The Psychology and meaning of brown color Can convey several meanings: antipathy, laziness, folly, common and antiquated; Is the color of the poor.
The color brown or brown is one of the colors that aversion generates in people, according to the surveys, and occupies the last position among the list of favorite colors of people.
If you have read our other articles on color psychology ( green , blue , Violet , yellow , Orange) you will notice that these are colors with mostly positive and few negative associations. With brown the opposite happens. But he has an explanation.
Although the color brown is not the most popular among the colors for certain aspects of our lives, in others it is very welcome. For example, in the interior decoration, the wood has a high value, as well as the whole range of browns in the design of clothes.
So, as with the other twelve colors that are part of the theories of color psychology, brown or brown is filled with a set of very complex associations that speak of us and our psyche.
If you are interested in knowing how brown can help you develop spaces that leave the feeling of being hospitable and welcoming, as well as looking more serious, stable, hardworking and strong or your products seem so, continue reading this article .
"Color is the mother tongue of the subconscious." Carl Jung.
Why is the color of coffee so hated?
There are so many negative associations that have developed over this color, that the first reasonable question that arises is"why is such a hated color?". After all, it is the color of the earth, of the bark, of the natural. Why is it not valued positively?
According to the research of Eva Heller, mother of color psychology, brown is the color of the ugly and the unpleasant, of laziness and folly, of the ordinary and the outdated; Is the color of the poor. It is even associated with German National Socialism. Yes, to the Nazis.
There is definitely no color that has a worse curriculum than brown, although in its origins Goethe, father of color psychology, defined it as the color of the rich and fashion. But all this aversion has a quite logical explanation.
One of the reasons why brown is so unappreciated could be concealed in the theories of color formation. And, in essence, brown is not a color in itself. It would be more correct to say that it is a mixture of colors.
We know that there are primary colors, which can not be formed with other colors, and secondary colors, which are formed by two fixed colors. For example, violet always requires blue and red, and can not be formed with other colors. Not so with brown.
Brown can be created in many ways. All the colors together generate brown, all the primaries, too, just like all the secondary ones. Or any more black color. And the mixture of one primary plus one secondary secondary (eg red and green) also generates brown.
That could lead to the feeling that you are not in the presence of a specific color, that it is a color without character. In the brown the other colors disappear (they melt to him), so it is like a vortex, able to swallow the beauty of the other natural colors.
The fact that brown is a mixture of all colors makes it blend well with all colors, according to fashion experts. It is also the color of leather, wood, earth, and color of animals highly prized for their beauty.
Brown, however, is also the color of the excrement, of the dirty, the rustic, the dust, the mud, the withered, the putrefied, the aged. And, moreover, it was the color chosen by the German National Socialist Party to represent its entire movement.
Wherever we look we will find brown, and in its natural forms will always be much appreciated, but as color is despised by the majority. It is a duality from which this color can not be separated, and which must be taken into account when making use of it.
The symbolism of the brown or brown color: the good, the bad and the ugly
We have already seen, then, what are the reasons that make this color so rejected. But, as has been said, all color is unconsciously related to many types of emotions. The analysis of symbolism will allow us to round out a total understanding.
So, let's see what are the symbolic associations that people make about the color brown that are independent of culture and, as such, cross borders. First, on the positive pole.
- Seriousness (responsibility, commitment, honesty, credibility, genuineness).
- Practicity (having your feet on the ground, realism, common sense, maturity).
- Stability (structure, strength, support, protection, material security, moderation, order).
- Sense of belonging (to family, to work, friendship, closeness, patriotism, loyalty).
- Comfort (quality, warmth, simplicity, tranquility, sensitivity, sensuality, sophistication).
- Natural (health, welfare, conservation, ecology, care, protection).
If we think of a manager wearing a black suit, it will surely make us evoke someone ambitious and closed. If we imagine it in a dark brown suit, it will give us the feeling of being a more loyal, mature, responsible and friendly employee.
In the same way if we imagine a woman dressed in white at her wedding, we will think that she may worry about the pursuit of perfection and independence. Whereas if she were dressed in ivory we would think of a more committed, genuine and accessible woman.
From this same approach, a restaurant decorated in red tones will send to sensations of speed and poor quality. The same place, but decorated with brown tones, will give us the impression of good quality, sophistication, comfort and well-being.
Products with strong flavors, such as coffee and chocolate, will look more tasteless and artificial with colors like blue or green. And they will look sturdy, sensual and natural if their packaging is brown.
We see, then, that brown is more than a hated color. In hospitality and tourism gives the feeling of hospitality, in offices motivates the companionship and commitment, in law firms speaks of ability to solve problems and protection, etc.
We would then miss some of the negative associations of brown. Some of them have already been mentioned in the previous section, but here we can see and understand them more clearly.
- Lack of sense of humor or excess of seriousness. It is associated with boring and very predictable people.
- Dirt or neglect due to hygiene. This is why it is also associated with manual work.
- Old age or lack of sense of the current. It is associated with outdated and outdated.
- Passivity or slowness. It is not suitable for products or services that wish to adjust to the fast pace of the present. It is also associated with depression or laziness.
- Materialistic or stingy. It is associated with the accumulation of money or goods.
