Brown. From Old English brūn, similar to Dutch bruin, German braun, Old Norse brūnn, related to Lithuanian brùnas.
Brown is a complex color. It is a mix of other colors. A of brown can vary dramatically when pushed towards warm, cool, dark, or light tones. For a designer, this is the difference between a color that communicates an earthy, solid, sensual message, and one related to baby diapers.
When accompanied by green, brown reads as a natural color. This combination is typically overused with branding related to “organic” and “sustainability”. Brown and orange were popular colors in the 1970s, again communicating a return to the natural world and rejection of the synthetic. A palette of shades of brown, from tan to grey-brown, can read as sophisticated and solid.
Most cultures connect brown with the earth. It is wholesome and stable. In the United States, brown and orange are the colors of Thanksgiving. In India, brown is the color of mourning, as it relates to dying leaves. The early Nazi party used brown uniforms, referred to as “brown shirts”.
Brown color meaning in business
The brown color makes us think of nature, soil, and trees, giving us a calm and good feeling. This color brings out a sweet chocolate flavor or coffee with a deep, bitter smell.
Brown is also an excellent alternative to black, and it’s a natural choice for a business that wants to keep an image as an organic and natural brand. Try accompanying it with green and you will get a beautiful natural-looking palette.
When the styling is done elegantly, brown looks calm and confident. If you mix deep brown with metallic or mint, you will get a luxurious and stylish palette. Put brown together with bright orange and yellow, and you will achieve something substantial and confident.
Brown is statistically the most unpopular color for both men and women, but in the right place and with the right tonality, brown can appear irresistible.
Should I use dark brown color, light brown, or any brown at all…?
Remember, as almost any other color, green works also in basically any branding. Simply don’t forget to put attention to the value of the colors used – is the brown a shade, tone, tint, or pure? Is the yellow more of a mustard or bright lemon? These details make a huge difference and are a huge part of color psychology in business.
Learn all about all four color psychology personalities:
- Group 1- Brand Design 1: How To Brand a Youthful, Open, and Happy Business
- Group 2- Brand Design 2: How To Brand an Elegant, Feminine Business
- Group 3- Brand Design 3: How To Style an Earthy, Community-Focused Business
- Group 4- Brand Design 4: How To Brand a High-End, Luxury Business
As a tool for creating your own color palette, I recommend Adobe Color. It has a wide variety of different features that help you to find the colors that work best for you.
Color theory: warm brown vs cool brown
Discover how the color brown is created plus learn the difference between cool brown and warm brown. That knowledge is very useful when deciding the mood of your brand and if you’d like to include brown in your color palette.