June 16, 2023
By: Gareth Mankoo
Rare, gorgeous, and highly controversial gradient logos are not everyone's cup of tea.
A gradient is a design element that sees different colors fade into one another without distinct separation of the colors. Gradients allow brands to use multiple colors, expressed through a softer transition between the colors rather than solid sections.
Designers debate their existence, viewers have a thing or two to say about them, and platforms rarely encourage gradient logos.
What could be the reason for this? Why are gradients rarely used, even though they can successfully package multiple hues to create artistic effects?
Let’s dive into what it takes to create a gradient logo design that works.
Creating a logo design with a gradient is a bold decision. When printed without lower detailing, gradient logos can appear pixelated.
Gradients are also known as “color progressions” and have a notorious street rep among artists for being difficult to replicate, especially in non-digital reproductions. Yet, we see some exemplary gradient logos all around.
Here are six tips to help you master the rare art.
Gradients are made up of different colors with fading edges that connect them. You remove the fade, replace them with sharp edges, and get bands of each brand color.
Before fading the colors together (to form a gradient), it is advisable to use them in their solid form to give you better visibility of the colors you use.
When you experiment your logo on solid colors first, you get an idea on whether there is room for gradients to make an appearance. In the logo above, adding gradients would likely make the design too forced, as it features elements that fall under nature.
Colors used on logos are borrowed from other branding elements. Solid colors help identify colors that match your palette. Once satisfied, you can fade them into one another to create gradients. A solid logo is more usable in non-digital formats.
Gradients are complicated to create and reproduce. If you over-complicate how your gradient appears, you will complicate how customers remember it. Keep gradient logos simple by employing fewer colors.
In this case, simplicity can be as simple as using a white logo background, using one icon, and sticking to a general color scheme. Having too many elements in a logo, which is poor practice in any circumstance, would render the gradient colors too overwhelming.
Your logo will always be a part of a larger design canvas. Imagine your brand’s advertising poster with a logo somewhere in the corner grabbing all the attention instead of the real message you are putting out.
Look for the colors used by other businesses that do what you do. Understanding color psychology will equip you with the right colors for your gradient logo.
Each color corresponds to different industries. In the example above, gradient colors were placed on a black background to signify a night club scene, which tends to be connected to neon colors, making the color combinations work perfectly.
Food brands prefer using red, yellow, and green. Banks prefer white, blue, and grey. Likewise, pharmaceutical brands, automotive manufacturers, and more all have their preferred color codes depending on what feeling they wish to invoke with consumers.
Gradient logos with contrasting colors are more impactful. Using similar colors across a gradient can cause the key colors to be lost amid the fades.
In this instance, using a bright color like yellow over a cool color like green creates more emphasis on the business name and logo. Emphasis is one of the most important principles of design to uphold while you’re creating your logo design.
Pick contrasting colors that are acceptable in your color psychology chart to create maximum impact and make a memorable and loved logo.
Gradients can pose a unique challenge when it comes to typography. The multiple hues can obscure the eligibility of your logo font and make it difficult to read. You can ensure better readability by experimenting with different font colors.
You can ensure legibility by using muted colors that are easily readable. Some examples of this are black, white, and gray. Though they’re not the most exciting colors in a logo, they stand the test of time and are legible enough from far distances.
Contrasting colors will help text stand out and be more readable over gradient backgrounds. The same goes for smaller emblems and symbols over a field of gradients. They can get lost if not sharply contrasted.
Every logo finds itself on a background, depending on what surface it is used. Logos used on signages can be printed on glass, logos can be on t-shirt prints and merchandise, and they can also be published on flex surfaces.
Each of these offers its unique challenges in accommodating gradient logos.
You can rest assured that your logo will work across different surfaces only if you test it on these tricky surfaces and backgrounds. Even digital backgrounds require your logo to stand out against a background color.
Pick background colors that sharply contrast your gradient logo so that it does not blend in and obscure the viewing experience.
Many designers would prefer to use gradient logos frequently. Does this mean that they are a strict no? Of course not. Gradient logos can be impactful, colorful, and meaningful if used in the right context.
Here are some of the best places and times to consider a gradient logo.
Online small businesses create advertising content mainly on digital platforms. Using a gradient to represent online brands makes more sense as they are represented vividly and effectively online rather than offline.
Innovative and creative companies have the luxury of resources and skills to pull off a gradient logo and live to tell the tale. Gradients also demonstrate the creativity of a company, something that a bank or a law firm would vehemently avoid.
If your logo is complicated, another complicated aspect, like a logo, could make it more difficult to comprehend. Consumers need more attention and time to consume your branded content today. Your logo needs to attract their attention and stay in their minds. Simplicity is the best way to make this possible.
Brands represented by a hero icon or symbol can better use gradients in their logos. These graphical elements are easier to identify with a gradient fill or background. Wordmark logos must be more legible, so you must choose solid colors over gradients for such logos.
At the end of the day, using gradient colors in your logo is dependent on many factors. LOGO.com is your premium yet free source on creating a gradient logo that stands the test of time. LOGO.com’s new gradient logos feature solid gradients and metallic gradients, providing you with endless possibilities for a dynamic design.
It is remarkable how some of the most used online platforms and tools use gradient logos with great efficacy. Here are the five most recognizable gradient logo designs:
The Instagram logo has been through a series of changes through the years. Today, even in a minimal, flat-color-loving world, the planet’s favorite image-sharing social media app sports a gradient logo.
The logo is minimal but doesn’t spare the use of bright, vivid colors as an eye-catching gradient. The Instagram logo inspires any brand that is hesitant to use gradients in its branding.
Over time, the brand has optimized the gradient to match modern sensibilities and actions, making it one of the most noticeable icons on any phone’s application panel.
Tinder is largely a wordmark logo, where the text is written in a single color. The gradient shows up in the tinder flame emblem, where the colors of passion create a fiery flame.
The silhouette has shades of orange and red to showcase the relationships consumers can build on the app. The blend of a colorful symbol and a font in solid colors makes the Tinder logo effective in multiple situations.
Meant to simplify work tasks and organize your professional life better, Asana has an interesting logo. It doesn’t border on complex, but the three ominous pink globes floating over the wordmark are eye-catching and recognizable. The Asana logo is dominated by a wordmark below the emblem that packs the gradient.
The Mozilla Firefox logo has been around for a while. The design may be inching toward modern styles, but the gradient on the dorsal portion of the representative fox must be addressed. What stands out in this logo is the sharp purplish contrast in the logo.
Apple’s logo preferences swing two ways. The company either employs a monochromatic black and white without much pomp or goes completely radical and creates logos and backgrounds with colorful gradients. The iTunes logo is one such example. It packs the key colors of the brand on a musical note that sits on a field of grey.
What are some commonly asked questions about making a gradient logo design? Get your questions answered with these three FAQs.
A gradient is a type of color transition in which one hue fades into another. Gradients, often called "color progressions" or "color ramps," are gradual changes in color that can be created using varying intensities of the same hue or by blending different colors.
Using gradients in your logo is a certain way to make it stand out from the crowd. However, you should make sure the gradient design is appropriate for your company's image and appealing to your intended customers. If your logo looks better without a gradient, don't include one for the sake of style.
Gradient design is a radical departure from the flat, minimalist aesthetic. Here, color blends together to produce eye-catching design components on the screen, and individual colors are combined to create shadows, lights, and depth.
Gradient logos are underutilized and misunderstood wonders of branding that have survived with some of the most consumed brands in the world. Before testing your brand with a gradient logo, ensure your business is the right kind to sport this dynamic and rogue color style.