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How do I choose the colors for a logo in order that it can be used on both black and white mediums? Should I use two different color schemes? Are there other methods of making a single logo which works well in all situations without changing its colors?

A single-color logo (for example, green) which would work well on a white background might be reversed out for occasional use as white-on-black. How do I choose the colors of a multi-color logo for that to work in all situations?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

One obvious solution is to ensure that no colour in the logo touches the background: in this way colour contrast doesn't matter. It isn't necessary to change any of the colour(s) in the logo to accommodate the background.

Here's a red logo. It's a single colour, but it illustrates the principle: red on black doesn't really work. The red disappears and the white portion is even more prominent. With a white key, though, both the elements of the logo are noticeable because you are forcing the background to be white.

Logo on different backgrounds

I've actually used the bordered version here on a dark-coloured noticeboard.

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It's a pretty common practice to make several versions of a logo to go with the different contexts that you'll see the logo in. A "full color," a "black," and a "reversed" (i.e. white).

If you look at the branding guidelines for some of the bigger studios and agencies, you'll see this kind of thing a lot.

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