The logo colors of healthcare

Harness the psychology of color to build your brand.
Healthcare illustration by Pinch Studio

Taking the temperature of the industry

We trust healthcare providers with our lives. That’s a huge responsibility, and one that prompts us to look for professionals who embody trust, authority, stability and tranquility. But with so many companies looking to portray these characteristics, healthcare brands inevitably fall ill with “sameness.” Today’s savvy consumers are shopping around for healthcare providers, so it’s important to communicate what makes you unique.
How do you choose colors for a healthcare logo that portray you as trustworthy but also allow you to stand out from the crowd? We’ve analyzed the color palettes of over 900 healthcare logo designs, evaluated the brand personality traits that medical professionals want, and consulted color psychology experts in order to help you decide.

Surgical doses of blue: a full examination of popular healthcare colors

  • Healthcare industry popular logo color choices
The healthcare industry relies on blue as a primary provider more than any other industry. When we look at industry leading providers, blue appears in nearly 85% of all logos. It’s also requested in over two out of every three healthcare logos sourced on 99designs. This choice makes perfect sense when we consider what customers associate with the color blue: knowledge, tranquility, security and trust. In the stress-filled environment of healthcare, where both well being and finances are vulnerable, blue is tried-and-true way to show your competence.
When we check up on the second most commonly used color, results vary based on the population. Industry leaders page white into action 36% of the time, but here at 99designs, green comes in second—requested by over 40% of healthcare businesses.

So what colors don’t measure high on the popularity scale? Brown, pink, purple and yellow. Because of its associations with dirt, brown’s unpopularity makes sense—we want our healthcare facilities to be clean and sterile. Yellow and pink, however, are both friendly, welcoming colors, which seem like they would have a place in an industry of care.

Logos from the top four healthcare brands by revenue generally follow these trends, though the specific role a company fills certainly has side effects on logo color choice:
  • CVS logo
  • McKesson logo
  • Unitedhealth Group logo
  • Amerisource Bergen logo
While three feature a serious, deep blue, the red CVS logo is a clear outlier. Red, which can signify danger, blood and excitement, seems to be a strange choice at first, but not so when we look at other popular retail drugstores: Walgreens, Rite Aid and Target also rely on red. We see in the retail industry that red lures shoppers inside, so the bold logo works to draw attention to their stores. These companies aren’t directly dealing with life-or-death situations, so they’re comfortable seeking a dose of bravado.
Diagnosing how your company interacts with patients will help you determine the level of seriousness your brand needs to portray. This is just one aspect of your brand personality. Once you figure out what attributes describe your brand, it's easy to translate those traits into colors.

Taking your vitals: colors of brand personality in healthcare

Start determining your brand personality by asking yourself these six questions:
  • Gender: Is my brand traditionally masculine or feminine?
  • Tone: Is my brand playful or serious?
  • Value: Is my brand luxurious or affordable?
  • Time: Is my brand modern or classic?
  • Age: Is my brand youthful or mature?
  • Energy: Is my brand loud or subdued?
We'll use your answers to see what logo color works best for you.
Your primary logo color is red, the universal sign of excitement, passion, anger and stimulated appetites. Think stop signs, agitated bulls and fast food joints. Looking for loud, playful, youthful or modern? Red’s your go-to.

If you’re going the red route, Pantone recommends using Cherry Tomato to stay on-trend with this year’s palette. Cherry Tomato is a powerful shade of red that packs an energetic punch sure to leave a lasting impact on your audience.
Your primary logo color is orange. Orange is an invigorating, playful color, the love child of red (warmth) and yellow (joy). Go orange to stand out from the crowd. It’s used less often than red, but still packs an energetic punch.

Pantone recommends Flame Orange in this year’s palette. If you decide to make Flame Orange the focal color of your designs, make sure to balance it out with plenty of neutrals to avoid making the end design visually overwhelming.
Your primary logo color is yellow, which is all about accessible, sunshiney friendliness. Yellow exudes cheer (think sunflowers and smiley faces). Choose yellow and your brand will radiate an affordable, youthful energy.

This year, Blazing Yellow made the cut in Pantone’s palette of the year. Use this hue in your design to stay ahead of trend and evoke warmth in your audience.
Your primary logo color is green, the ultimate in versatility. Green isn’t linked with specific personality traits, but it has strong cultural associations. It’s connected to nature, growth, rebirth and in the US … money and prosperity. So, whether you’re in finance or gardening, green may be for you.

