Why is Blue/Green/Yellow/Red such a popular color scheme for logos?


Question

Why is the combination of Blue/Green/Yellow/Red squares or letters such a popular scheme used in many logos of tech companies? The popular examples being the Windows Flag icon, Google logo and the Google Chrome logo, CMake logo (triangle), Ebay logo etc..

1
8
11/25/2013 3:30:00 PM

Accepted Answer

If you know of the opponent-process theory, you will know that there are 6 'special' colours: Black, white, red, green, yellow and blue.

An image illustrating the opponent-process theory

Although the receptor cones in the eye are sensitive to Red, Green, and Blue, prior to processing the brain encodes the information using 3 channels:

  • Black:White
  • Red:Green
  • Yellow:Blue

These 6 colours are thus termed unique hues as each represents an extreme in one of of the 3 channels.

When more than one colour is needed, using unique hues allows more colours to be used and easily distinguished. As using them reduces the need for the designer to consider various aspects of colour theory, such as luminance or chrominance contrast.

These 6 colours are also great for learnability - they are so distinguished from one another that it makes information coding easier compared to using non-unique hues.

Reference: Visual Thinking for Design (Ware, 2008); Chapter 4 (Colors).

14
11/26/2013 2:48:00 PM

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