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Warm and cool colors; when to use which?

Posted By Buy Custom Logo
  15 July 2016

We know that there are many color schemes that are used in designs and more but sometimes designers do not follow color schemes and instead mix colors by themselves and make a new color combination. As we already know that each color has a different meaning and triggers a different emotion. Here we will discuss the 2 categories of colors, warm and cold, through which we can tell the meanings of the colors and why they are categorized as warm and cold. Furthermore, we will also discuss about which color is more suitable in any given situation or design.

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Warm colors

Warm colors are those colors that are usually reminding of or associated with the sun and fire. They are the colors that start from yellow and finish at red. So, we can say that the colors that are hues of red, yellow, orange and pink are warm colors.

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Red is usually associated with passion, excitement and adventure. It is mostly used by companies to grab the attention of the customers. You may have noticed that most sports cars have the color red because it is associated with energy. Most companies like CNN, Coca Cola, McDonald's use the color red to show speed and energy.

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Orange color is used for youth and playfulness. Just like Nickelodeon uses the color to show the playfulness and youth of the channel itself. Fanta is another company that uses the orange color to show playfulness.

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Yellow color is used to show cheerfulness and freshness. Cheerios, Reese's and Post-it use yellow in their logos to represent optimism and freshness of the items.

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Pink represents sympathy, sensitivity and innocence. Dunkin' Donuts, Baskin Robbins and Barbie use pink logos to show innocence and tenderness.

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Warm colors are generally associated with energy and vividness. When asked people what they thought about such colors, they replied that these colors seemed appealing, inviting and friendly. Some logos and designs use two or more warm colors to make a good unique combination and mix two meanings and get a new one. For example, McDonald's uses red and yellow to show a 'fast' food chain for the youth and their cheerfulness. Dunkin' Donuts uses orange and pink to show sympathy and youthfulness in the brand.

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When to use?

Warm colors are usually used when aggressive emotions are to be shown. Like for example, passion and love. But you have to make sure that you are using it right. If your brand or brand message is not something that is aggressive then the color and your logo will look out of place. One more thing you have to make sure of is that the red color is a very 'loud' color, meaning that if too much red is used and there are other colors besides red, they might not be noticed and only the red color will stand out. So, this will cause a wastage of your money and might even change the message you are trying to give through the logo or design. So, that's why when you use red, you should use it in a fixed ratio.
Most designers use warm colors against white backgrounds to make the colors stand out more and make them look clean. One of the rules of working with warm colors is 80/20 rule. Basically, this rule says that 80% of the image should be the background, one color only, and 20% should be the warm colors.

Cool colors

Cool colors usually remind us of or are associated with the nature, peace, water and sky. These colors start from purple and end at green. They are hues of blue, green and purple. These colors give a sort of relaxing vibe living up to their name.

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Green is usually associated with nature and grass. It basically means growth, fresh, harmony and safety. You might have noticed that green is a common color for those brands that are environment-friendly and want to promote that message. It is also used by some nature documentaries channels and groups as it shows nature.

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Blue is a color that represents loyalty, truth, stability and depth. It is mostly used by companies to trigger trustworthy feelings among the customers for their brand. It is also used by drinking water brands and travel brands to represent water and sky.

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Purple color represents royalty, ambition and power. It is used by various companies in their logo to show elegance and power. It makes a company seem regal and grand.

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Cool colors induce relaxed feelings into the customer and makes them trust a brand and make them think that they are friendly and easy-going. Some brands mix two or all the cool colors to give a new meaning to the brand. Take the example of Yahoo! They use the color purple and blue in their logo to give a relaxed, trustworthy and powerful feeling to the user.

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When to use?

People use these colors when they want to show their brand as a friendly, easy-going yet powerful and trustworthy brand. Since these colors are not loud, they can be used as a background with another cool color on top of them or they can also be used against a simple white background to give a plain look.

Mixing colors to create balance

Some logos and designs have a combination of both warm and cool colors. It is to be made sure that one color does not completely stand out and suffocates the other color. Both should equally have their places in representing a meaning.

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