Green – Nature and Nurture
One of the things people remember first about a brand is it’s colour choices. In this series of articles, we’ll be looking at what each colour says about a brand, how it makes people react and what messages it sends. This article looks at the colour green and the brand messages it promotes.
Green is a secondary colour, the product of mixing blue and yellow. It is seen as a ‘cool’ colour, sitting on the spectrum with blue and purple. Cool colours are often seen as reserved and relaxing, often being associated with water and nature.
When used within branding, green can hold a few different meanings. Like any other colour, it is important to understand what it is saying to people and that this is the message you are trying to convey. The key messages that green portrays are peace, growth, health and environment. It is also sometimes seen as the colour of money. Overwhelmingly, green is used to portray positive emotional feelings.
Green is often seen as the fourth primary colour (despite being a mixture of yellow and blue). When a visual balance between warm and cool colours is required, green is often used alongside blue to counter red and yellow. Board games often use green as the fourth colour piece to achieve balance in this way.
Brands that use green as their main colour tend to be trying to make a statement – sometimes social but often also to stand out among the crowd. Here are some famous examples.
Arguably the most famous example of green in branding (ranking 23rd in the Financial Times’ top 100 brands of 2018), Starbucks logo pushes the ideas of calm, respect and sophistication. The addition of white adds to these ideals, particularly the sophistication and calming influences. They advertise their coffee shops as safe, relaxing places and use green to achieve this, both in their logo and their wider brand identity. Starbucks also run a number of environmental initiatives, further cementing their choice in brand colour.
Motor vehicle companies tend to have branding that promotes balance (black and white/silver), trust (blue) or excitement (red). Land Rover’s choice in colour should not make sense in an industry dominated by the cool and the sleek, but their niche has made them a recognisable brand. Land Rover’s vehicles have always been about adventure and the outdoors – being away from the city and in the greenery of the country. Their identity produces a feeling of rugged authenticity and freedom.
The Android robot’s light shade creates feelings of control. The main selling point for Android over Apple products is the open source nature of the programming, allowing for greater control and customisation.
Green doesn’t only cover health and peace. It can also show vibrancy and liveliness, as is shown in the Monster Energy logo. Using a vibrant shade of lime green gives off a feeling of energy, contrasted with a deep black to further emphasise this. Perfect for selling a drink that promises to boost your energy levels.
Tips for using Greens
As with any colours, it is important to understand what your brand message is and whether your colour choices complement this. Greens are highly versatile – they take up more of the visible spectrum than any other colour. This means that different hues can have totally different meanings. Natural greens are refreshing and peaceful, so are great for health and wellness industries or products. If your company has a strong environmental ethos, they will also help portray this to your clients. Bright or neon greens can also be used as statement pieces and are highly eye-catching and engaging in marketing.
Be aware when using greens that you are portraying your message correctly. With so many shades available, it is easy to get your message confused by using the wrong tone. Too much can also have a negative impact, often over use of the colour can create feelings of laziness, so try to use it in moderation.
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