5 tips for good logos: Tip #2: Color need not apply

Tip #2: Color need not applyColor is not the answer. When designing your logo dont get hung up on color. While color is important, a good logo starts in black and white. The test of a good logo is stripping it of all its embellishments and color and resulting with a logo that is just as recognizable as before. Before you start trying Pantone after Pantone looking for the magic color that will “look right”, try reducing your logo to just black and white.

Forcing yourself to work with this pallete will help you create a logotype or symbol that is strong enough on its own, that color then serves to strengthen logo recognition. Take McDonalds golden arches, for instance. The arches, a clean symbol, are further recognizable when given the famous yellow, or “golden” color. Look at the variety of things McDonald’s can now do with their logo. From a simple, black set of arches and the word McDonald’s, to a colored reverse, to a full-on 3D logo – a strong foundation allows McDonalds this freedom.

The golden arches, in black - are still arches.Larger corporations have already taken into account that their logo will undergo faxing, emailing, scanning and reproduction by many authors and using a plethora of tools to do so. How often do you think about how well your logo reproduces when faxed to someone in black and white? Does it turn into a duotone splotchy mess? If so, back to the black and white drawing board.

The big companies also incur larger advertising costs and are always on the lookout for ways to cut down on these costs. This plays into logo design more than most people realize, or give credence to. A two-color logo is far easier to print and reproduce than a 4 color job. Increasing the number of colors used ramps up printing costs exponentially and can inhibit you from creating certain promotional products. Glows, fades and other transparency based color tricks dont reproduce well when it comes to putting this logo on shirts and hats. Multi-color print jobs might also force you to find a printer than can accomodate your needs. The local printers in my area are pretty chimpy and many cannot even handle 4-color jobs!

Throw away that color wheel, burn that pantone chart and most importantly, have fun with your logo!

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