Looking for the perfect logo inspiration?
Choosing the right color combination for your logo design can be a great place to get started—and today we’re going to talk about yellow!
This post will walk you through the meaning of the color yellow in design, and how popular logos use yellow as one of their main colors to create additional meaning and draw in their audience.
Every color has a meaning that creates an immediate connection with your audience. You can use any colors to help convey brand meaning at first glance.
Yellow tends to represent a happy, cheerful energy. It has a youthful and energetic vibe that radiates power, positivity and joy. You naturally feel warmer, more at ease, and in a lighter mood when you see the color yellow used in most scenarios.
Yellow also offers a lot of contrast value because it’s so much lighter than most other colors. Contrasting hues will help draw attention to the logo, and it tends to create a visually appealing affect. However, muting the color with brown or lightening it with white can also change the meaning—giving it a softer, more grounded feel.
Some of the most common yellow logos actually use just one color to get their message across. Here are a few of the world’s top yellow logo design examples:
McDonalds: The most famous fast food chain in the US relies heavily on yellow as its single-letter logo color. Even though it also uses red, the arches making up the McDonald’s “M” are strictly yellow to convey happiness and excitement.
Bumble: Designed to represent a hive, this dating company uses yellow to showcase the positive nature of the potential to be found within this app.
Snapchat: For a social media platform, yellow isn’t as common of a logo color. That’s why the yellow of Snapchat helps it stand out and show the ghost preparing to disappear into the background—pointing to the action that happens with the app itself.
Heflo: The cloud-based, business project management software app Heflo (hello, mouthful!) uses more of a golden yellow in its logo to symbolize creativity and wealth. Notice how just adding in a bit of warmth to the hue changes the look and alters the overarching meaning of the yellow in this logo.
Telenet: Focused on connecting computers with networks to those with remote access, the Telenet logo provides a friendly, extremely tech-based face with a friendly yellow color.
Seen all over nature (from bees to black-eyed Susans), yellow and black are a stunning color combination that borders on a classic! Here are some great logos that use yellow and black to draw attention:
CAT: One of the most famous yellow logos out there, this construction company uses a yellow triangle shape to create a feeling of action and activity in their logo. The words straddling the triangle help illustrate the work of the caterpillar machines in an abstract way that still works to form a connection to the brain on a deeper level.
Yellow Pages: Another classic brand, Yellow Pages uses the image of fingers walking across pages to symbolize flipping through the phone book. The yellow and white colors in the logo help call us back to the yellow and white pages typically used to differentiate businesses and individual listings.
Mailchimp: Quirky and cutting-edge, email guru brand Mailchimp uses the black monkey outline on the yellow background to grab attention without deviating from the vintage feel of the overall design.
Hertz: This car rental brand relies on a straightforward logo approach to communicate their company dependability factor, which is emphasized by the black-and-yellow combination. They’ve been around for over 100 years, but their logo hasn’t changed a lot.
National Geographic: The classic golden square of National Geographic is hard to mistake for anything else—and yet, it’s so simple! Framing anything as a newly cropped image, the golden rectangle hovers next to the sans serif font for a powerful brand look.
One of the more exciting color combinations, yellow and red is a popular logo choice, because the colors work together to drive action and spark activity.
Shell Petroleum: Based on a logo design from over 100 years ago, the shell shape and concept is something new. Starting in 1948, the company added yellow and red to the design to give it a more vibrant and energetic facelift.
DHL: This logistics company relies on the colors and horizontal lines in their design to convey their fast motion and quick shipping. The red and yellow colors are used to connect the consumer’s mind to thoughts of energy and speed.
Lay’s: Long known for potato chips, Lay’s uses a golden circle that could represent the potato or even the sun, covered by a red banner. These colors show excitement, energy and passion within the company.
Kodak: As a film company, Kodak uses a single-letter logo design to illustrate a focal point in the far distance. This could also be seen as rays of light entering the red, rectangular camera shutter.
Lipton: The yellow circle seal of Lipton is something we could visually connect to the sun or lemons. This refreshing design focuses on the sweet summertime energy the consumer will feel after experiencing the tea at hand.
An intriguing color choice, yellow and blue is one of the less popular combinations that still packs a lot of punch! These colors can look regal or playful depending on how they are used.
