The Meaning of Colors in Design

There are different meanings that colors convey, and they all have ideas and emotions associated with each of them, hence why the psychology behind each tone is a complex subject. This in-depth guide on color psychology will shed some light on the choice and use of color in our daily lives.


A color of excitement, passion and anger. It is a bold color that captures attention and can push people to make impulse purchases. Depending on how red is used, it can evoke both positive and negative feelings.

In Asia, red represents fortune and prosperity which is why you can see this color used during big celebrations like Chinese New Year. Meanwhile, in the West it symbolizes both love and power.
Some well-known brands that use red in their logo include Coca-Cola, Canon, Netflix and Lego.

If your brand is loud, youthful and is determined to stand out in the market, then this is the color you need.


Although used less frequently than red, orange is just as energetic. It is not as commanding as red yet still vibrant, invigorating and playful. Orange symbolizes creativity which is why you can see brands like Nickelodeon using this color in their logo. This shade can create a cheerful and inviting image. Also, peach can give a more feminine and soft feel while a terracotta orange is an earthy color that is more comforting.


Yellow is a positive color that revolves around sunshine, warmth and happiness. The emotions conveyed by yellow color are cheerfulness, affordability and youthful energy. This color is the right choice for those looking for a friendly and accessible appearance.

Yellow is used by both luxury and affordable brands. Ferrari and IKEA have chosen yellow for their logo. This color is also great to choose for something that needs attention as it is the color that the human eye sees first.


Since this color is extremely versatile, green works for technically any brand, especially for the brands with an intention to establish a connection to nature. Green also symbolizes growth, health and generosity. No wonder green is often used for pharmacies and to advertise medical products. It is also the color of money which is why green can be associated with wealth and a deeper shade can be used to create a luxurious logo.

Some brand examples include John Deere, Lacoste and Starbucks.


A common and classic color that is both calming and cool, blue is also a tone that symbolizes trustworthiness and maturity which is why you can see blue used for trust certificates. More positive meanings of this shade include harmony and stability. Some negative meanings of blue include depression and coldness.

Overall, it is a safe, classic and universally liked color. Some real-life examples include the United Nations who have used light blue in their flag to symbolize peace and calmness. Many tech brands have also chosen this tone for their logo like Twitter, Facebook and HP.


This color is mostly considered to be luxurious; however, the shade of this color can influence the meaning as well, making the purple tone appear mysterious and eclectic. While purple is often referred to as a feminine color and usually liked more by women, in combination with black and gray tones, it becomes more gender-neutral, making it a great accent color.

In the West, purple is often seen as the color of royalty and wealth. This meaning comes from the fact that purple fabric used to be extremely expensive to make, therefore it was reserved for royalty.

Cadbury, Hallmark and Milka all use purple for their brand but all of these logos give a different feel because of the different shades they have chosen.


Pink is traditionally used for girly designs. Nevertheless, specific shades of pink, like pastel rose, millennial pink or neon magenta, can give your brand a look that is both youthful and feminine, yet mature and cool.

Although mainly used for feminine brands like Barbie and Victoria Secret, mobile communications brand T-Mobile have also chosen pink for their designs. Different generations have different perceptions about color meaning, therefore pink doesn’t have to be exclusively used for feminine brands anymore.


Brown is the color of earth and warmth that gives a friendly feeling. It symbolizes reliability and dependability.

This color, although often considered a strange choice at first, is quite versatile. It works great for both rugged and masculine vintage logos and modern designs. In addition, brown gives a handmade, unique and aged look to the brand's design, while in combination with green, it can give an organic feel.

Overall, brown is more often used as a background color but USP is one of the well-known examples that uses this shade to symbolize their reliability.


A great choice for a sleek, luxurious and modern look. It symbolizes magic, elegance, power and sophistication.

Black is a versatile color. If you want to keep your design simple, a minimalist black and white logo is the way to go and that is exactly what many iconic brands like Chanel and Dior do. An addition of gold or purple will add to the luxury feel. On the opposite hand, black in combination with red, orange or any other bright color can create an powerful logo.


White has the meaning of purity. For those wanting to keep their brand clean, modern and minimalist, lots of white color is one of the best solutions. Since it is a neutral color, it compliments all the other tones by adding a clean and youthful touch. Often white is combined with gray and black to keep the minimalist feel.

Some examples of a white logo include ASOS and Adidas. Both of these brands are modern and youthful and the white logo is a great addition to their brand story.


Gray is a timeless color that symbolizes neutrality. Although gray can have a negative connotation, it goes together with pretty much any color, allowing brighter shades to pop and create an impact. Gray is a gender-neutral but in combination with other colors, it can give a more feminine or masculine feel. For example, soft pink with light gray will give brand feminine image. On the other hand, a monochromatic color selection can be used to create a calming and minimalist design.

Combining colors

Whether you go with single or multiple colors depends on what the brand wants to convey. Multiple-color logos can imply diversity while a single color can create a bigger impact and keep cultural differences in mind if your brand is global. The color wheel can make it easier to determine, which colors fit together best.

It is established that complementary colors lie directly across from each other on the color wheel. These colors create a very dynamic look by bringing out the best of the two tones. Green and red, orange and blue, purple and yellow – these are all complementary colors.

Analogous colors are located close to each other on the wheel. For example, red and orange like in Mastercard logo. If you want to achieve color harmony in your logo, analogous colors are the ones for you.

Triadic colors are found in three equal sections on the color wheel. Take Firefox logo for example. Yellow, red and blue create a logo that is bright and loud. These colors can help you achieve a bold and stimulating effect in your logo.




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