Join John McWade for an in-depth discussion in this video How to choose colors, part of Graphic Design: Small Business Identity Redesign.
- Colors are so strong. They convey mood, they convey theme. And frame corners have all the colors we'll need. Golds and woods and metallics and antique whites, nautical blues, grays, just everything. First thing we want to do is apply a gradient to our logo. We're doing this because our logo resembles not only frame corners, but stylized waves. So to create a sense of horizontal movement like waves have, we'll gradate the pattern from dark to light, left to right.
This is different from putting a blend on it or a feather. Each of these corners will be a solid color, but just get lighter as we move left to right. Let's look at three ways we can go with color. First is the nautical look. Blue, immediately brings to mind water. And on frame corners it also suggests waves. This is a good subliminal connection. You wanna avoid bright blues. That's because frames aren't generally bright blue and water isn't either.
Water's pretty de-saturated. The deeper the water, the darker its colors. De-saturated colors have a softer, more sophisticated look. So I'd say blues are a reasonable choice for this logo. 2nd is contemporary. Our shop's interior colors are predominantly neutral, in the gray range. Neutrals are a great backdrop for viewing. You can see your art without the background coloring it. But that's because they're colorless. So, they're a little bit bland to stand on their own.
We need something stronger. More visually present. So let's look again at the history idea. If you sample the nooks and crannies of a classic gold frame you'll get all kinds of hues. From browns to greens to mustard yellows. Gold is not only a high-end color, but it's a compliment for most other colors too. So it's a good choice because it's gonna represent a whole spectrum of framing.
But history is more than gold. So the last step is to harvest more colors from all the different woods on our frame wall. This is a rich, deep palette. As a rule, you want dark, medium, and light versions of each color, and that's for versatility. Frame corners on the wall sometimes hang randomly, but we don't want random for our logo, or it'll just look messy. Arrange the colors dark to light, left to right and this will give you a touch of glint like ocean waves.
And with that, our logo is complete. It meets all the goals, and we had a long list. It's simple. It'll be easy for anyone to work with. It's artistic. It looks like framing. It hints of waves. It has a sense of history in its colors, and it feels high-end, it's dressy. It won't date quickly, if at all. It won't steal the show. It's classy, it's low-key, it goes with everything.
It's strong, it can stand on its own without any support. It's versatile. It can run in solid black and white, in full color. It can run big, it can run small. Image and the name work together. And each can work separately. That's every target. One question is, what happens to its hairline serifs at small sizes? Well here the typeface is worth its investment. HTF Didot is a high-end face. It comes in six master renderings that get progressively heavier as they get smaller.
So, there's a suitable version for every size. From the biggest poster to the tiny online favicon. Let's put this thing to work.