Color Theory: Green as a Branding Color
Is green a good choice for your logo, branding or marketing? To find the answers, it’s important to first understand the color theory of green, its different shades and the emotional connections associated with them. We connect colors to all different types of experiences — where the color is found in nature, societal usage of the color and well-known brands who use the color in their logo, packaging or marketing.
The two biggest connections people make with green are nature and money — especially in the U.S. where our currency is green.
Color psychology: Green refers to nature
Green in nature
It’s easy to understand why all-natural products or organizations supporting nature use green. Nature is filled with many colors, but green is the predominant one.
Green in agricultural logos and branding
Companies and organizations directly involved with agriculture, forestry and farming have been using green for decades. These include John Deere, Monsanto, and Cargill. Some government or non-profit organizations that use green in their logos include the US Department of Agriculture, the Forest Service, and several organic certifying organizations.
Use green to connect your brand to nature
Additionally, some brands use green to create an association with things that are natural.
Subway likely chose green, rather than <red> a more common color for fast food restaurants, to promote their fresh ingredients. SweetLeaf, a sugar substitute, wants to emphasize that its product is derived from natural plants, unlike some other laboratory-derived sweeteners. Waste Management, while in the business of hauling trash, wants to remind people of the environmental consequences of how we send our waste to the landfills or into the recycling stream.
But some brand use green to draw this connection — even if they can’t necessarily back it up. BP, which was originally named British Petroleum, faced quite a backlash when they revealed their green logo as a way to move away from the negative connotations of being an oil company.
If you choose green for your branding and marketing, be careful of “greenwashing”, which is an attempt to make a company appear more environmentally friendly than it is.
Color psychology: Green color in branding means environmentally and ecologically friendly
Green in eco-friendly brands
The reference of green being connected to all things growing has made ‘green’ the nickname for anything that is environmentally friendly or ecologically focused. Green jobs are jobs that preserve or restore the environment and protect against climate change. Green products strive to have little or no negative effects on the environment.
Several organic and eco-friendly brands use green in their name, logo, branding, packaging or marketing.
Color psychology: Green color in branding means money
Green in finance and money-related brands
In the US, our paper currency is green, so we connect the color with financial products and services. Some of the most well-known green logos from the financial sector include Fidelity, TD Bank and Intuit’s Quickbooks, which is a business accounting software. Many wealth management firms and financial planners use dark green for this reason.
Green as a luxury brand color
Also, there is also a subtle connection to money and wealth with luxury brand logos such as Izod Lacoste, Rolex, and even Land Rover.
Additional references with the color green
Green, with its association with four-leaf clovers, suggests luck. Green means go, directly deriving from traffic lights. But it has negative connotations when someone is green with envy.
Color theory: Understanding shades of green for your branding
Not all green looks the same, and these variations are important. Some green is lighter moving more toward yellow. Some are darker like pine green, or closer to blue like a teal green. These different shades and tints of green affect our perception of the color.
For example, many interior designers claim that green is calming. But it’s important to look at the shade of green and how it’s used. It’s hard to imagine sitting in a room that’s painted all over in kelly green or lime green and find it relaxing. However, a pastel green would be much more peaceful.
Is green right for your brand?
Your decision to choose green for your branding depends a lot on what shade or hue of green you choose. While yellowish-green suggests new growth, a dark pine green feels traditional and unchanging.
Also, always review your competition. If you are in the agricultural sector or if you have an eco-friendly product you may want to choose another color to stand out from the competition.
Considering other colors? Read more about how to choose the right color for your brand and logo.
Color Theory: Green as a Branding Color
Free, 7-day brand-building course
Not sure where to start? Sign up now for our FREE 7-day educational program delivered right to your inbox.