The colour Brown

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


Colours | Red | Blue | Green | Yellow | Orange | Pink | Purple | Brown | Grey | White | Black


Brown alpaca

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

Brown as drab colour of the cold seasons

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 (subtractive) spectrum.

Combination of brown and white in jewellery

Brown as design colour

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 - but just because I did not have to share it with others.

Apart from that, we can trigger some lovely, down-to-earth emotions using good colour combinations involving brown. Imagine brown-white, brown-gold, brown-blue-gold... Come to think of it, if you add gold to brown, it indicates high quality, but still cosy at the same time. No other combination works like this. A bit tricky though, because the use of gold in digital media design is limited.

In our case, the colour brown indicates sustainable packaging. Now as a matter of fact, we follow a "green" packaging strategy at Avanova.

Brown and green indicates sustainability

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).

Bread at the Ursprunger bakery in Salzburg

Brown also can be used to turn sterile, cold white into a pleasing creamy white hue. Even more and it will be beige.

Brown horn jewellery

  • The colour brown is steadfast, aromatic, fragrant and sweet
  • It refers to mud, dirt and the fertile soil
  • Coffee, chocolate, crispy bread
  • Wood and woody colours make the home a warm and cosy place (in perfect contrast to white, that's how I love my home)
  • Often brown refers to poverty, because dyes were quite expensive in medieval times. Cowls of the Franciscan monks for example were homespun, brownish and simple.
  • Brown is ranking quite low on the list of favourite colours
  • Yet brown covers pretty much of the (subtractive) spectrum, for most warm colours turn brown when darkened or mixed
  • Brown is the classic camouflage colour in the animal kingdom
  • Horn jewellery is of course mostly coloured brown

Colours and their meaning - overview

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