July 09, 2015
What do you associate with the color green? Depending on one's life experiences and cultural upbringing an individual may have a unique viewpoint on what the color represents, but as a collective green is thought to represent a certain set of associations—do you know what they are? If you're considering designing with the color green, or using it in your branding, read on to learn the best color branding strategies.
The color green has a wide range of visual and mental associations, a fact attributed to its use in many phrases and expressions (think, "grass is greener," "going green," "getting the green light," etc.). Another contributing factor is that green takes up a larger portion of the spectrum of colors visible to the human eye than any other color—meaning one type of green can have totally different associations than another. For example, a dark forest green can become very manly, traditional, and calm, while lime green (think Gatorade) has a high level of energy. These natural greens, from forest to lime, are perceived as tranquil and refreshing. You may have noticed that all these associations have one thing in common: green has an overall positive message.
As a secondary color, green is a mixture of two primary colors, blue and yellow; it is considered peaceful and stable due to its natural balance of cool and warm colors. Green is generally considered to be a cool color in and of itself and because of this, green often establishes itself as an unofficial primary color. Whenever primary colors are being used and a warm/cool balance needs to be achieved, green is incorporated.
A perfect example of where this is seen is board games that involve only four individual players. Chances are that the four colors used to designate these players are red, yellow, blue, and green, creating a visually balanced game board. It is this visual sense of balance that gives the color green a soothing and relaxing influence. Green is known to help alleviate depression, nervousness, and anxiety. It also promotes a sense of renewal, self-control, and harmony. For this reason, television guests will wait in a “green room” to relax before going on air.
All of these are important considerations when designing with the color green. However, too much green can have a negative impact. Studies have shown that when a person is overwhelmed with the color green, individuals felt lazy, moddy, slow and depressed. The secret to using green is moderation, especially when it comes to your business' brand.
Never one afraid to standout, Spotify has a history of picking interesting shades of green for their brand. The color was originally selected simply because no one was using green at the time and they wanted to stand out. After a few years, they felt the color, while different, was missing the mark. Being in the music business, Spotify wanted their logo to reflect the vibrancy of their industry—the neon green chosen as part of their recent redesign now pops, communicating the fresh and modern music Spotify releases daily.
Perhaps one of the most famous green logo identities, Starbucks’ green continually communicates ideas of calmness and sophistication. Drawing its success from coffee-growers and coffee shops all over the world, Starbuck’s green is intended to promote international peace, not to mention stability and consistency in their product. Starbucks coffee shops are also intended to be relaxing places. They accomplish this by using significant amounts of green on their walls, but this is subconsciously emphasized through the green in their memorable logo. Over time, Starbucks coffee becomes a symbol of comfort for many people, thanks to green.
Talk about girl power! The green in their mark communicates the energy, strength, and tradition associated with the organization. Not to mention, founder, Juliette Gordon Low loved nature and the outdoors so a founding principle of the Girl Scouts has always been being a part of something bigger than yourself, meaning the sisterhood and the environment.
Although yellow finds its way into this logo identity, BP’s brand can be classified as one that uses green in an effective way. A UK-based oil and gas company, BP is known for exercising various renewable energy activities, including practice in biofuels, wind and solar power. These environment-saving, “green” practices continue to make BP’s green logo very fitting in today’s economy.
It's a jungle out there, according to Animal Planet. When they rebranded themselves a few years ago, Animal Planet livened up their mark with multiple shades of green to communicate that the channel was more than boring nature documentaries, instead focusing on their primal and exciting programming. The shades of green not only convey the landscapes many of these animals live in but also the conservation component the company strives to uphold.
Known for their minimalistic green block identity, this tax and banking service utilizes green in a powerful way. Drawing associations to stability and peace, this brand seeks to build trust and assurance in their services. As a bright and lively green, this brand suggests the positive notion of saving clients money. The green brand also makes connections to money, very fitting for its industry.