When it comes to choosing a brand’s colors, it’s definitely not one size — or shade — fits all.
With so many colors to choose from, picking one that helps convey the message you want your logo to send customers takes careful consideration.
If you’re looking for guidance into this year’s trending colors, consider Lush Lava, Aqua Menthe and Phantom Blue, according to Shutterstock’s 2020 Color Trends Report. Shutterstock studied data and selected the colors based on the images most downloaded by the company’s 1.9 million customers, who include designers and marketers.
“Last year’s colors tended to be on a youth-oriented spectrum,” says Mike McCabe, vice president of creative at Manhattan-based Shutterstock, a global technology company offering a creative platform with a library of more than 300 million images and more than 16 million video clips. “We think this year’s colors are still bright and interesting, but they’re a lot more sophisticated.”
Last year’s colors were a “neon-trio of turbo charged colors” that included UFO Green, Plastic Pink and Proton Purple (see https://tinyurl.com/y74h6ns6).
This year’s colors are deeper hues with Lush Lava (a bold and fiery orange-red); Aqua Menthe (a vivid, cyan-tinged mint shade); and Phantom Blue (a rich navy mimicking a dramatic night sky), according to Shutterstock (see https://tinyurl.com/snuutjn).
But don’t necessarily swap out your existing logo colors just yet.
“Trend cycles change very quickly now,” McCabe says. “We’re taking a snapshot in time of what’s hot right now.”
Shutterstock officials say they “can’t foresee how long the popularity of these colors will last,” but these colors can be helpful in guiding a new product line extension or expansion, says McCabe.
For existing brands, he recommends consulting a branding agency/expert before changing colors.
Because “trendy colors are bound to change,” firms should think long-term, says Phillip Davis, president of Tungsten Branding, a Brevard, North Carolina, brand development firm.
His question to clients: “Do you want to stand out or fit in?”
If you want to stand out and lead with novelty and innovation, the more disruptive your colors should be, he says. If you want to be perceived as reliable and credible, the more conventional your colors should be.
Choosing color is really about a “fit to concept” or a fit to your industry and/or marketing objectives, Davis says.
Certain industries gravitate to certain colors, he says. For example, fast food businesses tend to use red, while the financial/medical industry uses more blues and greens, he says.
When it comes to colors, think of your primary identity colors as akin to your outside house color and think about trending colors as what you’d paint your interior, Davis says.
“The long-term color you pick should be one that you like and feel comfortable with,” says Ron Edelson, co-founder and co-president of ZE Creative Communications in Great Neck, which rebranded after more than three decades in business with a new name, logo, website and colors this past October.
The predominant brand color the firm chose was blue — PMS 301 to be exact, off the Pantone Matching Color System (a medium dark shade of cyan-blue, as described by Encycolorpedia, a color referencing website). It’s being used in the logo in variations, Edelson says.
For example, when on stationery, envelopes, or against a white or very light background, the logo will be blue. If the background is black or the blue brand color itself, the logo will be in white, he says, noting the old logo was black, white and gray.
“We probably went through 30 or 40 different blue tones before choosing the one we like,” says Edelson, adding the rebranding effort was a collaboration between the founders and their staff.
“We happen to like blue,” he says, noting research suggests blue is a “calming color that carries dignity and a sense of seriousness about it.”
Melanie Serrano, owner of MSM Creative Inc., a Ronkonkoma print and digital marketing agency, wanted to stay in the blue family but “with a modern twist” so she incorporated teal into her new logo when she recently rebranded.
The logo uses white lettering with a gray backdrop. She says the gray helps it stand out, especially on social media.
Serrano recommends firms see what colors are related to their field and also look at their competitors, but differentiate by moving “outside the box a little.”
Consider your company’s culture, personality and goals, adds Bill Blaney, creative director at SMM Advertising, a Smithtown marketing communications firm.
“Colors do evoke different emotions,” he says.
For example, yellow conveys optimism and is cheerful, while red is bold and strong, says Blaney.
He says different years bring different trends and some brands experiment with those trending colors in their social media and digital marketing.
Long-term, though, you want something “evergreen,” Blaney says.