29 Aug 2018 The logic behind logo colours
When it comes to identifying with your brand, your logo is probably the first thing your customers will think of.
While focusing on the message behind your logo should be a priority, research suggests that your logo’s design, more specifically its colours, can have a more of an effect on your customers’ opinions than you might think.
“Knowing that humans might … be hardwired for certain hues could be a gateway into understanding the neural properties of emotion,” Neuroscientist Bevil Conway
Research compiled by web design and marketing company WebPageFX, suggests people make a subconscious judgment about a product in less than 90 seconds of viewing. Most of these people base that assessment on colour alone.
So, what is the best colour to use for your logo?
The freelance designer platform 99designs, has analysed 14,000 logos from around the world to see how popular colours within an industry sector compare with the desired personality attributes.
Their research revealed blue to be the dominant colour of logos in the accounting, healthcare, technology, property and marketing and PR sectors.
Healthcare, legal, property, accountancy and agricultural industries
The healthcare industry is particularly dominated by the blue family for logo design, as displayed in the table below, the shade appeared in 85% of the logos surveyed.
“This choice makes perfect sense when we consider what customers associate with the colour blue: knowledge, tranquillity, security and trust,” Pamela Webber, chief operating officer of 99designs.
It became apparent that Legal firms tend to favour one dominant colour, usually blue, grey or black, on its own or accompanied by a neutral secondary colour, whereas property development businesses have proven themselves to be more colourful. Yet more than two-thirds of the industry-leading logos still feature, yes you guessed it, blue.
Accountants also favour blue, black and white, I’m sensing a theme here… However, researchers noted that two of the top firms – PWC and Deloitte – have been successful at bucking the trend with yellows and oranges.
The agriculture industry tends to use earthy colours of green, brown, yellow and red, while tech brands rely on blue, white, black and red (no other colour appears in more than 12% of logos in the sector).
It’s very apparent that blue has become the safest colour to use for your logo if you are working in a professional industry sector. With its phycological links to trustworthiness and maturity is it possible we are hardwired to react to colours?
Red is favoured by big retailers, as its eye-catching shade makes it attractive to all vendors, this is clear to see when demonstrated in the below table.
However, researchers noticed a discrepancy between established companies and smaller, newer businesses.
Despite fielding expertise in creativity and branding, marketing and PR companies favour blue for their logo design – nearly half (43%) of the logos surveyed feature the tone. Black also proves popular, with 99designs highlighting WPP’s black, serif acronym as one that “presents a no-nonsense, strictly professional approach”.
“The marketing industry is a bit of a paradox when it comes to marketing logo colors,” said Webber.
“Many brands want to appear young and modern, but they don’t want their logos to stray too far from the traditional. And considering some of the bigger agencies date back to the 1800s, what you get is a lot of logos modelled on old-fashioned trends but with noticeably modernized upgrades.
“The challenge in choosing the right marketing logo colours, at least today, is to appeal to both sides. Communications brands want the professionalism of yesterday with the dazzling appeal of tomorrow. Logos have to be flashy enough to attract clients, but formal enough to be taken seriously.”