Whether you are creating a logo for yourself, others, or are hiring somebody to design a logo for you, it is important to be clear on exactly what you want your logo to communicate to viewers.
Logo gradients: the pros, cons, and alternatives. If you are designing a logo, keep in mind the most important aspect to consider is clearly communicating what kind of brand you have. The logo is often the first thing viewers will see about your brand, if you have unprofessional gradients or coloring, it may not communicate your mission appropriately. If you do utilize gradients, ensure they are professionally done and high quality.
For those who may be newer to designing logos or are having trouble choosing the right theme for their logo, this article will walk you through the pros and cons of using gradients as well as discussing some alternatives that will give a different look to your logo. This article will talk about the best ways of using color and how to design a logo that best fits your needs.
What is a Gradient?
A gradient is a sliding scale of color. They are often known as color transitions since the colors blend from one to the next seamlessly. Gradients can include as many or as few colors as the creator chooses. This can be done with a grayscale, with bright colors, and with as many colors as you desire on your logo.
To create a gradient, users would choose the colors they want in the gradient and create a smoothed-out look to give the effect that the color is changing effortlessly. Depending on the colors chosen for the gradient, it can be a good-looking effect on logos. However, when overdone can look juvenile and unprofessional.
Gradients can be done in grayscale or in color. Choosing the correct coloration to go in a gradient is highly dependent on what the logo is being created for. For example, if you have a company that is geared towards kids, it may look ok to use brighter colors in the logo as that can often catch the eye of children.
If you are a company or brand that is geared towards a more mature eye, it can often be a mistake to use brightly colored gradients as it can look childish when completed. This is why it is recommended to have an idea of how you want to represent your company before creating the logo. If you are a blog or online business primarily, oftentimes, it works well to be simple.
If you are using your logo on an already busy webpage, it can work in your favor to keep your logo simple as to not take away from the rest of the information on the website. Alternatively, if you are selling a product in stores or on a retail website, it often pays to have a more detail-oriented logo as it will catch the eye of the consumer.
The Pros and Cons of Using a Gradient
The use of gradients can add dimension to your logo that was not previously there in a solid version. In certain designs, this can be extremely attractive, whereas, in others, it can look like a dated design.
Oftentimes people view gradients as being tacky and dated. Since flat designs are more common, the use of gradients is often seen as being an old design that has not been updated recently. Additionally, gradients are often seen as a crutch for those who are unable to create a strong design that can stand on its own.
With all of these reasons, it can be a bad idea to utilize gradients unless you are extremely skilled with using gradients and know exactly what you are doing. If you are set on using a gradient in your next logo, here are some ways to make sure you are using a gradient correctly.
Dos and Don’ts Using a Gradient
Focus on your design before even thinking about your gradient or even your color scheme. The most important thing about creating a logo is ensuring you have a strong design above all else. By creating a strong logo with flat colors first, you will be able to see exactly where your logo shines and how the colors are representing your brand.
After you are happy with this design, try adding in your gradient to see how it works with the logo you’ve already created. Play around with the colors and see how the look of the logo changes as you add in a gradient and play with the coloring a bit more. Remember that as you add in gradients, it should be done in a way that is relevant to the brand.
If you are simply relying on your gradient to create an abstract image or you likely will not produce the look you are hoping to. Instead, use your gradient in a creative way that will add to your design and have relevance to your brand. If it does not have any relevance to your brand, there is no reason to use a gradient over flat colors.
For example, if you are a travel company and are using a blue gradient, this could be relevant to look similar to the sky. This works for the company; however, if you are running a non-profit and using a rainbow gradient, this does not have any relevancy to the mission or action of the company. When thinking about your gradient, the color scheme is critical for sending the right message.
Remember also that when you implement a gradient, it should be subtle. It should not have so many colors, or it becomes extremely distracting and difficult to read. If you are using a rainbow gradient or multiple colors, you will see that the logo gets overwhelmed in color, and it makes it difficult to see the quality of the actual logo.
If you have designed a quality logo, you do not need to rely on excessive color use in your gradient in order to make your logo stand out. Using an intense gradient, especially in small design or one that is particularly detailed, will make for a messy looking logo. If you stick to a simpler gradient and have a well-executed logo, you will end up with a successful result.
Depending on the industry your logo will be used in, it is important to think about how printable your logo will be. If you are using gradients that are too colorful or have too many colors in a small space, you will see that it does not print well. When it comes to color and gradient, it is important to consider your printing.
If you are using a banded color gradient, it will give the effect of there being lines across your logo. This may be less noticeable on screen but will stand out when you go to print your logo. Even if you blend your gradient, it can often print in a banded way due to the way the printer takes down color.
The most important thing to remember when using a gradient on a logo that you plan on printing is being very selective in how you use the gradient effect. This remains true if the logo you are planning is going to be turned into a sign or placed around the company’s building as signage. Gradients will not come across well in many of these mediums and therefore, may be impractical.
