Corporate Eye

Put Your Brand Logo Through the One Color Test

water_colorsBrand identity is an elusive subject for marketers and non-marketers alike.  One of the most important tangible representations of your brand is its logo.  These days, logos are getting more and more elaborate with half-tones, surface effects, and a myriad of design effects that look great online but can be a nightmare to reproduce offline – technically and financially.

While it’s nice to say, “logo design shouldn’t be restricted by future production budgets,” the truth of the matter is that an elaborate logo could become cost prohibitive every time you need to print it.  From brochures to business cards, billboards to coffee mugs, and everything in between, your logo needs to reproduce well in a lot of sizes and on a lot of surfaces throughout the course of its life.

As you’re developing your brand logo, you need to use the Brand Logo One Color Test to ensure the logo you create to stand for your brand promise takes more into account then how cool it looks.  While I’m not suggesting that you sacrifice “coolness” in an effort to save money, I am suggesting that you take the time to consider all applications of your logo before you commit to a design which will cost you a fortune every time you print it or a design which doesn’t translate well onto various media.  I’m continually surprised by how even large corporations roll out logos that a design agency sold them on, knowing the production issues they’re likely to face down the road could be expensive and limiting.

With that in mind, here is the Brand Logo One Color Test

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Will my logo still stand out from the crowd in black and white?
  2. Will my logo design force me to print it in one color because it would be cost-prohibitive to print it in full-color?

Depending on your answers to the above questions in the Brand Logo One Color Test, you might want to reconsider your logo design.  Remember, there is more to logo design and brand identity than meets the eye (sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun, but it’s very true).

Image: stock.xchng

The following two tabs change content below.
Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

As a printer for 20 years I know from bitter experience that colour is crucial. It is also a science to master and not an artful fancy. Pay particular attention to packaging if you are designing for retail products.

Comments are closed.