Psychology of the Color Brown and What it Means for Your Business

As graphic designers, we understand how much thought can go into selecting a company's color palette for their branding—color can increase brand recognition by up to 80%. Thousands of brands have chosen brown as their primary identifying color, but why? Let’s take a look at some more popular brown brands and offer some insight into why they chose this neutral color.

A LITTLE BACKGROUND

Simply put, brown is a natural color. And it’s because of this natural presence in nature, the color brown is quickly associated with all things organic. Brown is seen as being stable, reliable, and approachable—perhaps because of its earthy quality.

At the same time, brown can easily be perceived as boring and dull. It can also be used as a subsitute for the color black, providing an extra bit of warmth. All in all, brown supplies the mind with a sense of wholesomeness, orderliness and connectivity to earth.

One way in which brown has developed certain associations is through food. Coffee is a prime example of how warmth, balance and homeliness can easily become tied to the color brown. In the same way, dark beers offer the same feelings of balance and wholesomeness. Chocolate, for some people, can be comforting. Nutty scents are light and are said to add balance and strength to recipes.

BRANDS THAT USE BROWN

UPS

For decades, The United Parcel Service has been known for their brown delivery trucks and uniforms. At one point, UPS even had a tagline that explicitly identified themselves with the color brown: “What can brown do for you?” This blatant use of brown clearly declares what UPS tries to communicate: timeliness, reliability and order.

HERSHEY'S

For a chocolate manufacturer the color choice seems obvious, but the comforting color is both nostalgic and timeless, communicating the company's strong history and continued future as a leader in the industry.

COTTON

The logo itself contains a tree, but the color brown denotes it as a organic, quality product. 

EDY'S

Edy's has been around since the 1920's and their logo embodies a sense of tradition with rich and warm brown tones. 

GLORIA JEAN'S COFFEES

With just one look, it as if you can smell the coffee! Their mark is friendly and inviting, using rich browns and a splash of gold. Unlike Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks, this brand uses calm and neutral colors to reflect a calming coffee house you want to spend time in.

JP MORGAN

One of the oldest, largest and best-known financial institutions in the world, J.P. Morgan uses the color brown due to its associations with stability and reliabilty. Over the years, their logo has remained timeless due to the serious shade of brown and serif font.

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Updated on November 24, 2015

 

Sources: Bourn Creative

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