Using Colours In Logo Design

The psychology of colour in branding and logo design is a fascinating subject to explore. Colour can be used as a powerful tool to influence our thoughts and emotions at an unconscious level, so it’s little wonder that theory of colour provokes so much discussion and controversy. A cursory internet search reveals a rainbow of diagrams and infographics with advice such as: Red conveys power and passion, green is soothing, yellow is cheery – but is that all there is to it?

Take a look at how these famous brands have made the colours work in for them.

Cadbury’s Purple

The colour purple is associated with sophistication and luxury. Confectionery giant Cadbury has used its rich and distinctive shade of purple in its packaging for a hundred years. Cadbury’s purple, technically known as Pantone 2865c, became something of a cause celebre when Cadbury took to the law to register it as a colour trade mark. If allowed, this would protect the brand by preventing competitors within the same market sector from fooling customers with confusing lookalikes. In an epic ten year legal tug-of-war with Nestle, the two giants battled it out. Cadbury was eventually forced to concede defeat in 2014, but the fight for Pantone 2865c might yet reignite.

Subverting the Colour Pink

Most colour infographics will tell you that pink is a feminine colour which elicits feelings of softness and innocence. But in a stroke of branding genius, the Sex Pistols twisted the sweet nature of pink into an aggressive, in-your-face blast. Subverting pink in this way, and combining it with a fierce, primary yellow brings on an intense discordance that is every inch Sex Pistols.

The Colours of Fast Food

Check out the logos of many fast food chains and you’ll notice a common theme in the choice of colours: a combination of brilliant red and glowing yellow. It might seem obvious that these are exciting, attention grabbing colours, but it is also claimed that they can trigger appetite and encourage a sense of urgency. This not only gets customers in the mood for fast food fare, but it also makes them more likely to eat quickly. It goes right to the core of the fast food restaurant model – to get customers through the door and speedily satisfy their cravings so that customer throughput is kept to the max.

The No-Colour Logo that Grabs Attention

The expression ‘less is more’ is bandied about a lot in the world of logo design. Ogio wine has taken this principle to the extreme with its sleek, slate grey brand colour and perfectly circular hole taking the place of an image. With absolutely no distracting details or extraneous information, Ogio’s supercool branding makes the bottle stand out on the supermarket shelf, drawing the eye of customers away from its competitors. It really works!

It is clear that the effects if colour in branding and logo design can be complex and surprising. Get it right and the colours you choose will catch the eye, resonate with your target audience and convey deeper meaning about your brand.

What’s In A Name? Branding A New Business

Choosing a name for your new business is a big deal. It is one of the first things you need to decide when starting out, and once chosen it will influence everything else, from logo and website design, to business cards and promotional material. But most of all, just as your own name stays with you, so will your business name. Although it might be possible to change it down the line if you find you’ve made a horrible mistake, that scenario is best avoided by getting it right first time.

So, no pressure then. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Think of your customers

This might seem obvious, but the name you settle on for your new business must appeal to your target audience. For example, tech-savvy youngsters are not likely to be attracted to the same name as their steam-age grandparents. In terms of brand identity and reputation your business name will be front row, centre. It will play a key role in attracting customers and promoting your business, so think about the message your name conveys.

Kick around ideas

A brainstorming session with others will spark new ideas and also help narrow down the field. You might think of words like ‘safe, reliable and trustworthy’, or use an entirely different pallete such as ‘exciting, vibrant and fun’. The name you choose needs to strike the right chord with your customers and reflect the vision and values of your business.

Descriptive or Creative?

If you want to play it safe, a descriptive name will do the job better than one that is creative. Many sole traders stick with their own name to promote their business, but this may not feel right for your start-up. Consider including a word that informs customers about your values, such as ‘eco’ or ‘green’, or a reference to your location.

Creative names are altogether more tricky. Puns can work well and attract attention, but you run the risk of making your customers feel dumb if they don’t get it. Tech companies and businesses hoping to build up a strong web presence might go for zappy or deliberately misspelled words – think Skype or Flickr. A word of warning: if you have that unique, killer name all ready to roll, make sure you do some thorough research before taking the plunge – you don’t want to land yourself with a name that is unintentionally inappropriate like these poor guys.

