Our team is made up of designers and printers. We often find ourselves designing new logos for our customers. Working together with Blackwood Creative, our focus is on marketing and growing businesses. One of the important parts of a logo is color. We’ve seen a wide variety of colors desired on a logo. From straight black to the rainbow (literally, a lady sent us a photo of the color wheel and said she “liked these colors”).
We always point our customers toward the two-color concept. Pick one main color and one supporting color. Notice Zipp’s colors are Cyan and Dark Gray. Then we allow a tertiary color (third supporting color) that we suggest for use on the website and other places that a third color would help. So, when you find yourself asking, “How many colors should my logo have,” the answer is two. We often get asked why we suggest only two colors in the logo. Well, here are a couple reasons why.
- Printing – We’d be remiss if we didn’t start with printing. In the commercial printing world, more colors means more cost. Many small presses in shops like ours are 2 color presses. So, if your logo has 3 colors, it gets run through the machine twice. That’s more labor, more waste, more opportunity for error, and overall more cost. See, each color is printed on the paper one at a time. The colors have to line up perfectly. This applies is shirts as well. Each color is applied separately. That’s why you see a lot of one-color shirts.
- Style – Even though we started with printing, this is a more important reason to have only 2 colors in your logo. Our brains do everything they can to preserve energy. So when we’re presented with a busy and complicated logo, our brain just moves on. They don’t want to digest all the small details to grasp the concept. We always point to the big brands for this concept. Look at Apple, Nike, FedEx, etc. Their logos are one or two colors. The design is simple yet meaningful. Look at Starbucks, their logo is more complicated, but they stick with one color. The single color gets digested quickly by the brain and the brain can move on to the details within the logo. FedEx’s logo is two colors which allows us to notice the arrow between the E and the x.
So, why should your logo only have two colors? Because it looks better, is easier to digest, and less expensive to print. Those are good reasons for us. But, we also wanted to leave you with a few more tips when designing your logo. Let us know if you have any to add to this list.
- Build the logo in black on a white background. A great logo is still great in one color, especially black and white.
- Keep the fonts simple, yet unique. Avoid fonts like Papyrus or Comic Sans.
- Avoid gradients. Gradients don’t print well.
- Make sure your logo is designed in Illustrator. Photoshop is not meant for designing logos.
- Make sure it looks good at half an inch and 10 feet wide. It should look good as a tiny Facebook icon on a phone and on a billboard.
- Find that balance of simple, but not boring.
- Build meaning into your logo, but don’t over-complicate it.