The secrets behind famous logos

Have you ever won­dered why logos have a par­tic­u­lar design ele­ment, col­or or type style?

Every logo design should have a reason behind its color selection. And here are three great examples to prove it.

Image source from

Image source from

While doing some research, I stum­bled across a great resource to feed your curios­i­ty to the secrets behind famous logos. Design­Hill, cre­at­ed a won­der­ful inter­ac­tive web­site that gives us insight on 70 of the world’s biggest logo designs. I obvi­ous­ly loved the con­cen­tra­tion on the sig­nif­i­cance of col­or for these brands. Hence, the inspi­ra­tion for this post. And after read­ing this, your curios­i­ty may be quenched… until you feel the urge to return to our blog for more insight! But hey, you can still use these facts as great office con­ver­sa­tion, or bet­ter yet, inspi­ra­tion for your own devel­op­ing brand.

1. Subway uses green and yellow as their main colors to convey a specific message and meaning.

Green cre­ates con­sumer aware­ness towards healthy eat­ing — mak­ing Sub­way a leader in their indus­try. To sup­port this life-style and enhance the ben­e­fits of eat­ing healthy, yel­low was used to relate to hap­pi­ness, joy and optimism.

2. Another great example is MasterCard and their interlacing red and yellow-orange circles.

While their brand guide­lines list yel­low as their col­or, that par­tic­u­lar yel­low isn’t a pure, pri­ma­ry col­or, yel­low. It has a per­cent­age of magen­ta (based on CMYK val­ues), which gives it a yel­low-orange tone. By using this tone, they incor­po­rate the mean­ing behind both col­ors. In oth­er words, Mas­ter­Card embraces the char­ac­ter­is­tics of a pure yel­low — joy, intel­lect, opti­mism. And the char­ac­ter­is­tics of an orange hue — cre­ativ­i­ty, unique­ness, stimulation.

Let’s not for­get about the use of red in their left cir­cle. Red is used to trig­ger mean­ings of pas­sion, pow­er, excite­ment. Togeth­er, these col­ors sup­port their brand’s mes­sage by mak­ing con­sumers feel these emo­tions towards the things mon­ey can’t buy.

Isn’t col­or AMAZING? Learn more on how you can also har­ness the pow­er of col­or by read­ing our “5 Secrets to Using Col­or in Design” post.

3. We are all familiar with Twitter and their famous blue bird. But do you know why they chose that color?

There is noth­ing like true blue.” That is what is stat­ed on their brand guide­lines. Twit­ter, like many of the social media giants, uses blue in the logo. Blue is the most pop­u­lar col­or amongst brands world-wide. It is asso­ci­at­ed with the sea and sky — think vast oppor­tu­ni­ties, or even blue ocean strate­gies. The inter­pre­ta­tion of the col­or blue has lit­er­al­ly thou­sands of vari­a­tions, if not end­less ones. In this instance, Twitter’s col­or selec­tion com­mu­ni­cates knowl­edge, con­tem­pla­tion and coolness.

Now, I’d love to hear from you in the com­ment sec­tion below. What is your favorite logo? Are you a fan of the col­ors, type, or design style they use?

About the Author

Nicte Cuevas, Principal of Nicte Creative Design, empowers mission-driven businesses through strategic design & branding. Nicte has applied this when working with Adobe Spark and Twitter Business, LinkedIn Learning, Dogs on Deployment and Purina, Girl Scouts, The Houston Zoo and The Contemporary Arts Museum. Her excellence in communication design & marketing has been recognized by multiple national / international awards, including a coveted feature in Graphic Design USA's People to Watch.

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