Fancy a bit of entertainment? 

Have a go with an online Business Name Generator. You type in a word related to your business – say ‘garden’ – and it generates a whole bunch of nutty made-up names for you to consider. So, ‘garden’ becomes Gardenicious, Dynagarden and Gardenosis. Well, OK, maybe not.

and finally…

Invest in a professional

Choosing a name for your new business should be exciting and fun, but it can become fraught with dilemmas. If it starts to feel like an overwhelming and gruelling task, don’t struggle to the point of exhaustion – seek advice from the experts. A professional designer will work alongside you to help decide on a name that will give your new business the best possible start.

What On Earth Were They Thinking?

When it comes to branding fails, there seems to be a general rule: the bigger they are, the more spectacular the goof. Here’s a round up of some of the more memorable big brand fails across the years.


Relaunching a well established brand is always a risky move, but PepsiCo, makers of supermarket bestseller Tropicana, really pulled out all the stops with its new look Tropicana carton in 2009. The original Tropicana OJ packaging certainly ticked all the right boxes for branding success. With its eye-catching design of a whole orange pierced with a jaunty drinking straw, and the distinctive Tropicana brand name emblazoned across the top, shoppers had no trouble reaching for the right carton without a moment’s thought. Then came the rebrand. Oh dear. The original, unique design was replaced with a super-safe, generic picture of a glass of juice, and an almost apologetic looking Tropicana script clinging vertically to the edge.

Supermarket shoppers reaching the juice section were confused. Where was the Tropicana? Many of them overlooked new packaging, mistaking it for the in-store bargain brand juice. Sales plummeted, and it took PepsiCo just a month to announce that it would revert Tropicana to the original packaging – smart move.

Touch of Yoghurt Shampoo

Shampoo manufacturers are forever experimenting with new ideas and enticing new ‘flavours’. Sometimes it seems that anything goes – chilli pepper, beer, chocolate – but how about yoghurt? If you’re thinking ‘hmm, soured milk in my hair, what a great idea’ then you’re in a tiny minority. The Clairol product bombed and was almost immediately withdrawn from the market. Nice try though.

Earring Magic Ken

In 1992, Barbie went earring crazy with ‘Mix and Match Earring Magic for Barbie and You!’ Girls loved the idea, and the new doll went down a storm. Flushed with success, Mattel hit upon another brilliant idea: Earring Magic Ken! Given a ‘cool’ makeover of blond highlights and pierced left ear, fetching lavender faux-leather vest and matching mesh shirt, Ken hit the shops. Sales were buoyant – in fact, Earring Magic Ken quickly became the best selling Ken model ever – but fans of this particular Ken were definitely not Mattel’s target customers. Dubbed ‘gay Ken’ in the media, the mums and dads of Barbie enthusiasts made it very clear they were not amused. Mattel hastily withdrew the product from sale, and Earring Magic Ken bit the dust.

Colgate Kitchen Entrees

Sometimes you can see the logic behind the idea, but somehow it doesn’t quite work. Colgate Kitchen Entrees is a case in point. Think Colgate, think clean teeth, so the concept of a ready meal adorned with the Colgate logo doesn’t seem so incongruous. Trouble is, the unconscious association between the taste of food and the taste of minty toothpaste is very confusing and, really, not terribly pleasant. Little wonder that Colgate Kitchen Entrees crashed and burned.

So, hats off to all the big corporations out there taking risks to keep us entertained – it would be a dull world without them!

Retro Logos

Vintage is everywhere. From the revival of flip phones to the relaunch of the ZX Spectrum, retro mania is on the up and up. And while you might think that demand for such gadgets comes from nostalgic 40-somethings, it’s clear that youngsters who missed out on the technology first time round want a piece of the action too – resurgence of retro-tech sales of vinyl records and the ‘new’ polaroid instant camera is led by the 18-24 demographic.

