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Choose Winning Colors for Your Logo Design

What do McDonald’s, Burger King and Subway have in common? All of their logos have yellow as the dominant color.

They are all among the top 10 fast-food restaurant chains. Does that color choice have anything to do with their huge success?

Fast Food Logo Color Design Marketing Branding Neuroscience
Why is yellow so important to fast-food brands?

When you are driving on the highway and feeling hungry, that big golden arch grabs your attention quickly. You can see it half a mile away. On a busy city street or at a shopping mall’s food court, many restaurants compete for the same customers. A big yellow sign is often the first thing we notice.

Many marketing and branding experts have studied how those 3 brands out-competed in a cut-throat market. However, few paid attention to their color choices.

Yellow is most visible to our eyes. When it is easy to see or recognize, it is easy to remember. Making it easy for the customers means more customers and more sales. McDonald’s rebranded its logo in Europe 10+ years ago. It changed its red to green to signal environment friendliness. Its golden arch remained untouched.

Neuromarketing Principle: Make Your Brand More Visible

In our daily life, we can’t turn our attention away from yellow. School buses, traffic lights, road signs, taxi cabs, ripened bananas, dandelions, legal pads, and sticky notes are all hard to ignore.

Why does yellow catch our attention better than other colors?

From the evolutionary perspective, many plants use yellow to signal ripening fruits to animals. Animals eat the fruits and spread the seeds so that those plants can propagate. When food is scarce, it is advantageous for our ancestors to identify ripening fruits quickly. This may explain why humans evolved to see yellow most easily.

Yellow Fruits Visual Attention Neuromarketing

Yellow is a happy joyful color. According to research, people across the world associate it with joy. It triggers happy feelings because it signals to our ancestors of food sources. It is the color of smiley faces. Try painting a smiley face in red or blue. It looks angry or sad, but not happy.

Yellow is a common color for food. It is the color of eggs, corn, butter, pasta, potatoes, pineapples, French fries, mustard, lemons, and many more. We naturally associate yellow with food.

So for fast food restaurants, having yellow reinforces the unconscious association between food and the brand.

Is Taco Bell Heading in the Wrong Direction?

What about the fast-food chain Taco Bell? Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, the fast-food chain’s logo was dominated by yellow and red. Between 1994 and 2016, the company adopted a logo that was dominated by blue and pink. Only the bell’s clapper was yellow. Since 2016, the fast-food chain has been using a minimalist-looking logo with purple.

Taco Bell Bad Logo Design

Is purple good for a fast-food restaurant? Definitely not. In nature, it is rare to find purple food. Raspberries, eggplants, and grapes are purple, but they almost never appear on fast-food restaurants’ menus. Having purple for a fast-food chain is like making chocolate green. Our unconscious association between what we see and what we eat is broken. That weakens the brand and marketing.

Plus, purple is one of the least visible colors to our eyes. A purple sign doesn’t stand out. It is difficult to spot a Taco Bell restaurant.

In logo design, graphic designers may like to follow fads or their own preference. But that often leads to wrong choices. Color is extremely complicated because the human eye can see millions of them. Picking the right one out of millions is like playing the lottery. Your chance of winning that lottery is ONLY higher if you know how to use science to improve your odds.

Neuromarketing helps you understand how we see and perceive the world. Don’t leave your important marketing and branding decisions to chance.

Science of Color Neuromarketing Marketing Advertising
Choose Your Winning Color with Neuromarketing – This talk saves your business millions of dollars. Many products failed because of the wrong colors. Remember the blue ketchup by Heinz?
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