Brown gets a lot of use in this era of organic and natural food, beauty, and products. Nature-inspired it represents a feeling of wholesomeness, orderliness, and being grounded. It is simple, strong, durable, and honest and may express that your brand has better things to care about than superfluous color when really, there are so many beautiful shades of brown to elevate any product.
The color brown is usually perceived as neutral and natural. Because of this, brown is thought to evoke feelings of warmth, security, and earthiness. Brown does a fantastic job of conveying emotions related to the natural world, as well as connoting organic, wholesome feelings in general.
The color brown has significant meaning in feng shui, the Chinese system of harmonizing your environment. Each color correlates to a specific feng shui element. Dark, rich browns represent wood, whereas light browns represent earth, dirt, and soil. Both colors are seen as energetic and nurturing but should be used sparingly in decorating, always in careful balance with other colors.
In the United States, brown has a connotation thanks to its uses in marketing. It’s associated with reliability, dependability, and nurturance. This can be seen in its use for logos and marketing for prominent, trusted companies like UPS, JP Morgan, M&Ms, and Hershey’s. Brown is also often used for packaging and food containers.
In many Western cultures, including North America, brown is seen as a quintessentially earthy color. But it can either be associated with health or barrenness. It’s often seen as stable, dependable, and wholesome.
In Eastern and Asian cultures, brown is a color of mourning.
In Chinese horoscopes, brown represents the earth element.
In South America, brown has the opposite connotation as in North America. It’s often seen as unappealing, lifeless, and it’s considered a disapproving color in Nicaragua.
In the Middle East, brown is associated with harmony, comfort, and the earth.
Throughout the Bible, many colors reflect meanings or spiritual truths in non-verbal communication.
According to many religious people, the biblical color meaning of brown is compassion and acceptance (Genesis 30: 24-42), humanity (Genesis 3:19), and salvation (Noah’s Ark and the Cross).
A lot of the meaning of the color brown depends on the shade. Rich browns can have surprising levels of depth and evoke deep emotions. Light or diffuse browns can be more likely to have negative connotations.
Strength and Reliability
Brown is associated with stability and groundedness. It’s solid, like the Earth. It’s reliable, stalwart, and steadfast when you need it most.
It’s known for imparting a sense of resilience, dependability, security, and safety. Think of a robust and tall oak tree.
It can be depended on to provide shelter in a rainstorm, leaned against for support, and offer a shady spot to shelter from a sunny day.
Warmth, Comfort, and Security
Brown is natural, down-to-earth, and conventional. Picture the light brown, almost beige of unbleached cotton, the rich color of untreated or distressed wood, or the rustic nature of log cabins. All these items evoke an organic sense of natural warmth and comfort.
However, brown can also take on a sophisticated feel, like a rich wood desk in an executive’s office. It often depends on the setting. But even in a sleek, refined environment, brown tends to evoke still a sense of timelessness, unchangingness, and stability.
Brown is often seen as having a close connection to the earth, home, and family. Think of the firewood in a burning hearth.
Rich browns can produce warm, settled feelings of being soothed and comforted by a warm hearth. Rugged Resourcefulness
Again, think of the example of a log cabin – a family taking to the wilderness to build a better life for themselves. The color brown perfectly encapsulates this rugged resourcefulness.
Loneliness, Sadness, Isolation, and Barrenness
Brown is full of positive connotations. But if used in the wrong tone or context, it can also feel very negative.
Brown can often feel vast, stark, and empty – especially if it’s a diffuse or muted shade of brown or if it’s used across a vast expanse.
When using brown, keep in mind that although it symbolizes strength, it isn’t an energizing color, meaning it wouldn’t be the best color for sports uniforms, for example.
Boring, Dull, Drab, or Predictable
Because brown is a natural color, it’s not usually seen as flashy as other colors. It doesn’t often see time in the limelight as a trendy color.
Think of a hastily thrown-together sack lunch in a rumpled brown paper bag.
Brown can sometimes seem plain, undecorated, and even a little boring. Sometimes its dependability can go too far, and it can veer into dull territory.