Everything About Brown Color

brown melted chocolate, featuring brown color

Hello, it’s me again. I’m back with another “everything about this and that”. If you have read my previous articles, which were about Blue and Yellow, you know what I’m going to talk about. This one is about the brown color.

Brown is a very common color in nature. The mountains, the soil, the tree barks, many animals like bears and deers (did you catch the rhythm?), many plants and flowers, etc.

It doesn’t take so much effort to see the color around us. But seeing it and knowing about it, are two different things. Then, let’s know about it.

How Is The Brown Color Obtained?

Brown is a composite color. In a very simple word, you can make brown color by combining red, black (or blue), and yellow. There are several sources to provide us with brown pigments and dyes. Natural things like coffee, walnut, chestnut, and minerals like Limonite ore are used to make brown dyes.

From ancient times, humans used Raw umber and burnt umber as pigments. Umber is a brown clay, containing large amounts of iron oxide and between 5 and 20 percent manganese oxide, which provides the brown color. The shade varies from a greenish-brown to a dark brown. The name comes from its region in Italy, Umbria, where it used to be extracted.

four pieces of stones that provide brown color, raw sienna, umber

Burnt umber is also the same pigment. To give a darker or reddish pigment it is roasted. There are other things like raw Sienna or burnt sienna, which are also clay pigments and rich in iron oxide.

The chestnut tree, in ancient times, was a main source to produce brown dye. The leaves, nuts’ husk, and tree bark was used to make the dye. In particular, leaves were used to make a beige or yellowish-brown dye.

Other sources for natural brown dye:

  • Amur maple leaves 
  • Beet root
  • Birch bark
  • Broom bark
  • Broom sedge
  • Coffee grounds
  • Colorado white fir bark 
  • Coneower
  • Dandelion roots
  • Fennel 

After the dye is ready, it can be used for many things like dying the fabrics, silk, and other stuff.

Stones that are used to produce brown color dye

Brown Color In History

Ancient Greeks and Romans used a variety of cuttlefish to make reddish-brown ink and dyes. In ancient Rome, people who dressed in brown were considered the lower classes of society.

In the Middle ages, each social class was supposed to wear a color, matched to their status, and brown and gray were designated for the poor. Back then, brown color wasn’t popular among artists, and they preferred bright colors like red or blue over dark colors like brown or similar shades.

Painting by Caravaggio and Rembrandt Van Rijn, using brown color to create chiaroscuro effects

In Modern history (17th and 18th C), brown started to gain more publicity. Caravaggio and Rembrandt Van Rijn used brown to create chiaroscuro effects, where the subject appeared out of the darkness.
Later on, in the late 20th century, brown color became a symbol of cheapness, naturel, and health.

Brown paintings on stone surface

Color Psychology Of Brown


As always, every color can trigger both positive and negative feelings. What about brown? We consider brown and its different shades as neutral colors. While they provide a conservative and traditional background, these shades are often perceived as sluggish and dull.

Coffee ground, presenting brown color psychology

Positive feelings:

As the color of the earth and the soil, people associated brown with power, stability, and reliability. The color also stands for resilience, dependability, and safety.

Negative feelings:

Mostly, dark shades of brown, in some situations, brings a sense of loneliness, sadness, and even isolation. Imagine a vast and endless desert for a few seconds… See the connection?! But in the right place, the brown color indicates warmth, security, and productivity.

Studies show that brown color is the least favorite color for both, female and male. Not my favorite color either :///
Nonetheless, brown can be a wise and professional choice for clothing, makeup, or house decorating.

Brown Color In Different Cultures

Cultures sometimes define specific traits for different things, and colors are treated the same way. Although surveys have shown that the brown color is the least-favorite color in almost every country, it is still the favorite color for %1 of respondents. Like it or not, the color exists. 

Colorful world map on a wall with a white chair in front of it

Brown in Western Cultures

In North America and Europe, brown is supposed to be earthy. It can represent health or sterility. In the United States, brown is the common color used for packaging and food containers; maybe that’s because brown is a stable and wholesome color.

In 1920s, brown became the color of the Nazi Party in Germany. They started wearing brown uniforms and were named as The Brownshirts.

Brown in Latin America

The color in South America has the opposite reputation and is known to be discouraging sales. In Nicaragua, people consider brown as a sign of disapproval.

A piece of stone/iron art in related to Latin countries, in brown color

Brown in Eastern cultures

In Asian cultures, people associate brown with mourning.

In the Middle East, brown stimulates comfort and welfare.

Brown Food

Different types of brown bread

Brown is the color of one of the most delicious edibles in the world, chocolate (I know there is white chocolate as well). I mean, who doesn’t like chocolate?

Do you know why chocolate is brown?
A simple answer is because of the cocoa beans. It is brown, so it makes the chocolate brown, too. But, in fact, it’s so much harder and more complicated than that.

Melting brown chocolate

Chocolate isn’t the only brown food item. Can you think of other brown foods? If not, look at the list below.

