Brown in Marketing – Color Psychology
Even though it has been found to be people’s least favorite color around the world, brown is still used often in marketing. From the first Starbucks logo to UPS, many well-known logos incorporate brown. Ironically, both of these companies were started in Seattle! Starbucks first used it for it’s natural look as well as the color of the coffee beans. Meanwhile, UPS used and continues to use it in their logo, trucks, and uniforms. The reasoning for them began because they originally wanted yellow vehicles, but they found that yellow vehicles are difficult to keep clean and opted for brown instead. Now, decades later, “brown is synonymous with UPS.”
In terms of color psychology, it “is believed to help create a wholesome feeling, a connection with the earth, and a sense of orderliness and convention. Brown is a stable and grounded color that is believed to help you feel like you fit in and belong.” As with other colors, different shades have different connotations. With brown, the name of the shade is even more important than with other colors. In a study reported on in Entrepreneur, “‘fancy’ names were preferred far more often. For example, mocha was found to be significantly more likeable than brown–despite the fact that the researchers showed subjects the same color!”
Brown is often used in food packaging because it can signify the food is natural, earthy, or eco-friendly. Coffee and chocolate companies also often use it in their packaging because it’s the color of their product! In food packaging, brown is often used in place of black because it is a more appetizing color, but still has the same qualities as black. Meanwhile, it isn’t used very often in athletics – most well-known with the Cleveland Browns, but even still, orange is a large part of their brand.
While brown isn’t as common in marketing as other colors, when it is used it’s intentional and tells the story of the product, service, or brand.
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If you’d like to read more about color psychology, read our blogs about the color green, red, blue, yellow, purple, orange, black and white, pink, gray, multicolored, and March Madness by team colors. Look for more color psychology blogs coming soon.