colour psychology… the meaning of green

Karen Haller 01
Karen Haller

Colour psychology - the meaning of green.

Did you know the human eye is able to differentiate more shades of green than any other colour? The belief behind this is one of evolution and survival when our early ancestors relied on being able to find food, water and life. We are reassured and feel safe when seeing green.

positive psychological qualities of green
When we see green our eye requires no adjustment. This is because it is at the centre of the colour spectrum, making green very restful, creating balance and harmony. It provides reassurance, restorative and refreshing. In nature the bright light fresh green represents new life and new growth.

It is the colour that represents universal peace and universal love, that of mother earth and the environment.

negative psychological qualities of green
Green, like any colour also has negative traits. Too much green or being surrounded by the wrong shade of green can bring up the feelings of boredom, lack of life and stagnation. It can also communicate rot and decay.

“Absolute green is the most restful color, lacking any undertone of joy, grief, or passion. On exhausted men this restfulness has a beneficial effect, but after a time it becomes tedious.” – Wassily Kandinsky, Russian painter and art theorist 1866 – 1944.

50 shades of green
There are so many shades of green from the bright yellow chartreuse, lime, cool jade green, emerald, forest, bottle, to the olive and khaki greens just to name a few.

How do you feel when you see the colour green? If you have any questions you’d like answered about the colour green, I’d love to hear from you.

If you found this blog post interesting, you may also be interested in other blog posts relating to the psychology of colour.

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  1. Keren Lerner on October 2, 2012 at 11:47 am

    A few years ago, I kept wanting to buy clothes and stationary in this certain shade of green and someone told me it’s because I was looking for peace (because the colour certainly didn’t suit my skintone!). So interesting! Within design, there are of course so many connotations with green-ness for the environment, for positivity. And of course there is Kermit the Frog who I love and represents goodness and kindness – he famously sang “It aint easy being green”. But it’s worth it.

    • admin on October 3, 2012 at 4:01 pm

      Hi Keren, peace is one of the positive attributes of the colour green. There are many other positive qualities and really only you would know how that particular tone of green made you feel.

      As you rightly say whether it is to do with personal colour or for design there are so may connotations – psychological, association and cultural.

  2. Nicola Holden on November 7, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    I have to confess that green is not a colour I’m naturally drawn to when it comes to interiors, although having done a few green schemes for clients I must say that it is a very calming colour. Thanks for sharing Karen.

    • admin on November 10, 2012 at 3:51 pm

      Use the right tone and it is peaceful and can evoke an oasis of calm. Use say, lime green and well you have a whole different experience going on! Great to see you are embracing the colour green!

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