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Logo Design and Color Psychology

Logo design and color psychology

According to some psychologists, there are many factors that have an influence on the way we perceive objects, and therefore on the effect images have on our mind. The Gestalt school of psychology, for example, postulates that the human mind perceives wholes out of incomplete elements and, through certain rules, it arranges elements by the use of perception and memory. This school was originated in Germany at the beginning of the twentieth century, and its most important exponents are Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Köhler, Kurt Koffka and Kurt Lewin.

Theorists belonging to this school believe that things are affected by where they are and what surrounds them. Therefore, the layout of images in a design is paramount to its success, since the way a logo design is perceived depends on the arrangement of the elements that make it up. If, when deciding on the images that will appear in a logo, we take into account the principles of perception, we will most probably convey the right impression on the target. Next there is a summary of the principles governing perception according to Gestalists:

  • Figure and ground: Similar elements (figure) are contrasted with dissimilar elements (ground) to give the impression of a whole. The smallest area tends to become the figure, while the biggest tends to be perceived as the ground.
  • Similarity: If there are many elements of different types in the same image, we tend to organize them in groups according to their similarities. Things which share visual characteristics such as shape, size, color or texture will be seen as belonging together.
  • Proximity or contiguity: Things that are close to one another will be perceived as belonging together. Parts of a whole are grouped according to distance, and therefore elements that are close to one another will be seen as parts of a whole.
  • Closure: Lines that are joined are perceived more easily than open lines.
  • Shape and totality: We tend to organize stimuli so that they are coherent and well defined. That is to say, that we tend to perceive wholes rather than parts in isolation.
  • Continuity: Those parts of a whole that remain hidden to the sight tend to be perceived according to the way the image would be continued if the missing information was included. Hence, if in the same picture we see the two halves of one object separated by another figure, we tend to perceive them as belonging to the same whole.


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Logo Design and Color Psychology