IKEA: Well-known as the creative warehouse for Swiss home design on a budget, the yellow and blue design of IKEA makes perfect sense. Contained within a yellow bubble, the simple logo text is easy to use in a retail space and is very memorable to consumers.
Warner Brothers: The gold and blue of the Warner Bros television shield help showcase value and establish a sense of timelessness for this brand. They started showing up in this color combination in 1984 to move away from the previous color palette of red, black and white, and to give it an extra punch of fun.
Juicy Fruit: Delicious, fruity gum uses a combination of yellow, blue and a little bit of red to showcase the mouth-watering burst of flavor it promises. This color combination just looks like it’s going to be packed full of fun!
Goodyear: With an icon of the Greek god messenger’s (Hermes) shoe, the Goodyear tire company is making a callback to quick transportation.
Pokemon: This highly popular game among teens and children alike uses yellow words with a blue outline to highlight the brand name. The bright, flashy colors are childlike and grab the attention of younger audiences without excluding the older fans
Often conveying a great deal or a health-based brand, yellow and green can make a powerful pair that shows brand conscience.
Subway: These bright colors are supposed to represent health, positivity and a more natural approach to fast food. The sunshine-y color combo represents a good deal and a fresh meal to set Subway apart from other fast-food joints.
Sprite: As a soda that’s supposed to be more natural than many of the other sodas on the shelf, it only makes sense that Sprite would get a color combination that represents a bright and energetic side of nature.
John Deer: This incredibly popular country machinery brand uses the yellow of fall harvest and the green of summer growth to represent its connection to agriculture. The representation of the leaping deer in yellow also gives the illusion of motion. While the leaping deer has been in the logo since 1976, the green and yellow color palette was added in 2000.
BP: The British Petroleum logo took on the green and gold color combo in 1947, and in 2000, it dropped the shield shape to take on a flower emblem. Though BP has been well-known for various environmental issues, their color choice of green, yellow and white represents a priority on energy, nature, growth and goodwill.
The Grounds Guys: This is a good example of how color hues make a big difference in logo meaning. While the past several examples have shown bright color combinations, the green and gold of The Grounds Guys logo is much more down-to-earth and nature-based. This gives the logo a more trustworthy look with a steady energy vibe.
Less common, but not wholly unusual, is the combination of yellow and brown. Brown isn’t as common for a logo color because it can feel more muted and plain. But, when paired with yellow, brown can really pop—as seen in the following examples:
UPS: The shield shape that represents reliability and integrity has remained in place since the start of UPS in 1916. The last 2 logos (introduced in 2003 and then in 2014) both used the same shaped shield with the same interior and font choice. The biggest difference was the change from a shiny, 3-D bronze-gold design to a flat design with vibrant yellow and a soothing darker brown. The UPS logo colors take on the feel of the cardboard packaging and brown trucks used by the company.
Reese’s: The combination of orange, yellow and brown are meant to figuratively represent the milk chocolate and peanut butter cups sold by the candy. Though the colors aren’t literal, they provide a visual connection with more vibrancy to encourage excitement.
Hard Rock Café: Did you know that the original colors for the Hard Rock Café were going to be red, white and blue? The founders wanted to create a café with American charm and a side of rock n’ roll. However, well-known graphic designer Alan Aldridge felt those colors created an over-the-top look and he shifted to the reddish brown and mustard yellow coloring that has now created the iconic brand.
Gevalia Kaffe: This coffee brand is aiming for a quality coffee reputation and nails it with their branding. The Gevalia logo features a crown and gold yellow color to represent luxury. The brown represents the earthy color of roasted coffee beans ground and ready to brew.
Valparaiso University: Brown can represent grounded wisdom, white symbolizes power, and yellow can stand for a flame of energy in the Valparaiso logo. According to the Valpo website on branding guidelines, “Valparaiso University’s official colors are brown, gold, and white. A complete color palette, including primary, accent, and neutral colors, supports the Valparaiso University brand. Colors are one of the strongest ties to memory, and the consistent application of our primary colors and complementary palette is critical.”
If you’re ready to create a logo, these examples should provide plenty of inspiration! You’ll want to design a logo that’s unique, but there are plenty of different ways to use the color yellow—by itself or in conjunction with another color (or colors).
You can use our logo design tool to get started for free. It will help you create a series of options for logo inspiration. It takes your color palettes, imagery, brand name and style to create several logo options you can refine into your final logo design.
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