How 3 Major Brands Use Green

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Tiffany blue. Coke red. McDonald's golden arches.

Color can be a powerful visual branding tool. Color plays on our emotions, and can shape how we feel about the businesses they represent. But the same basic color can be used to tell different brand stories.

Green is generally is associated with nature and health, but more abstractly can represent growth, life, and technology.

Even though green has primarily positive connotations due to its association with nature, it's often boxed into health and outdoors companies, and its more abstract meanings neglected.

Here's how three major brands are using green strategically.

 

Starbucks

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Despite introducing their iconic forest green 65 years after Starbucks was founded, the green apron is recognized worldwide.

Originally, the Starbucks brand was based on a rich coffee brown. When Starbucks was bought in 1987 they introduced green into the brand to represent growth and freshness, and to imitate European cafes.

They've since dropped the European cafe angle and developed their own atmosphere and style, but Starbucks green still represents fresh coffee.

 
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Spotify

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Completely unrelated to health and nature, Spotify uses its brand green to represent technology. Although we've long passed the days of green text on black screens, the green on black aesthetic lives on as a symbol of computer technology.

Spotify uses the green on black palette to draw attention within the app, but chooses to mostly use simple san serif fonts in light monochrome to allow the band and album artwork take the stage.

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Even in their print advertising, such as the pictured billboard, Spotify's green is used sparingly, to reinforce the brand, but not hit you over the head with it.

 
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BP

BP rebranded in 2000 to reflect their commitment to cleaner energy and helping the environment.

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They shifted to a logo representing the sun, and incorporated clean illustrations with green and yellow.

The visual brand overall represents cleanliness and environmentally-friendliness.

What weakens their visual brand is reality, and now because of the BP Oil Spill, their visual brand is constantly fighting to tell us something we no longer believe is true.


A subtle CHOICE

Even though these three brands use green to create different feelings, all of them use the strong connotations of green to build a noteworthy visual brand.

Starbucks uses green to imply freshness and growth.

Spotify uses green to reference classic technology, and position themselves as tech leaders.

BP uses green to assure us they are considerate of the environment.

Green doesn't have to be about plants and yoga - it has many positive connotations you can leverage in your Noteworthy Visual Brand.


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SIERRA KELLERMEYER

I'm a brand designer who helps business owners who are tired of their marketing efforts just pulling "okay" results. I help them stand out and be remembered online by designing them a Noteworthy Visual Brand that attract their ideal clients - effortlessly.