist and monochromatic colour scheme featuring a green circle stencil which, when placed on their white cups, shows their mermaid graphic.
2. Analogous Logo Colour Schemes
An analogous logo colour scheme uses colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel. These colour combinations are usually harmonious and pleasing to the eye.
One of the Big Four global professional services firms, PwC rebranded in 2010 with a logo which set them apart from the pack and is definitely one of the best logo colour combinations of any large corporation. By choosing an eye-popping array of reds, pinks, yellows and oranges for its company logo colour combinations, PwC established themselves as innovative and daring as well as energetic, friendly, approachable, and passionate.
This is a good lesson for any business: if you want to stand out, be different. So think of the best color for a business logo that stands out from the bunch.
If you’re interested in bringing the same qualities to your own logo, the Morning Talk logo template is a good example of how you can apply the same colour combo principles to your logo. It's one of the best color combinations for a logo.
BP is another company that uses an analogous logo colour scheme. Its logo uses greens and yellow to create a sun and calls to mind nature, health, optimism, and balance.
Looking for good colours for logos? The Salmon logo template is a great example of how an analogous colour scheme would work for many other businesses. Try out this color combination for a logo.
3. Complementary Logo Colour Schemes
Complementary colours are opposite each other on the colour wheel. The high contrast of logos with complementary colors creates a vibrant look that can be a bit much, but there are quite a few companies that have used them and used them well.
Firefox is one of those companies that uses logos with complementary colors. Who isn’t familiar with their combo of blue and orange, which are good logo colours meaning intelligence, trustworthiness, and stability, coupled with enthusiasm and excitement?
Whereas Firefox uses a straightforward complementary pairing, FedEx takes a slightly different approach, and by doing so created one of the best logo colour combinations and certainly one of the most popular. Instead of pairing orange with blue, they use a blue-purple tertiary which happily is close enough to blue to work very well.
Create your own complementary color combination for a logo with this gradient logo template. It's one of the best logo color combinations.
4. Tetradic Logo Colour Schemes
The tetradic colour scheme, also known as the double complementary scheme, is one of the richest of all colour schemes as it uses two pairs of complementary colours. The Microsoft logo is a great example of how to do this in a fun yet corporate fashion.
If you want to create your own logo using double complementary colours, try the Colorful Charity Logo template. It's one of the best color combinations for a logo.
5. Triadic Logo Colour Schemes
Triadic logo colour schemes have three colours equally spaced around the colour wheel. The easiest way to identify them is by using a triangle of equal sides and placing the tip at your primary colour of choice on the colour wheel. The other two points will land on the corresponding colours of the triadic.
Burger King uses one of the best-known triadic logo colour schemes, and if you’re looking for an equally vibrant combination, take a look at the Space logo template.
That's it! Now you have an idea of how different colours schemes work for different purposes. Deciding on the best logo colours isn’t easy or straightforward. Experimentation is the key.
Before you start working on your next logo, take a look at the Logo Design Trends for 2022. Discover good colours for logos trending this year. Check out some of the best color schemes for logos. Follow along with us over on our Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel:
Are you thoroughly inspired and want to create your own logo colour schemes? Placeit’s Logo Maker is an option for the best colour combinations for business logos. It's a fun, hands-on, low-stress way for design novices to try out various logo ideas. The logo maker from Placeit offers thousands of beautiful logo templates to work out the best logo colours in no time. Try out the best color schemes for logos!
Select Your Best Logo Colour Combinations
Follow the steps outlined here, check out the templates, and let us know in the comments below if you’ve found the perfect logo colour scheme for your company and which it is. We’d love to hear from you.
Ensure you're up-to-date, read our roundup of the latest 2022 colour trends or check out our post on the jewel tones colour trend. We've got a great post on colour psychology that you'll love. Last, but not least, check out the articles and tutorials we've selected for you:
- 43 Best Butterfly Logo Designs (Butterfly Business Logos to Download)Nona Blackman25 Mar 2022
- 40+ Cool Star Logo DesignsNona Blackman07 Sep 2022
- 37 Best Lightning Bolt & Power Logo DesignsNona Blackman06 Sep 2022
Editorial Note: This post has been updated with contributions from Janila Castañeda. Janila is a staff writer with Envato Tuts+.