 Time Honoured Logo Designs

With such an appetite for all things retro, it’s little wonder that logo design is being swept along by the current trend. But what about the ‘real’ old school logos from the past? Not all of them have been lost in the mists of time – the real classics have staying power, remaining resolutely unchanged over the years, refusing to morph with passing fashions.

British Rail

In the 1960s, Britain’s transport industry was in a state of flux. The allure of the open road beckoned motorists with the promise of freedom, while travel by train looked increasingly unappealing and outdated. In a bid to modernise its image, British Railways commissioned a radical rebranding campaign.


After considering dozens of professional designs, the honour finally went to Gerry Barney whose design remained unmodified from his first back-of-an-envelope sketch. Like all good designs, the logo cleverly incorporates several elements with clarity and elegance – parallel lines and two interlocking arrows to symbolise the railway network. It rapidly became one of our most familiar and iconic logos and is still alive and kicking as the established symbol for UK railway stations. Despite its apparent simplicity, the ‘double arrow’ logo is surprisingly difficult to draw correctly from memory – go on, give it a try.

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND)


Designed in 1958, the CND Logo has become a classic icon for peace movements the world over. Its enduring appeal is testament to the skill of Gerald Holtom, a professional designer with a deep affinity for the cause. The symbol is particularly effective as a pin badge. This proved to be the perfect medium for spreading awareness to the masses, and worked brilliantly as an early form of viral campaigning.

Amnesty International


TheAmnesty Candle blends two concepts by combining two separate visual elements. First there is the burning candle, a symbol of hope, while the encircling barbed wire evokes a sense of oppression. The result is a very simple yet powerful image which is still recognised and respected the world over.

Retro Revival

The interesting thing about these three logos is that they have not dated. Society and technology has changed around them, but they have retained their integrity and look perfectly at ease in the world today. The current trend towards ultra flat, pared down design might seem like a new thing – after all, this trend is driven by the latest design technology for smartphones and smart watches – but these logo designers got there first.

How many of retro-revival designs of today will prove to be as resilient as these classics?

How To Develop A Coherent Brand Style

If tales from the world of big business branding have taught us anything, it has to be this: Once you’ve established your brand identity and built up a loyal customer base, think very, very carefully before changing a thing. High street retailer Gap is one such giant to find out to its cost how unwise a hasty rebrand can be. In the run-up to Christmas 2010, without warning, the company replaced its familiar iconic logo for an insipid unknown. Customers loyal to the brand whipped up a backlash that was swift and merciless. This prompted a speedy change of heart from Gap: the new-look logo lived for a mere six days.

Branding is Reputation

Gap learnt the hard way that once your brand is on a solid footing, there is great danger in suddenly veering off course in response to a passing fad or in pursuit of new customers. Consistency is key, and a coherent brand style is especially important when it comes to websites and social media. With so much click-bait out there luring people away, you may only get a few seconds to make an impact and build a lasting impression.

Most big brands know this only too well. They publish Style Guides to inform employees, businesses and the public of the rules they need to follow to guarantee the consistency of the brand. Also known as the Brand Bible, these guides set out strict instructions on what can and can’t be done with core visuals such as logo, colours and layout.

Take a look at these examples. You may not think you need a full Brand Bible of your own, but they will give you some idea of what a brand style guide has to offer.


Skype Brand Book

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The Skype Brand Book may have an informal, witty style, but the underlying message is clear: Do Not Stray Outside These Rules! It covers everything from how the logo must appear and what you are definitely not allowed to do with it, to permitted typeface and colours, how to make a Skype cloud and how to decorate your cloud with a few of their authorised illustrations. By the end you will certainly begin to appreciate that consistency and coherence of the Skype brand is of great importance… and then some.



Cambridge University

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By contrast, the University of Cambridge guide to branding is formal in tone, but the rules are very similar. There are instructions on the size and positioning of the logo, the approved colour palette, typography and layout.



