How to use watercolor well.
While watercolor logos are visually appealing, they don’t work in all graphic design contexts. Logos have to work in grayscale, black and white, and color. When you design a watercolor company logo, make sure it is still legible without the watercolor element. Business cards, stationery, and some merchandise might not be able to show off the watercolor elements of your logo, but you still need a logo that works for those things.
That means that the non-watercolor elements of a business logo still need to work as a logo. The typography and other visual elements need to communicate a brand identity, even without the splash of watercolor in the background. “The most significant piece is the type and the icon that goes with the type,” says Ooyevaar. “The background is secondary.” While a watercolor background might be the most attention-grabbing part of a logo, it also has to be removable or changeable.
Create versions of your logo both with and without the watercolor elements. This often means the watercolor shape is treated as a more traditional graphic element. “When the watercolor is used correctly, it’s just treated as a color,” says Lippard. “You have a shape that you would normally just have as a solid color, but you want more depth to that color. That’s where watercolor works really well.”
“If you’re going to do watercolor, treat it as a color or a texture in the logo,” says Lippard. “Not as the logo.” An essential part of using a watercolor logo, then, is identifying when to use it. In situations where you can use a larger, more high-resolution logo, like on a website or in a store window, watercolor is fair game.