Why so many logos get the blues

If you look at some of the most successful logo designs and branding campaigns in the world today, you may get the blues. No, not the deep abiding sadness that makes you want to play the harmonica. But the many shades of blue that seem to find their way into so many logos in the tech, insurance and media fields. Ever wonder why so many brands decide that blue is the perfect anchor for their color scheme? Here we’ll take a look at the color blue, the message it conveys to consumers, and why so many companies choose blue for their logo design.

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Image credit: Julie & Company

Ask around. Blue is most often named as the world’s #1 favorite color. In fact, over half (53%) of the world’s flags contain some shade of blue. Psychologists and sociologists cite blue as being “calming” and “inspiring of confidence.” This may be because the elements of nature where we tend to find blue — the ocean and sky — are among the most enduring.

Blue also has a long history of representing the aristocracy (“bluebloods”), perhaps because blue dyes were harder to produce in the pre-industrial era and therefore were affordable only to the wealthy. A blue suit is still a universal symbol for professionalism. It says “we’re stable, prudent, responsible and here for the long game.” Biologically, the human eye reacts to blue by seeing it as a receding color, which makes it a perfect background for white type. Reds are often associated with alarm or speed, while yellows indicate caution (unless they’re Peeps, in which case they indicate Easter candy).

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In the business world, many heavy hitters base their brand on one shade of blue or another. Blue Cross/Blue Shield even incorporates the word “blue” into the name, in case you missed the big cross and shield — both protective symbols, emphasizing safety and security. In fact, about two-thirds of insurance companies use blue (notable exceptions are Travelers, State Farm and Hartford, who use red). Transportation companies like JetBlue Airways and Greyhound Bus Lines also use blue to inspire feelings of confidence and safety.

The tech and social media industries are packed with blue brands. Facebook, Skype, WordPress, Twitter and Tumblr all use blue as the basis for their logo’s color palette. Some of the largest tech and computer companies like IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Intel use blue as their sole color. And many others feature blue as part of a broader color palette. Why? Most likely because blue is the color most often associated with trust and stability.

So when considering a color palette for your brand, think about not only the type of message you want to convey but also about the way the human eye and mind react to certain colors. If an image of stability and reliability is an essential feature of your brand, you might want to get a case of the blues.

Start your logo design contest today even if your brand doesn’t have the blues!

The author

Cecily Kellogg
Cecily Kellogg

Cecily Kellogg became an accidental designer when she worked at a short-handed non-profit and although she now prefers designing with words, the lessons she learned from doing graphic design make her work in content development more well-rounded. She writes about the intersection of family, technology, and social media for Babble Tech and runs her own web content business. She is also known for her raw tone and humor on various social media platforms including her own blog, Uppercase Woman. Cecily lives in the Philadelphia area, is happily married, is mom to a fierce and amazing daughter, and has occasionally been called a bad ass.

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