Channel 4

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The Channel 4 Identity Style Guide treads familiar territory with instructions on the correct size and positioning of the logo, font and colour choice, but it also has interesting guidance on Tone of Voice and Writing Copy. Channel 4 has a brand identity that is irreverent and challenging, and this is reflected in the overall spirit of their Style Guide: it feels somewhat less stifling and more open to playfulness.

These examples show the importance of developing a coherent brand style. Putting together a basic guide will help you to keep your branding consistent, establish your identity and encourage brand loyalty in your target audience.

Is Your Logo Standing Out From The Crowd?

Picture this. A lavish wedding cake set on a silver stand. Your imaginary cake probably looks something like this: A tower of multiple tiers decorated with perfectly smooth, white icing and perhaps a cascade of sugar flowers and a miniature happy couple standing together on the top.

Just as a wedding cake is made up of a number of recognisable component parts, your logo will be put together using a selection of intrinsic design elements. But how do you give it that certain extra something to make it stand out from all the crowd?

Here are four tips to make your Logo stand out:

1. Fit In

Your logo is integral to your brand – it needs to communicate a strong message to your customers so that they understand in an instant who you are and the kind of business you’re in. That’s a lot to ask from a simple, visual design, but if you check out logos of similar businesses, you’ll find that they generally share certain qualities. For example, tech company logos such as HP, Dell and Intel, tend to opt for a cool blue colour palette and uncluttered, businesslike design. Fast food logos have a buzzier, more exciting feel by using loud colours and flashy fonts. Take a look at the logos of your competitors – do they share particular characteristics? You may not want your logo to blend in to the point where it becomes indistinguishable from the rest, but nor do you want it to look like a complete o utsider.

2. Focus on your Core Values

It may seem like an airy-fairy thing to do, but identifying the principles and beliefs that underpin your business will help you to bring meaning and integrity to your logo. Communicating your core values through your logo will attract the attention of your target audience and start to build up that all important brand loyalty.

3. Add that Special Ingredient 

What does your business have to offer that sets you apart from your competitors? If you can identify the elements that make your business special and incorporate them into your design, you will have a logo that stands out from the crowd. Sometimes it is that bit of extra flair that makes all the difference, especially if it conveys the unique character of your business.

4. Test it Out

Getting feedback at the design stage will help you avoid the expensive and embarrassing mistake of going live with an ill-judged logo. It’s also worth testing your logo to see how it looks in different formats such as scaled up or down, on printed material, promotional goods and in greyscale.

Standing out from the crowd is only one element of an effective logo design, there are many other aspects to consider along the way. Just as a wedding cake needs to be memorable for all the right reasons,your logo requires skillful design to bring it to life and make it uniquely yours. Once you own a logo to be proud of, you can put it straight to work to draw in customers and get your business off to a flying start.


Is Your Logo A Shirker Or A Worker?

Whether you know it or not, your logo is an intrinsic part of your workforce, a tireless ambassador for your brand. Or, at least, that’s how it ought to be. A well designed logo really can be a powerful asset to your business, pulling in your target customers and winning brand loyalty. To achieve this, your logo needs to look the part and give off all the right signals as it makes its way in the world.

A logo built on firm foundations will have genuine confidence and integrity that will set it ahead of the competition. Take a look at these examples of classic logos, and notice how they embody the character and spirit of their brand with strength and assurance.


Designed in 1953, the JCB logo is a familiar sight on JCB diggers, trucks and forklifts the world over. With its no-messing-around lettering and distinctive black and yellow colour scheme, the logo picks up the flavour of those warning hazard stripes that are frequently used around construction sites. If you take a look around at companies in a similar line of business, you’ll see a theme developing. The Caterpillar Company CAT goes for the same distinctive yellow and black colour scheme with its iconic CAT Triangle. This famous yellow triangle even brings in additional revenue of the company through merchandising, making it a nice little earner. JCB is also tuned in to this additional stream of revenue with the JCB Shop selling everything from JCB scale models to watches, hats and USB sticks.



