Color Meaning: Green
Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises. ~Pedro Calderon de la Barca
Green is perhaps the most meaning filled color, not only in its hue, but in its multiple associations. The word green originates from the old english “ghre” which means grow. This attests to greens relationship with plants, trees and the natural world. When you observe any rural landscape, you will find a virtual rainbow of green shades, this is because it takes up a largest portion of the spectrum of colors visible to the human eye. A quick internet search for green will lead you to myriad of environmental websites, recycling organizations, poems of reckless youth, and salad making instructions. References to envy, emeralds, Mr. Yuck, and illness demonstrate the variety of this lovely colors connotations, and also indicate that caution should be used when considering which shades of green to use in a business setting.
Natural shades of green, those found in a forest or garden, offer a soothing psychological effect. They are associated with balance, calm and harmony. If you want to have a retreat area, where you can feel relaxed and recharged, decorate with raw, natural green colors. The human body reacts to these shades of green with pituitary stimulations, muscle relaxation and an increase in blood histamine levels which decreases allergy symptoms. Natural mid-green shades physically calm and de-stress while giving a mild invigorating response. In tests, it has been shown to improve reading ability and creativity.
The garden of love is green without limit and yields many fruits other than sorrow or joy. ~Rumi
In contrast to the positive physiological effects of natural greens, the reverse is true of muddy or overly yellowed green tones. Negative energies and associations with institutional settings abound in these murky shades. Mr. Yuck is a yellow-green sticker used as a toxin warning, and an ill person is often referred to as “green around the gills” and may have a gray green cast to their skin tone. Avoid using these colors over large areas where you want clients to feel relaxed and comfortable.
Dark green, also known as “forest green”, is associated with trust and growth. This darker shade offers a sense of loyalty, wealth, and is often used in financial business affairs. Deep, dark green will create a space that instills feelings of tradition, security and perhaps masculinity. This can be a powerful color as exemplified in classical library and executive office palettes.
Many businesses use green in their logos. Starbucks designed their logo specifically to create a sense of calm and belonging, they want repeat customers who associate their coffee shops as an oasis from their busy lives. You will often find their stores to be painted in varying shades of green, which also leads to a feeling of environmental friendliness, all without saying a word. This earth friendly message is also represented with Whole Foods and MorningStar Farms green logos, both companies that want to reach “green” consumers.
As in anything else, colors can have their duality. Clients may have their own deeply rooted feelings and reactions towards colors that even they don’t understand, so a calming mid-tone palette is almost always a good choice. Vassily Kandinsky, pioneering abstract artist, wrote, “Absolute green is the most restful color, lacking any undertone of joy, grief, or passion. On exhausted men this restfulness has a beneficial effect, but after a time it becomes tedious.” Use the power of green wisely, let its earthy calm offer a haven for your clients trust and sense of well-being.
Join us next week as we explore the color blue.