The Meaning of Green

Green Symbols

Are you wearing your green on St. Patrick's Day? Or have you already gotten pinched?! Green is everywhere on St. Patrick's Day, even in beer!  It's the color of Ireland reflecting it's green-colored landscape. The green sprouts are emerging from the soil reminding us that winter is now behind us and the renewal of the land has begun. 

The psychology of color runs deep. It can be very complex and controversial in marketing and can evoke many different emotions in people. Everyone has a favorite color, like forest green, and one they despise – puke-green comes to mind.

Why is green used in so many brands? It's a fresh color that is easiest on the eyes. It is associated with health, wealth, balance, hope, growth and well-being. The Girl Scouts come to mind. It's a color of productivity, like giving a project "the green light." "Go Green!" – for our environment. In the Highlands of Scotland people wear green as a color of honor. In Japan it is regarded as the color of eternal life. It can brighten a gloomy day and a photo or plant provides relaxation at home and office. Adding a bit of bright green parsley to a steak entices the palette even more. So ultimately, why wouldn't a company want to be associated with green.

Old home in the foothills of Iceland displaying multiple shades of green.

Old home in the foothills of Iceland displaying multiple shades of green.

There are negative associations with green as well. Like jealously, hence the phrase "green with envy." It's not a good idea for a financial institution to use it as it can be associated with greed, even though it represents prosperity. A certain shade of green can invoke illness, "green around the gills."

When it comes to selecting a color for your brand or even your home it needs to mean something to you and feel good to you. Just always be aware with marketing, how color is defined in a broader sense. 

Pedro Calderon de la Barca puts it beautifully, “green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.”

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photos and graphics by Minava Design ©2017

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