An exploration of the meaning and connotations of the color green in culture and business.
Green: it signifies American cash, it refers to being ecologically conscious, and green means go. It is a natural color, of grass and forests, but can also be quite unnatural, the bright shade of space martians.
The American Dollar has been green ever since the first one-dollar billed debuted as a Legal Tender Note in 1862. Made mostly of cotton (and some linen), these greenbacks connote money, wealth, and capitalism. While there is no definite answer as to why green, the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing offers several facts: when the bill design we’re familiar with today was introduced in 1929, the green pigment was readily available in large quantities, it was fairly resistant to chemical and physical changes, and psychologically, green was identified with strong and and stable credit (though the history of 1929 may have taught us differently).
Flourishing forests and abundant pastures fit into the green movement of today. Images of beautiful and lush greenery, in contrast to the grays of industrialism, appeal to global citizens. We are coming to expect our brands and companies to be environmentally conscious. The words “natural” and “fresh” and “organic” all ring with associations of green. The symbol of recycling has been green for decades, after all.
And as wholesome and pure these images are, on the other end of the green spectrum is the seemingly synthetic bright, sometimes neon, green (though citrus limes are this color, and they’re quite natural). This glaring color we associate with technological, sometimes futuristic, endeavors. It’s the color of space aliens and tech companies.
About the author Dru DeSantis is a cofounder of DeSantis Breindel. She shapes strategic brand identities and powerful brand activations from digital ecosystems to multi-channel campaigns, engaging audiences and achieving critical business objectives.
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