  • Brown bread
  • Brown rice
  • Brown egg
  • Brownies(my favorite)
  • Date
  • Almond
  • Walnut
  • Hazelnut
  • Pecan
  • Potato
  • Coffee
  • Cookies 

The list can be very long, I just wanted to give you examples. Now, let’s talk about the benefits of some of these delicious brown things.

Coffee:

Drinking one cup of coffee a day can lower the risk of several conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. It also makes you feel more sharp and can boost longevity.

Coffee powder in wooden bowls, representing brown color edible

Walnuts:

It’s rich in antioxidants, omega 3 which are beneficial for your health. Eating walnuts also helps you have a healthy gut, can prevent cancer, and helps with losing weight.
I think I gave you enough reasons to put it in your daily diet ( if you haven’t already).

walnuts

Date:

It’s a gold mine of beneficial compounds for your health. It’s nutritious and rich in fiber. also, full of antioxidants that fight disease.

Edible dark brown dates

It’s time to check your diet, and add or remove some items to have a healthier and better-functioning body.

Brown In Photography 

Colors can have impacts on the feelings that we perceive from photos. Brown is a dominant color in nature. As a color in photography, brown is popular in any shade or hue.

A camera on a piece of brown color map, and small photos in brown

So, first of all it represents life, mother earth, and nature and other things related to nature. Dark shades of brown indicate depth and strength.

Since the yellow color is used in making brown color, and golden is a shade of yellow, it may be useful to know about this: golden hour photography!

What is golden hour photography?

A photo taken in golden hour photography effect

In photography, the golden hour is the period of daytime shortly after sunrise or before sunset, during which daylight is redder and softer than when the sun is higher in the sky

The period of time right before sunrise and shortly after sunset is called the “magic hour,” especially by cinematographers. During this time the brightness of the sky matches the brightness of streetlights, signs, car headlights and lit windows. during this time there are no sharp shadows because the sun has set (or hasn’t risen). The magic hour is closer to twenty or thirty minutes. 

An old library, brown theme, brown wooden bookshelves

Brown In Fashion

In fashion designing, the color has a lot to offer. Matches with so many colors, and gives you astounding and remarkable styles you don’t want to miss.

Brown color Vogue fashion magazine on a wooden surface next to a green leaf

Pair an all-cream outfit with a brown coat or a polo neck for a cozy winter look. Different shades of a similar color, camel or khaki and brown look great together and add a minimalist dynamic to any outfit. Add a pink pop of color to any brown outfit for a vintage vibe—extra points if one of the pieces is corduroy.

Options for matching with brown are abundant. For example, you can wear black or army green with your brown style and have a sophisticated outfit.

Caramel or milky also make a perfect match with brown ( and its different shades). Light blue jeans with a camel brown overcoat makes your style chic and elegant.

Leather brown shoes look amazing with black pants and a khaki blouse and a small purse or handy bag.

Women wearing different hues of brown color, representing brown in fashion

Brown Color In Makeup

Well, brown is the best color for makeup. It’s a formal and suitable color for daily makeup. The color nearly matches all the skin colors and tones. It’s also available for all lines of cosmetic products, like lipstick, lip gloss, eyeshadow, eyebrow shadow, eyeliner, highlighter, nail polish, and hair color, etc.

Brown color makeup cosmetics, Dior brand

Darker skin tones

Make sure there’s a contrast between your skin tone to get this look well-done. So, pale brown, coffee, or tan tones will look great.

Olive skin tones

The warmth already is in the skin, so it will allow you to go for darker or vampy chocolate shades.

Light-medium skin tones 

Opt for something with a red or orange undertone, like shades of terra-cotta and burnt red.

Fair skin tones

Choose a taupe-like shade to flatter cool undertones in the skin.

A pro tip

Exfoliate your lips before putting on brown lipstick for a smoother application.

Dark brown dimensions and brunette or caramel highlights bring out the light hints of color in brown eyes. If you have a warm skin tone, then try golden, yellow, or red shades. Cool skin tones with brown eyes go best with intense shades like white blonde, silver-gray, and jet black.

Brown Color In Humans

Brown eyes:

In humans, a high aggregation of melanin in the stroma of the iris causes the brown color. Most people in Asia have brown eyes.

A brown human eye, representing brown color in humans

Brown hair:

This is the second common color for human hair, and the reason for that is a high level of the natural dark pigment eumelanin and lower levels of the pale pigment pheomelanin.

Light brown hair color

Brown skin:

The majority of people in the world have a brown skin color. Not all look the same brown, but the base of their skin color is brown, just in different shades. The cause of brown is melanin, a natural pigment that is produced within the skin in cells called melanocytes.

Brown skin color, brown color in humans

Brown Color In Cinema

To make a movie or a scene connect emotionally with the audience, filmmakers take advantage of color psychology. Color psychology suggests feelings and moods that mingle with every color. So, the cast knows what to go for. Colors can bring a message through the emotions they stimulate.

The Martian movie poster, representing brown color in cinema and movies

So, what does brown color mean in cinema?

