Color Moods in Logo Design
The logo designer can already transmit a basic mood by the choice of color codes but their connotations can differ widely from culture to culture. For example, pink: In Europe it stands for softness and being childish, but in Korea it stands for trust. Typical uses of colors in North America and Western Europe include: Activity (Red, Orange, Yellow); Honesty (White, Blue, Green); Functionality (White, Grey, Black); Ideal (White, Blue, Gold); Cleverness (White, Blue, Silver); Performance (Blue, Gold, Red); Innovation (Violet, Orange, Silver); Objectivity (White, Grey, Blue); Speed (Silver, Red, Yellow).
Chromatic - achromatic contrasts
Achromatic monochrome (white, black and the range of codes between) combines very well with color. The resulting scheme is one of color but not of loudness, leaving an impression of unobtrusive stability. Contrasts of this type are a good basis on which to create balanced color schemes provided that pure colors are not combined with black. Yellow and black or red and black are two such combinations, appearing very intense and resulting in a signal character. It is very clear why they are often used in road signs or found in nature as with the wasp's warning sign of danger with its stripes.
The intensity of a color is described as saturation or chroma. Saturation is determined by how little or how much grey a color contains. In its purest form a hue is at maximum chroma; these are color codes that are not ''grayed''. They are described as clear, pure, brilliant, bright, reach, bold, vivid and/or true. The grayer or more neutral a color is, the less its saturation. Less saturated colors are described as soft, muted, subtle, toned-down, misty, dull or dusty.
The lightness or darkness of a color is called its value. Lightened values are tints, darkened values are shades and medium value colors are described as midtones. A variation in the light to dark arrangement or design is called a ''value pattern''. Keeping the value pattern minimized within a limited range creates an understated, subtle and restrained look that is seen as calm and quiet. Colors close in value have soft edges between them, while excitement and drama are suggested by sharp changes in value.
Cold colors, those conveying a feeling of cool seriousness, are to be found between the range of tone variations from green through to blue on the color wheel. Cold colors, when combined with each other, act to create distance and impersonality but at the same time an impression of seriousness and functionality. The combination of warm and cold colors can produce powerful contrasts in logo design. The temperature represented in the greater quantity determines the overall impression.
Colors - Simultaneous contrast color schemes
Colors vary in character according to their environment. This phenomenon is called simultaneous contrast. Achromatic borders increase the luminescence of a color. Seen against a dark background, color appears lighter than seen against a pale background. A pale background will force a color to the foreground, while a darker background will cause it to recede again. A cold color, if enclosed by a warm colored border, will appear cooler than it actually is, whereas the same color, instead set within a cold border, will appear warmer. A color code taken from a position consecutive on the color wheel to that of the foreground color will, if used as a background, decrease the prominence of the foreground color. The more complementary the background color code, in terms of its position on the color wheel, the purer and more luminous the foreground color will seem.
Warm colors, those provoking a sense of warmth and openness, comprise the range of tone variations from red through to yellow on the color wheel. Warm colors, when combined with each other, act to create proximity, a sense of well being and seem charged with energy.
Complementary color contrasts
These color codes are to be found opposite each other on the color wheel and result in stark contrasts and impressions of dissonance - these combinations of colors will appear very intense, garish and loud. A less intense variation on the complementary color contrast is the ''semi complementary color contrasts'' in which the color code next to the complementary color is used.
These are color tones found near each other on the color wheel. Such combinations, as with contrasts of tone and quality, form a good basis on which to create a balanced logo design. When contrasted with a further color, the result can be one of rich vibrancy founded on a harmonious structure.