This year’s Pantone shade of Lime Green is a little bit different. The vibrant lime hue is a little bolder, a little brighter, and a little more vibrant than more traditional shades of green—which adds a fun, youthful spin you won’t find in more subdued variations.
Your primary logo color is blue, the king of colors. Blue appears in over half of all logos because it represents intelligence, trustworthiness and maturity. Technology companies and large corporations lean towards blue’s steadfastness and security. True blue will make sure you’re taken seriously.

Pantone chose not one but two shades of blue for this year’s palette. Dazzling Blue is a classic dark blue that you can work into any design in any industry. Meanwhile, its sibling hue, Hawaiian Ocean, is a brilliant turquoise that evokes images of the ocean and is thus best for brands that want to be associated with calm, peace and tranquility.
Your primary logo color is purple, a warm and cool combination that blends the passion of red with the serenity of blue. Go with purple to appear luxurious, cutting-edge or wise. There’s just a hint of femininity in there, too.

Pantone lists Fuschia Purple in their palette of the year. It’s more of a pink than a purple, but because this shade is so vibrant, it can inspire feelings of excitement and passion like its parent color, red. Use Fuschia Purple in your design to blend the boundaries of purple, pink and red.
Your primary logo color is pink, which represents romance and femininity, but is also incredibly versatile. From millennial pink to neon magenta, pick pink for a modern, youthful, luxurious look.

Pantone lists Fuschia Purple in their palette of the year, though the hue is more like a reddish pink. Because this pink is so bright and close to red, the bold color choice would be just as effective for any kind of retail design. Use Fuschia Purple in your design to blend the boundaries of purple, pink and red.
Make your brand appear rugged, masculine or serious. Brown is very underutilized, so you’ll stand out from the competition.
Black is the new black. Want to look slick, modern and luxurious? Time to go black. Rather be economical and affordable? Stay away from the dark side.
The absence of color. White is youthful and economical, but can work for almost any brand. As a neutral color, consider white as a secondary accent.
Not quite dark, not quite light. Gray is the middleground of mature, classic and serious. Go darker to add mystery. Go lighter to be more accessible.
Here's how healthcare businesses on 99designs define their brand personalities:
  • Healthcare industry preferred brand personality traits
From this we infer that people in healthcare want a logo that is subdued, serious and mature.  These traits align with the following colors:
  • Healthcare industry brand personality-color combinations
Based on this, we would expect to see a lot of blue, purple, pink and black healthcare logos, and very few that are orange, yellow and red.
In reality, we see a whole lot of blue, with small doses of white, green, gray and black. Blue has high associations with being perceived as both serious and mature, so it seems fitting that it enjoys high levels of popularity with healthcare firms. Companies lean on white for its reassuring associations with purity and hygiene. And green represents growth, refreshment, balance and nature: characteristics that add up to a clean bill of health for many healthcare companies, especially those with a focus on natural, organic living. But pink and purple healthcare logos are few and far between.
  • Synova logo
  • logo
  • Capstone logo
While we didn’t expect to see red in many logos (it is the color of blood, after all), we do see it often prescribed to healthcare companies in the retail space. Additionally, the association with danger can be used as an advantage: the American Red Cross, for example, employs red to symbolize an urgent call to action in disaster situations.

What we prescribe: the colors healthcare professionals should explore

If your company directly treats life-threatening issues (a surgery center, for example), blue might very well make your patients comfortable. But if you’re willing to stray from blue’s safety net, there are several color options that can help you visually stand out and represent the role you fill.
  • Psychology of color meanings
If you’re also a retailer, you might open your doors to an exciting red. Those pushing an all-natural approach may go green. Specialize in women’s healthcare? A soft pink may be appropriate. Purple’s spiritual qualities could work wonders for alternative treatments. And for children’s healthcare, bold, crayon-inspired colors would be appealing.
The demographics of your target population can also help you choose the right hue. While a hospital may choose cool and calming colors to portray a tranquil environment, an assisted living center might opt for warmer colors to convey a welcoming atmosphere. Logos from the following healthcare brands illustrate this:
  • citydoc logo
  • Pediatric dentistry logo
  • Deschutes Dental Center logo
As you set out to design your healthcare logo, you’ll want to take your brand personality into account, and think about the traits you most want to convey. Color is a personal choice, but but understanding color psychology in marketing can help you make an informed decision for your small business.
Have we confirmed your choice for blue? Or made you gaga for green? Use our Designer Search tool to find a designer well-equipped to give your business a healthy dose of personality.

Blue collar, white collar, purple collar: what are the logo colors of other industries?

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