I’d like to start with pleasant concepts associated with the color:

  • sensation
  • home 
  • reliability
  • home
  • motherland 
  • comfort
  • tolerance
  • stability
  • simplicity

Properly used, the brown color indicates the above feelings, but there are negative things about it, too. Brown also represents loneliness and isolation, which can result in sadness.
Materialistic is another association with brown color; which I can’t figure out if it’s negative or positive?

Brown Color In Marketing 

When designing a brand or product, you should be very cautious, for you don’t want to lose your prospects just because of the wrong color or shape choice.
If you’re done picking colors for your logo or brand, just go and find the design and pattern. Don’t waste your time here, because I’m going to talk about the color part.

Brown color Starbucks logo, representing brown in marketing

What does the brown color mean in marketing?

In the branding and marketing field, brown stands for reliability, validity, dependability, and nurturing. It’s more important to pick a color that backs up the essence of your offer; than to try to instill certain feelings in potential customers. And if you feel one color or two colors cannot really illustrate what you want, go with the right combination of colors.

Here are some companies with brown on their logo:
  • A&W
  • Cracker Barrel
  • Cleveland Browns
  • Dreyer’s
  • Gloria Jean’s Coffee
  • Hershey’s
  • M&Ms
  • Meyer’s Clean Day products
  • Nespresso
  • UPS
  • Magnum

Photo showing several logos in brown color

Brown Color In Interior Design

Brown as a neutral color can be a proper choice for almost every house. Brown shows solidity, strength, and maturity. It’s often preferred by men to be used in interior design. 

A brown sofa in in front of a green wall, brown in interior decoration

Color Combo Suggestions with brown: 

  • Grey, metallic silver, and brown for an unusual neutral look. 
  • Black, orange-red, off-white, and brown for a strong neutral background.
  • Pale pink, light brown, beige, and black for a neutral art decor color scheme.
  • Light brown, citrus orange, the touch of white for an earthy vibe.
  • Brown, tan, bright teal creates an earthy scheme that is full of life.
  • Shades of brown and a touch of grey with a dark earthy orangy-red is a strong, masculine scheme.
  • Dark chocolate brown as a background works great with an orangey-brown and yellow, with a touch of grey adding lightness.

These are combinations for the brown color to use for your home designing. You can apply these colors to any piece of home furniture and make your place look scrumptious and avant-garde.

Brown color furniture in interior decoration

Brown Color In Art

Colors transmit emotions and moods in art paintings. Each color conveys different feelings and based on that various pigments and dyes are used in diverse parts of a painting.

Brown is a warm and neutral color that can be used as an accent that indicates warmth and wholesomeness. Artists use it for an earthy sign and with a natural pairing with green, to deeply capture that original feel. Also, use brown to give the impression of a well-established heritage and a sense of tradition.

A few paintings in using brown color, with a white sculpture in front of them

These are general concepts associated with the color brown, but consider this: every person can value colors uniquely and use that based on her/his opinions.

Caravaggio Italian painter and Rembrandt Van Rijn Dutch painter used browns to create chiaroscuro effects; where the subject appeared out of the darkness. 

Rembrandt also added umber to the ground layers of his paintings because it quickened faster drying. Rembrandt began to use new brown pigment, called Cassel earth or Cologne earth.

Brown Color In Car Industry

People who own a brown or beige car are typically down-to-earth, according to Color-meanings.com. These owners are easy-going and fiscally responsible, not to be enticed by bright colors or flashy gadgets. They prioritize reliability and comfort.

According to Car color popularity, Wikipedia, brown and beige cars popularity ranged between 6% and 10% each, while all other colors amounted to less than 5%.

A brown BMW X6 on the road, brown car

Brown in architecture

Brown is one of the most common colors in architecture. Its use is pervasive, from the default appearance of wood to its role as an abundantly common exterior paint color in mass-produced suburban housing. 

We see brown everywhere. So many buildings and houses use brown and its various shades for exterior design.

Brown color in modern architecture

Brown Color In Idioms

*Do brown: to swindle or cheat thoroughly

*Do sth up brown: to make a thorough job of carrying out the last detail; to give a thorough beating. 

*Be as brown as a berry: to have tanned skin color

*To get brownie points: to receive praise for what you’ve done

*Brown bottling: to be drunk on beer

*Brownout: a rear but not complete loss of consciousness

Brown Color In Quotes

The goldenrod is yellow, The corn is turning brown, The trees in apple orchards With fruit are bending down.
Helen Hunt Jackson

Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes? 

George Gobel

We love the sight of the brown and ruddy earth; it is the color of life, while a snow-covered plain is the face of death. Yet snow is but the mask of the life-giving rain; it, too, is the friend of man, the tender, sculpturesque, immaculate, warming, fertilizing snow.

John Burroughs

For more color inspiration and interesting articles about colors you can visit inside colors blog:

Posted by
Negar

Im Negar, and I enjoy communicating in other languages, I also like colors. So I write in colors' language. Let's see how it looks like!

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