Brown

Brown is the colour of trustworthiness, like the fertile soil. It is also simple and uncomplicated. Warm and aromatic, like coffee or fresh brown bread. But also simplicity (negative) and dirty.

Brown bear taking a bathBrown bear taking a bath | photo: Frank Fox (cc-by-sa)

Aromatic coffee and fertile soil

Brown is a tertiary colour, composed mostly of darkened yellow, sometimes red hues, mixed with some green. Many colours - once combined - result in a brown tone. That´s why the colour brown covers a good part of the visible spectrum.

Dried Coffee CherriesDried Coffee Cherries | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox

Associations

Brown is down-home, persistent and solid, but also warm and cuddly. We often associate brown with tasty, aromatic coffee or sweet chocolate.

Recycled Paper Bag from Vietnam Coffee RepublicRecycled Paper Bag - Vintage Style | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox

But there are also negative associations, like stupidity, a slow mind, dirt or humiliation. Often it just depends on the exact hue, since brown nuances cover a very wide spectrum and each tone can awaken different feelings.

Roasting Coffee Beans From Khe SanhRoasting Coffee Beans From Khe Sanh | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox

Brown as colour for designs

Brown is in a quite bad position in the list of favourite colours. I remember when  I was in kindergarten, I picked brown as favourite colour because I did not have to share it with others.

Cows in DanangCows in Danang | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox

Yet, if you manage to pick the right nuance and combination, you can express all the positive aspects. Aromatic, spicy, cuddly, fertility - woody (no dreadful tin sort of things).

Brown also can be used to turn sterile, cold white into a pleasing creamy white hue.

Pine Forest LangbiangPine Forest Langbiang | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox

  • The colour brown is steadfast, aromatic, spicy and sweet
  • It refers to dirt and the fertile soil
  • Coffee, chocolate, crispy bread
  • Wood and woody colours make the home a warm and cosy place
  • Often brown refers to poverty, because dyes were quite expensive in medieval times. Cowls of the Franciscan monks for example.
  • Brown is ranking quite low on the list of favourite colours
  • Yet brown covers pretty much of the spectrum, for most warm colours turn brown when darkened or mixed
  • Brown is the classic camouflage colour in the animal kingdom

Colourful World

GreyGrey
Grey is the colour of reliability, plain and boring. But also the hidden person behind the scene. Grey is unobtrusive, elegant and can be combined with any other colour.
WhiteWhite
White is proper, innocent and clean. The white dress stands for innocence and virginity, the white suit for extravagance. White is achromatic, but a mix of all colours in the additive colour scheme.
BlackBlack
Black is the colour of the hidden, the unknown, death and sorrow. But it is also powerful and solid, a colour to trust and rely on.
RedRed
I dare to say that red is the most important colour in the history of mankind. Red is so deeply ingrained in our daily perception, I cannot imagine a world without the colour.
PurplePurple
Purple has been the most sought-after colour of the ancient times, but the details are still foggy.
BrownBrown
Brown is the colour of trustworthiness, like the fertile soil. It is also simple and uncomplicated. Warm and aromatic, like coffee or fresh brown bread. But also simplicity (negative) and dirty.
PinkPink
The colour rose is female, sensitive, tender and charming. But also young, soft and sometimes naive. On the other hand, there is pink, which is also female, but more aggressive, untamed and independent.