We all know that logos, as a general rule, should be kept simple and memorable. But creating a simple and yet memorable logo can be a very difficult task. There are so many factors that go into logo creation, and getting it wrong can be very costly.
Limiting your logo’s color palette to a single color can both simplify and complicate things in one fell swoop. But a one-color logo can be much more versatile and have a lot more impact than similar, multi-colored versions. Read on for other reasons you might opt for a one-color logo, things to keep in mind when designing one, and a ton of great examples.
Reasons for One-Color Designs
There are plenty of reasons you might opt to limit a logo’s color palette to a single color. Here are a few great ones:
1. Easy to Use in Grayscale
Single-color logos can easily be printed or displayed in grayscale if needed, without any revisions. Contrast isn’t an issue like it is with logos made up of two or more colors.
While the green color here adds to the overall meaning of the design, it would still work well in grayscale.
2. Hard to Make it Too Busy
One-color logos are almost always simpler than multi-colored logos. After all, when you’re only dealing with shape and negative space, there are limits on how detailed a design can get.
This logo is very simple while still hinting at what the business is all about.
3. Easier to Scale
Because of the generally-simpler design of a single-color logo, they’re often better suited to scaling. Remember, any logo you design should be able to be scaled down and still be recognizable as small as an inch square.
The MoneyLedge logo would work well at a very small size or could easily be scaled up.
4. More Versatile in General
Single-color logos are often more versatile than multi-colored logos, partly because the color can easily be changed.
This logo could easily be used in a number of colors, or on a number of different products.
5. Helps Minimize Cost
Single color logos are less expensive to print than multi-colored ones. While this isn’t an issue with something that will only be used online, it can be a huge bonus when printing something like business cards or letterhead.
A simple logo like this could be printed in any number of colors, helping to minimize cost by being easily incorporated into whatever the design calls for.
6. Can be Used in Any Color
Just like a single-color logo can be easily converted to grayscale, it can also be converted to any other color just as easily. This can be incredibly useful if a company wants to update their image without a redesign or if they want to use variations on their logo for different products.
Another great example of a logo that would work well in any color.
Things to Remember
Designing a single-color logo isn’t necessarily easier than designing a multi-colored one. You need to keep a few things in mind if you want your project to be successful:
1. Negative Space is More Important
When you’re only working with one color, what you leave out of a design is just as important as what you put in. Pay attention to the white space surrounding and within your logo and use it to your advantage. Think of negative space as another color in your design.
The negative space here creates the image of a coffee cup. Your brain fills in the parts that are missing in familiar shapes.
2. Keep it simple
Single-color designs tend to be simpler than other logo designs, but that doesn’t mean designers never try to make them more complicated. While sometimes that works out just fine, there are plenty of other examples of single-color designs that are too complicated and have lessened impact because of it.
Simple designs often look best in single-color designs. But simple doesn’t have to mean boring, as showcased above.
3. Focus on the Shape
The overall shape of your single-color logo will be more important than with logos with multiple colors. The shape of the logo will be the defining factor in its meaning and impact without multiple colors to rely on.
A play on the company name and the shapes used creates a more meaningful and memorable logo.
Examples of One-Color Logos
Here are a number of examples of excellent one-color logos, many of which you might already recognize.
A great example of how negative space adds to a single-color logo, as showcased here by the implied shadow.
A simple and versatile logo that’s both dynamic and easily adaptable.
Typography-based logos are often very well-suited to single-color designs.
A simple, scalable logo design.
More complex designs are still possible with a single color, but realize that you often lose some scalability by adding finer lines and smaller details.
Incredibly scalable and simple, with a great use of negative space.
Another example of a more complicated logo. A bit of scalability is lost, but even with a loss of detail it would still be effective and recognizable.
A famous single-color logo design that’s timeless and versatile.
Another more complicated logo.
An effective use of negative space.
Logos that play off a simple shape in this case hearts that spell out “Badava” can be particularly effective if done well.
More hearts, and another great example of effective negative space.
A simple logo that’s dynamic and scalable.
Another very famous logo that uses negative space to great advantage.
A more complicated logo, but one that could still be quite scalable. With a logo that might be used on signs or other large advertising pieces, it’s sometimes important to consider up-scaling just as much as down-scaling.
More great use of negative space.
Another great example of a typography-based logo in a single color.
The ubiquitous Volkswagen Rabbit logo is a fantastic example of a timeless, scalable, and memorable single-color logo.
Again, a good example of effective negative space.
The negative space here gives the impression of a flag.
Another type-based logo.
It’s easy to see how this logo could be used in a variety of colors, and even converted to a multi-colored design.
Logos that play on the name of the company or product are more effective and more memorable than those that aren’t as closely tied to the company or product they represent.
Simplicity, scalability, and negative space all used to great effect.
A more complex logo, but still largely scalable.
Hand-drawn logos can look great in single colors, like in this example.
Another example of negative space and the brain’s ability to fill in what the eye doesn’t actually see.
A good type-based logo that could be used in any color and scaled down quite small.
The ripple effect lends interest to an otherwise-plain logo.
Another good example of a hand-drawn logo. The double image of the hand and the fish directly links to the name and mission of the organization.