Generations of children have grown up with Lego, so it’s little wonder that Lego has the go-to logo when it comes to branding toys and games. Established in Denmark in 1932, the logo has evolved over the years into the simple, bright red and yellow friendly lettering we know today. The rounded, playful font choice has been part of the design since the 1950s, and has become a benchmark for branding products aimed at children. Other toy logos with the bright colours/bubbly font combination include Play-doh and Crayola.



Launched in 1961 this global charity has one of the most iconic and enduring logos of all time. The founders wanted a symbol to embody the plight of all endangered species driven close to extinction, and the Giant Panda was the perfect choice. All credit to conservationist Sir Peter Scott, who had both the vision and design skills to create the original logo. Apart from a few tweaks over the years, the WWF Panda is still going strong and attracting supporters to the cause.

Creating a successful logo that reflects the personality of your business takes skill, artistic flair and a sound understanding of the principles of logo design. Invest in a designer to create your own unique logo, and it will give you years of loyal service representing your company and promoting your brand.



Tips For Making A Corporate Video Go Viral

What makes a corporate video go viral? Truth is, no-one really knows. There’s no magic formula, no tried and tested route to success. That might sound like a downer, but think of it this way: it opens up the field to one and all, adding spice and excitement to the whole enterprise. And even though there is no guaranteed method of making your video fly, it’s worth taking a look at the ones that have gone viral for ideas and inspiration.

So, if you are looking to turbo-boost your own promotional video, here are a few pointers for you to consider.

Start With a Solid Foundation.

The corporate videos that make it big have very firm roots – they are carefully designed to give a clear message to their customers and promote their brand. Your video is going out there to pitch your business to the world, to draw in your core customers and attract new ones. At the planning stage, consider how your video will appeal to your target audience. Focus on the core values of your business as a kick-off point: How will you creatively communicate these to your audience through your video? By pinning down the message you want to convey, you will create a video with integrity that resonates with your target audience.

A great example is the Dove brand Real Beauty Sketches video. In keeping with the Dove mission, this three minute video gives a powerful insight into the concept of beauty and encourages women to develop confidence in the way they look. The resulting video is strongly engaging and leaves a lasting impression.

Think of the Bigger Picture

If you are serious about making a video you hope will go viral, it’s best to integrate it into an overall marketing strategy rather than treat it as a one-off vanity project. Ask yourself what you want to accomplish. For example, if your goal is to attract customers and boost business, you need to build in a clear take-away message. A viral video that leaves people with no clue about who you are or where to find you is a hugely wasted opportunity. Make sure you design in these details at the planning stage, and brace yourself for the rush of customers if your video makes it big.

Plan the Plot-line

Many of the most successful videos have an overarching narrative to draw in the viewer and keep them watching to the end. Nothing illustrates this better than the Volvo Trucks video featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme performing The Epic Split Feat. Crafted to perfection? You bet!

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Keep it Short

This is where the art of skilful editing comes into its own. After making that all-important first click, most people will check the running time of a video before committing to watching the whole thing. Short videos stand more chance of going viral, so shave off as much as possible while keeping the overall structure intact. Hats off to Google for their super short Chrome: For Everyone series.

Using Colour During Logo Design

Colours are everywhere, speckled around our world in a multitude of alternative shades – each one different to the last. When it comes to designing a logo, you’ll need to think long and hard about selecting which kinds of colours to use. Sure, you may have your favourite tints and shades – the colours that you’ve always been keen on. But in order for a logo to work to the best of its ability you’ll need to put aside your personal tastes (for the most part) and think about what’s best for the consumer.

The Psychology Of Colour 

The very first thing to consider when applying colour to your logo design is the psychological effect that your chosen shade will have on the consumer. As we grow, our minds come to associate particular colours with particular traits, ideas and concepts. This means that colours have the ability to trigger a specific emotional response – stimulating the senses to provoke both positive and negative reactions. Listed here are some of the main shades you might apply to your logo, and their psychological effects:


The colour red is associated with strong emotions such as passion, intensity, urgency and love. Research has revealed that people react to this colour in strong ways (stimulated heart rate, increased sense of eagerness) which is why many brands use it to their advantage to encourage impulse buying. Red has also been proven to increase appetite – with McDonald’s and Walker’s being two examples of big brands who use this psychological effect to their benefit with their bright red logos.