Therefore, you need to consider what the logo is going to be used before designing. Even if you are currently only using the logo for a webpage right now, in the future, if the company takes off, they may need to use the same logo for building signage or print. Therefore, the logo should remain versatile even from the start in order to grow with the company.
Where Else Can You Use Gradients in Design?
If you are using gradients in your logo, or simply are curious about other platforms in which you can implement a gradient for the design portion, think about your web design. Gradients are commonly used to create backgrounds and designs. This can be useful for web design to make certain elements pop and direct the eyes of the viewer.
Gradients, as well as white space and color, pops on webpages, can be extremely useful to help the webpage flow and encourage the eyes of the viewer to follow the order of information you want them to. Since gradients create dimension, they are often a go-to choice for web designers.
Gradients are also useful in the building of app design as they offer a way for apps to stand out from the rest, both for the icon seen in the app store, and the internal software. It is important that the icon created for an app is different from others of its kind so that consumers will be drawn to the look and download the app.
If all apps looked the same, they would not get much user traffic. Therefore, many developers use gradients to create a colorful and eye-catching icon, much like that of Instagram. This is a great example of an app that has used gradients to create a recognizable and attractive app. The same goes for the internal design of the application; many use gradients for backgrounds.
Other common applications such as Snapchat and Skype utilize app gradients as their backgrounds and have been extremely successful with their designs. The use of gradients in app development can be extremely useful and done in a professional and intention way to increase engagement and user attraction.
If you do not have an app, maybe you are working on designing packaging for the products you sell. Many companies use gradients in their package design to set their packages’ look apart from the rest. Depending on the nature of your product, you will want to focus on different colors. For those who are selling activewear, often, a dark bold gradient is utilized to distinguish packaging.
For companies that are focused on skincare or hygiene products, generally, more pastel gradients are used for a clean look. Adding a gradient can create very attractive packaging, which often increases sales. The more attractive your gradient is on your packaging, the more consumers will be likely to share your product both in person and on social media.
The same even goes for the packaging used for shipping. Most can recognize the packages sent out by Amazon due to their bold blue color. Lastly, think about the colors and gradients used on your printable materials, including:
- Business cards
- Book covers
All of these printable materials can be spiced up with the use of flat colors or gradient colors. This not only creates a more eye-catching print but can set your item apart from others that are less creative with their use of professional colors.
All this to explain how gradients can be useful in your business, even if not used in the design of the logo. There are a lot of areas of design that gradients are useful and attractive for viewers without looking overdone or unprofessional. If you are hesitant to gradient your logo but want to utilize a gradient somewhere, consider one of the above elements.
Alternatives to Gradients in Logos
A potentially safer alternative to using gradients in your logos is instead using flat colors or maintaining black and white logos. Since huge corporations such as Apple, Microsoft, and Google have taken on flat logo designs, the use of flat colors has become increasingly popular in logo creation, more so than creating multi-dimensional logos with gradients.
Since the shift toward flat colors has become more popular, you will see that the majority of smaller companies have followed suit with flat colors or mainly black and white logos to maintain a clean and polished look. The main reason many use flat colors instead of gradients is to avoid taking the focus away from the design or the product that the logo represents.
Keep in mind also that white space is important in all designs. White space is what leads the eyes between elements and can make an aesthetic more pleasing. If you are not utilizing any white space in your design, you may be overwhelming the eyes of your viewers, which turns consumers away. Implement white space for a more well-balanced design.
Although gradients have been out for a while, they have been starting to come back a little bit more as companies are wanting to stand out from the rest. If you are designing a logo either for yourself or a client, keep in mind that there is no right or wrong when it comes to logo design and use of color or gradient.
If you are using a gradient that is relevant to the industry you are involved in and are working to keep the gradient simple, this will likely benefit your design and come off in the professional way you are hoping for. However, if you are overusing gradients and the color choices do not fit with the mission of the brand, you may be overdoing the design.
For those who are new to logo creation, or do not feel as confident in their abilities to create a successful logo, avoid using gradients. You will likely come out with a better result if you stick to using flat colors and focus more of your time on the design of the logo itself.
For those who are experts, do not be afraid to use gradients just because they have become less common over time. The use of gradients adds an extra challenge to your creation, but that does not mean that you will be unsuccessful in creating a professional and eye-pleasing logo for whatever brand you are designing for.
Although many are likely hesitant to use a gradient in their logos, there are many other areas of business design that can benefit from the use of gradients. Consider how gradients can attract consumers and viewers in the design of your webpage, business card, and app.
Additionally, remember how useful personalized packaging for your product can be in differentiating you from your competitors and standing out to consumers. This is true both of shipping packaging and direct packaging of the item. First, remember the importance of choosing a color that is relatable to the product itself.
Implementing a gradient with the proper color scheme on the packaging of a product can catch people’s eyes when in-store and online shopping. With exceptional packaging also comes more shares on social networking platforms by consumers, which spreads awareness about your product and can increase your overall sales.
Remember that gradients can look old school and tacky. However, if you are able to do it right and create a beautiful stand-alone logo or design, you are likely to have a great looking final product.