Whether you’re creating a new brand or looking to reinvigorate what you already have, finding the right logo is essential. From carefully curated logo fonts to perfectly picked graphics, your logo tells current and future customers who you are and what you’re all about.
Whether it’s bold and beautiful or relaxed and refined, a logo can be many things. And one of the most important aspects of a logo is its color—or lack thereof. The hues you use should be chosen wisely, as they enhance the overall appearance of a logo. Many successful logos are supported by the vivid colors they flaunt—Coca Cola, McDonald’s and Nickelodeon, for instance. But some logos don’t need vibrant color in order to make a statement. Enter black and white: the classic way to make your logo relatable, accessible and ridiculously versatile.
Why we love black & white logos
Sure, flashy logo colors are great when used thoughtfully, but sometimes the most effective, iconic logos are the ones that keep it super simple by employing just black and white. Black and white logos are the epitome of “less is more” and with thoughtful simplicity, they often become the most memorable and successful. They’re also the most cost efficient and versatile.
Printing anything—seriously, anything—in black and white is cheaper than printing in color. For a brand that’s just starting out or looking to give its branding a total overhaul, going for a black and white logo is likely the most cost-effective option.
As for versatility, it’s essential to consider all of the places where your logo may end up. It could be plastered on a wall, displayed on a banner or featured on the window of a car. Or maybe it’ll be on a t-shirt or sticker or Instagram profile. When you’re in need of a logo that will look good virtually anywhere, there really is no better option than black and white. After all, it’s always flattering.
Famous black and white logos: what we’ve learned
Think about it: some of the most successful global brands are supported by logos that transcend color. By doing this, they’re not only embracing simplicity, but they’re also offering a logo that looks good anywhere and in any place.
Who doesn’t love the Nike swoosh? It’s basically everywhere—clothing, footwear, gear and advertisements. But there isn’t a specific color associated with the swoosh. Instead, it’s all about the shape of the logo and what consumers associate with its presence. The swoosh has become so recognizable that it’s usually seen without any words at all—a feat that few logos have accomplished. Another brand that has achieved outstanding recognition without the use of words or color is Apple. Again, consumers see the shape of the apple and know exactly what they’re in for. At this point in consumer culture, it would be rare to find a consumer of any age and in any country who cannot identify the logos for Nike and Apple.
Minimalist black and white logos
Now that we’ve discussed the perks of a black and white logo and reviewed some of the most iconic iterations, let’s dive into some different ways to approach the logo design. We’ll start with minimalism. Seems obvious, eh? A minimalist black and white logo is just that: clean and simple. While frills, glitter and holographic confetti are fun, your brand doesn’t need all those bells and whistles. Instead, it simply needs a sleek font, simple shapes and maybe an aesthetically pleasing line or two. It’s black and white, really (see what we did there?).
Geometric black and white logos
An interesting perk to a black and white logo is that it can take on pretty much any shape and look good doing it. Some of the most successful approaches involve geometric designs (think sharp angles, faceted effects and strategic spacing). With this option, the logo isn’t just a shape with some letters—it’s art. Show off your creative, avant-garde side by letting the logo speak for who you are as a brand.
Luxe black and white logos
A monochromatic logo doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, it can be the perfect approach for a brand that needs to look sophisticated at all times. Think of luxury labels like boutique hotels, high-end retailers and destination realtors. Brands like this thrive on a statement-making black and white logo, perhaps with a dash of metallic trim. So if your brand is fancy, be fancy. Nobody’s stopping you.
Playful black and white logos
Monochrome branding is often used by brands that want to seem professional and trustworthy. But black and white logos don’t have to be serious. With a cute or hand-drawn style you can give your black and white logo a fun, playful vibe, while at the same time keeping it simple and classic.
But what if you just need some color?
Maybe you’re at the point where you’re really considering ditching color and going with black and white. It’s sounding pretty great, right? But there’s one concern: what if you need a bit of color sometimes? For example, you’re sponsoring an event and making branded swag, but you want the swag to stand out. You’re in luck. One of the best qualities of a black and white logo is its flexibility.
The Nike swoosh is a great example of a neutral logo that sometimes crosses over to the world of color. Sure, it’s usually black or white, but if it needs to be blue or purple or fuchsia or fluorescent rainbow, it seamlessly makes the transition. When needed, you can change the color of a black and white logo to accommodate your needs. It’s the chameleon of logo design. Just makes sure to define what your logo can and can’t do in your brand style guide.
Ready to get the perfect black and white logo?
Scaling back on color is a strategic choice which can lead your logo to a high standard of recognition, versatility and sophistication. Now is the time to create a black and white logo that elevates your brand. Look no further than our global community of designers.
Want more logo design tips? Check out our article on how to design a logo.