The colour blue is often linked to the concept of peace, serenity and calmness. These effects make it perfect for a brand who wants a consumer to feel that they can trust them – which is what makes it a particularly popular choice among political parties. Blue is also related to the aspect of healthy communication – and is often used in work spaces that operate by means of brainstorming and teamwork. It’s no accident that both Facebook and Twitter use a bright shade of blue in their logos to advertise their highly communicative social media sites.


Green is a colour that people frequently tend to associate with health, happiness and good-will. It’s a natural choice for nature-based brands like Animal Planet and food produce brands like Starbucks, as it suggests clean, healthy development and manufacturing. It’s also a colour that’s related to the concept of relaxation, and products wishing to send out a soothing message to their consumer often slip in a shade of green into their logo to reinforce a sense of tranquility and ease.


Yellow is a little like the colour red in how it has the ability to generate strong emotions in human beings. It’s sunny and cheerful which provokes a happy reaction much of the time, but it has also been proven to instil a sense of self-belief, optimism and concentration in consumers too. It remains a popular choice for playful products and brands such as SPIKE TV and IKEA, but it’s also used frequently by companies wishing to draw on the consumer’s logical side – such as The Yellow Pages.

The use of colour can go a long way in terms of how it can effect a consumer. Think carefully about what sort of reaction you want your brand to provoke before deciding on a final shade. What’s your brand personality? Do you want a consumer to be happy, calm or stimulated they see your logo? Select the correct colour to help increase the logo’s overall impact.

The Stories Behind Famous Logos

Ever look at a logo and wonder how on earth the creators ever came up it? As a budding designer, no doubt this thought will have crossed your mind more than once – and there are actually some fascinating stories that hide behind a few of the world’s most famous logos. Listed below are some of the ways in which several of these recognisable designs came to fruition. Drawing on their inspiration might even assist you when it comes to creating your very own logo in the future.

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Salvador Dali Was Behind The Chupa Chups Lollipop Logo

That’s right – the mind behind surrealist masterpieces such as The Persistence Of Memory was actually the same mind that conjured up the design for Chupa Chups lollipops. Although nowhere near as strange as some of his typical work, Dali’s logo idea for wrapped candy on a stick still differed from many typical brands at the time. Instead of slapping the curly lettering on the side of the wrapper, he plonked the words on top – allowing for a distinguishable and easily readable name that the public would catch sight of without having to twirl the lollipop around in their hand. A small change – but a significant one.


The Word “Mom” Is Hidden In Wendy’s Collar

American fast-food diner Wendy’s has always tried to create the image of a company that produces food using home-cooked recipes like the ones your mother used to use. As such, the word “Mom” is actually visible on the collar of Wendy in the logo. Three blue stripes on either side symbolise the “M” letters, whereas the circular necklace represents the letter “O” in between. Cute, huh?


The NBC Logo Creates The Appearance Of A Peacock

If you take a closer look at the logo for the television broadcasting company NBC, you’ll notice that there’s a white space sandwiched between the six different sprouts of coloured shapes on either side. This was drawn specifically to create the appearance of a peacock spreading its wings – reflecting how “proud” NBC is of the programs it produces.


The Sony VAIO Logo Contains The Symbols For Analogue And Digital Signal 

The Sony VAIO logo is one of the most shrewd and intelligent logo designs you’re likely to find. The “V” and “A” are shaped in a wavy way to represent the signal for analogue, whereas the “I” and “O” are drawn in a way that makes them take the appearance of a “1” and “0” – the signal for digital. One quick glance at the Sony VAIO logo will reveal how the company dabbles in both analogue and digital modes of technology.


The Toyota Symbol Contains Three Hearts

The Toyota symbol is a little more intricate than the symbols used for other car companies, and that’s because it’s trying to say something rather specific. Within the symbol are three interconnected ellipses, all of which represent the unification of three separate hearts – the heart of the customer, the heart of the company, and the heart of progress in technology.