Although a tanned person is synonymous with someone uncomplicated, risky, detached and natural (someone timeless), in the other pole a person dressed in brown can leave the feeling of being bored, outdated, stingy, depressive and dirty.
We can note, then, that these associations are not given on all shades of brown or on any form in which they are used. It is more about not making correct use of color. If it is used in a balanced way, its negative associations are avoided.
And finally, as far as symbolism is concerned, there are some associations specific to some specific cultures, which are not repeated in other contexts. It is worth reviewing some of the most relevant ones.
- In the Chinese horoscope represents the color of the earth.
- In India it is the color of the morning.
- In Nicaragua it is a sign of disapproval.
- In the West it is associated with making mistakes.
- In Germany he is associated with the Nazi party.
It is important to note that, while brown contains all other colors in its formation, when it is stained with tones of another color (for example, red or blue), it assumes many of the psychological characteristics of the same.
And the same thing happens when you combine brown with some other color in a specific design. For example, brown with green will enhance the feeling that something is natural, and brown with blue, that something is reliable.
The 11 brown / brown color variations and their psychological significance
In some countries, Brown is more commonly known by some alternate name, such as brown or brown. However, at present the term brown is preferred as a generic name, since the others refer to very specific tones of this color.
As Eva Heller says:"It would never occur to us to say that coffee is tobacco color, or that tobacco is walnut. The ideas we have of these colors [despite their possible similarities] are inseparable from their contexts."
In his research, Heller worked on the basis of 95 different brown tones, exploring the emotions that each of them could generate. In this list we find common colors like amber and oak, along with other stranger ones like the brown mummy.
Finally, on those 95 tones was defined by the 11 shades of brown that generated more specific and universal sensations. Noting, moreover, that only one of them generated a positive association and two of them, a relatively neutral association.
It is important to remember, however, that Heller's findings were based on his surveys of 2000 men and women of the most varied occupations and ages, but all of them Germans. In other color analyzes it may not be relevant, but here it is.
Given the historical karma that clothes the German people after the Second World War, anything associated with Nazi culture has generated almost total rejection. That could be the reason that in this study the brown would be so badly located.
It would be necessary to make an update of this study, involving people of different nationalities, to check how much the average German view represents to the rest of the world. It is likely that, in making this approach, more positive associations will be discovered.
The table below then shows the results of those surveys on 11 brown varieties. Watch them and think about what they make you feel and think about you. You may not be as aversive as the original interviewees.
If your favorite color is brown or brown, your personality is...
The psychology of color does not only focus on knowing what effect colors cause on people according to how we use them. He is also able to tell us how our personality , According to our preferences with colors.
The personality is assumed to be a fairly stable construct, which is maintained with very few changes during adult life. Same as color preferences. Therefore, it is possible to use the data of the preference of a color as an approximation to the personality.
Even so, it does not have the qualification of a theory of the personality (like the one of the psychoanalysis, for example), but it can be very useful to know personal aspects about ourselves. We can also get information from the colors we detest.
Thus, it is reasonable to conclude that people who prefer brown will have many of the positive or negative traits already indicated. But let's take advantage of the following list to point out 10 new aspects associated with the brown personality (and verify if they describe us).
- They are industrious people, who likes hard work.
- They believe in material reward for a good job and like quality things.
- Some may be accumulators of money or goods, while others organize their finances well to have few things of value rather than many less valuable ones.
- Although they are organized and structured, they do not usually reach Be perfectionists .
- They may not get along with spontaneous situations or where they have no control. They prefer what is controlled and predictable, as they tend to act.
- When they have problems, they tend to be reflexively absorbed into a solution.
- They are people who are sensitive to the needs of others, as well as to criticism.
- They tend to prefer the calmness they have built for themselves, and so they may dislike that others bring their own problems, although they are usually good at solving them. Hence many seek for that purpose.
- They do not like to spend money or time on frivolous or unnecessary things. Do not give more than someone or something deserves. That's why they are often seen as stingy.
- They may repress their emotions at times and withdraw from the external world.
Now, perhaps what happens is that you do not like brown at all, and that also has its meaning within this theory. Usually, what it means is that the features listed above are not presented, or some of the opposite type are presented.
People who are averse to brown tend to be more dreamy and imaginative and, therefore, often reject the routine, and embrace the spontaneous, the innovative, the impulsive, etc. They are often more generous, more productive and less organized.
It is possible, therefore, that brown people are boring and uninteresting. Although, for all this it would have to add the data of which is the favorite color of the one that rejects the brown one. With this information, the understanding landscape could be better complemented.
A zentangle of tree rings to close
We offer you the opportunity to culminate with a Relaxation exercise , Where they can apply some of the principles learned.
On this occasion, we will use a pattern or zentangle of the fabulous blog of Annelies Belemans " A pattern a day ", Made with old rings of trees of different sizes. The idea is to connect with the referents of the brown color.
Think of some brown quality that you want to reflect on or deepen in your life (like the natural, the strong, the stable, the mature) and use it as inspiration as you add color to the drawing.
Remember that zentangles are abstract drawings that consist of creating structured patterns in a larger drawing. They are considered a good technique of meditation, whether you believe them from the beginning or color some already finalized.