Color Meaning: Green

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
Color Meaning Green

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.

Color Meaning Green

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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the origin of the color green?

The word green originates from the Old English word “ghre,” which means grow. This reflects green’s association with plants, trees, and the natural world.

What psychological effects does the color green have?

Natural shades of green, such as those found in forests or gardens, have a soothing effect and are associated with balance, calm, and harmony. They stimulate the pituitary gland, relax muscles, and can decrease allergy symptoms. Mid-green shades have been shown to improve reading ability and creativity.

Are there any negative associations with certain shades of green?

Muddy or overly yellowed green tones can have negative associations and are often associated with institutional settings. They may evoke negative energies and discomfort.

What associations do dark green colors have?

Dark green, also known as “forest green,” is associated with trust, growth, loyalty, and wealth. It is commonly used in financial business affairs and can create a sense of tradition, security, and masculinity.

How is green used in business branding?

Many businesses use green in their logos to convey messages of calm, environmental friendliness, and a sense of belonging. Companies like Starbucks, Whole Foods, and MorningStar Farms use green in their logos to appeal to “green” or environmentally conscious consumers.

Why is a calming mid-tone palette a good choice when using green?

Different individuals may have deeply rooted feelings and reactions towards colors, so a calming mid-tone palette is a safe and generally well-received choice. Absolute green, devoid of any undertones of joy, grief, or passion, can have a restful effect but may become tedious after a certain period of time.

How can green be used to create a haven for a client’s trust and well-being?

By using green wisely and incorporating its earthy calm, businesses can create an environment or design that instills a sense of trust and well-being in their clients. Green can evoke a feeling of relaxation and being grounded in the natural world.

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