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Color In Design: Brown

    Jennifer Farley

    image Last week we took a look at purple, a vibrant rich color. Today, we’re talking about brown. In some ways brown is almost an opposite to purple in terms of connotations. Brown is considered to be earthy, natural, simple. It conveys feelings of dependability, wholesomeness and conservatism. On the downside it could also be considered a little dull, but that can be alleviate by combining it with brighter colors.

    Brown is closely associated with wood and to a smaller extent with stone. A few years ago there was a plethora of websites with wooden backgrounds. This trend seems to be over now, but when done well, “wooden” sites were eye-catching and gave a nice textured feeling. Brown is, of course, also associated with old and aged photographs and materials and can be used to create a warm and nostalgic feeling.

    Using Brown

    There are many shades and tints of brown and many of their names come from nature. Light browns include sand, cream and beige, mid browns include chocolate, cocoa and dark browns include coffee and mahogany.

    Using light colors with dark browns can produce a rich combination and if you think about autumn colors you’ll see nature giving a superb display of browns with reds, oranges and yellows – a ready made palette for conveying warmth.

    Brown with green is earthy and brown with mint green is stylish. Yellows and oranges brighten dark brown while still looking “natural.” If you want to avoid using black, dark brown can be a good substitute without appearing as hard.

    Brown Logos

    I found it really difficult to think of or find many internationally famous logos using brown. If you can think of any, please add them.

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    However, I did find plenty of websites doing a really nice job with brown, here’s ten that I liked.

    James Lai Creative


    Moustache Me


    Hard Row To Hoe


    New Concept




    Cellar Thief


    Artisan Built




    Wall Swaps


    Lubie Vision


    So what do you think of brown? Is it a color you like to use or avoid like the plague? Have you seen other nice examples of websites using brown?