Pick Only 2-3 Colors
When developing color schemes for a corporate identity, typically work with two colors. This is for both design simplicity and cost. The color format used in our designs is also the predominant one used by the printing industry. It is called the Pantone Matching System (PMS) and includes over 1,000 predefined and standardized inks. The printer simply loads these pre-made inks into the press and begins printing. This way, the color values are consistent and can be reproduced accurately with each order, and on any press by any printer, therefore preserving consistency with your branding. For example, when Coca-Cola prints using their PMS red, it is always their precise shade of red.
In logo design, two colors are usually sufficient to render the image with contrasting hues between primary and secondary design elements. You can also do lighter variations of a PMS color without adding additional inks. Additional inks can be requested, but printing costs increase with each ink used. Generally, try not to do more than three PMS colors because then the print job would be run as a “full color” job. Printing in “full color” is also known as “process” or “CMYK” printing; it uses the four standard “process” inks of cyan, magenta, yellow and black. CMYK printing isn’t as accurate as PMS printing – color shifts can occur because the patterns of dots on the printed page are used to approximate a particular PMS color. However, some companies do insist on printing in five or six colors when they require both full-color photography and the accuracy of the Pantone system. This is expensive printing and is generally used by companies with exacting needs.
In deciding which colors to choose, think about the meaning of the colors too. Here are common color associations in Western culture:
- Red: Passion, Anger, Vigor, Love, Danger
- Yellow: Knowledge, Energy, Joy, Intellect, Youth
- Green: Fertility, Wealth, Healing, Success, Growth
- White: Purity, Healing, Perfection, Clean, Virtue
- Blue: Knowledge, Trust, Tranquility, Calm, Peace, Cool
- Black: Fear, Secrecy, Formal, Luxury
- Purple: Royalty, Wisdom, Spirituality, Imagination
- Orange: Creativity, Invigoration, Unique, Stimulation
- Gray: Balance, Sophistication, Neutrality, Uncommitted
Keep it simple! You only need two or three colors. Choose those colors based on the meaning of the color and how it relates to your business. Also consider your personal preferences and be sure the colors complement each other.