One of the most popular and pervasive logo colors, common blue meanings and associations are solidity, tranquility, consistency, rarity, and mainstream respectability. It’s a steady color that doesn’t go out of style, and most people report positive real-world associations with this hue: The ocean, the sky, swimming pools, and even blue jeans. Many banks and Fortune 500 companies brand themselves in blue, and it’s the favorite color of a majority of people worldwide.
Every color in the spectrum carries meaning and associations with a variety of feelings and emotions. The color blue is no exception. Some of the most powerful associations with the color blue are rooted in nature and relaxation. Here are the most common blue meanings:
Did you know? IBM, one of the largest and most powerful companies of its era, was nicknamed Big Blue after the color of its logo and brand. IBM information technology products were more costly than those of competitors, but their products were a safe (if unimaginative) choice. The common expression went, “Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM.” Such was the brand power of Big Blue.
Uses of blue
Blue is somewhat conservative. Before the days of pervasive office casual, men’s standard business ‘uniform’ was commonly a dark blue or brown suit. Blue jeans and a blue work shirt are still common. Blue never seems to go out of style!
Blues and their reddish relatives, purples, used to be associated with royalty because blue pigments and dyes were extremely rare and difficult to make, and therefore costly and scarce — “fit for a king.” For similar reasons, blue became associated with sacredness and the priesthood.
In Western culture, blue was traditionally the color for boys and, generally, pink for girls. However, some people increasingly see these stereotypes as a cultural straitjacket, and no longer follow the old gender-based rules of thumb. Still, blue is likely the color most widely accepted among men in our culture.
Blue and green are “cool” colors, just as red, orange and yellow are “warm.” In terms of industries, blue makes a natural fit with businesses and brands related to water and the sea, and to the air (Royal Caribbean cruises and JetBlue airlines are examples).
Tints and shades of blue
Blues range from sky blue and baby blue light tints to midnight blue shades so dark, they appear almost black. Tints are created by adding white to a color to lighten it; shades result when adding black to a color to darken it. Lighter blues naturally impart a lighter, more casual and relaxed feel. Darker blues generally feel more solid, serious, and formal.
Because medium to dark blues are more formal, they are adopted by many large companies. Dark blue is a corporate color. With this fact in mind, you might consider blue for your branding to give the look-and-feel of a large, established enterprise, so people will feel more comfortable buying from you, doing business with you, and perhaps investing in your business.
Complementary and analogous colors
The color blue is directly opposite orange on the color wheel, making orange its complementary color. It is located next to violet, purple, blue-green (teal), and green – these are blue’s analogous, or similar, colors.
These are important things to keep in mind while creating a logo and any branding visuals, but don’t go overboard: The best, most memorable brands stick to a one-color or two-color logo.
The more colors you include in your branding, the more confused people will be when it comes to which colors they should associate with your brand. That’s why Apple dropped the multicolored logo and went with a monochromatic version instead.
Is blue right for your brand?
Blue isn’t the only way to get this trustworthy, solid look and feel, but it’s worth considering. Choosing blue for your logo and branding visuals is a safe, reliable mainstream choice. In many cases, it’s the smart choice. However, that’s far from a blanket recommendation.
You should consider all colors, explore other options, and see what really does work best for your unique business and brand – if you settle on a color too soon, you may find yourself singing the blues later!