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Understanding the color 'green'

Today we will start off with what Claude Monet said about colors: "Color is my day-long obsession, joy and tornment" (

Just like Monet - maybe not in such an intense way, but still - we are all daily confronted with colors. It is just that they surround us so much, that we have stopped noticing them along the way, their function and the vibes they produce.

In today's post I will examine the color GREEN in more detail, so that when in future you will work with it (be it implementing it in graphic design, choosing to add some brightness to your interior or opting for a lovely green shirt) - you will choose wisely and know its color power.

Green seems to be my favorite color. Everytime I look at something green (no matter what shade), it soothes me. I end up owning so many green decor items and having numerous green plants at home. Seems like my subconsciousness is craving for green.


We get green as a result of mixing blue and yellow on the spectrum of visible light. I found here that the word 'green' comes from the Middle English and Anglo-Saxon word 'grene', having Germanic roots in the words 'grass' and 'grow'. As this color is very often seen in grass and living trees, it represents springtime, growth and nature. More studies have shown that people associate the color green with life, health, youth, hope and - careful - envy.

See below a few green examples. All found on

Even though green is sometimes associated with death in the US and Europe, in China it is a pure positive color. And did you know that Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa is wearing green? Back in the Middle Ages, when color indicated a certain social status, green was worn by merchants and bakers, while the noble were all wearing red. What an interesting detail.

Unexpectedly: Mona Lisa is wearing green (

What does the color green stand for?

As we have learned, the color green is associated with a wide range of different things, in which nature and youth predominate, however. Green stands for:

  • Nature

  • Life

  • Youth

  • Growth

  • Hope

  • Vivacity

  • Regeneration

  • Safety (think traffic lights)

  • Calm and tolerance

Green is also being associated with negative notions like:

  • Death (think dragons)

  • Envy and jealousy

  • Toxicity and poison

  • Sickness (better not think of anything at all)

It might be another interesting insight that the one-dollar-bill is also green. One does not get too sick of looking at it, does one?

How to use green in graphic design?

Green is a secondary color and combines the calming attributes of blue and the energy of yellow. In designs green is said to have a balancing and harmonizing effect, and is being perceived as stable. Sources say that it is appropriate for designs related to

  • Wealth

  • Stability

  • Renewal and freshness

  • Nature.

Useful color terms

By the way, I very much liked the explanation Daniel Pintillie gave on about useful color terms:

  • Color Value measures lightness or darkness of a color.

  • Saturation or intensity is the brightness or dullness of a color.

  • Chroma is how pure a hue is in relation to gray.

  • Shade: a hue produced by the addition of black.

  • Tint: a hue produced by the addition of white.

Green in spoken language

Green has also made it into our spoken language: 'Having a green thumb' means that someone loves gardening and is talented in that sphere, 'going green' is about people participating in activities such as recycling materials and caring about the environment and jealous women are being referred to as 'green-eyed-monsters'.

Good to know

There is also something called 'Green Graphic Design'. It is about eco-innovative changes that are demonstrated in all phases of the design process by the graphic designer. The author of the same-named book is Brian Dougherty and his idea about designers going green includes

  • Less print costs

  • Less shipping costs

  • Less energy costs.

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