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DTP Design Tips: Meaning of the Color Green

written by: Amber Neely•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 4/22/2012

If you're looking for a specific color for a project but aren't sure what to use, maybe you need to explore the the meaning of the color. Green for example, can indicate progression, wealth, jealousy and greed, or peace and harmony. This article explores the color green and shows you how to use it.

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    The Meaning of the Color Green: The Good and the Bad

    A Typical Green Color Scheme The positives: Green has come to be associated with many things. Green has become the symbol of living an environmentally conscious lifestyle, as well as safety. You've heard of green living, right? Of course you have! Green is also commonly used to advertise eco-friendly products and all-natural medicines.

    When people see green, they often feel positive feelings. It's a color that seems to be progressively moving forward. After all, green means go on a stoplight for a reason. And of course, let's not forget one of the big ones: Green is heavily associated with wealth. Green is even slang for money, after all!

    The negatives: Green has also become the spokes-color of greed and jealousy. Ever hear someone say you look "green with envy?" It's also been tethered to the meaning of "inexperienced." Often green denotes "beginner" while yellow and red indicate people who have experience or are even experts in a particular field.

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    When to Use Green and What Green to Use

    Green can be used for most projects, as different shades can mean wildly different things. Soft natural greens look beautiful as spring wedding invitation colors, while bold dark greens and emerald greens make for a striking business card. If you're throwing a baby shower for a baby of unknown gender, mint green has long been a standard "gender neutral" color. If you're looking for a specific feeling, here are a few examples of different shades of green and what they mean.

    Bright green: High energy, progressive,inexperience

    Dark green: Wealth, greed, envy

    Neutral mid-green: Nature, safety

    Mint green: Infant color (traditionally gender neutral)

    Aqua/Teal: Calming, refreshing

    Olive Drab/Khaki greens: Peace, tranquility, zen

    A muted green color scheme - this is a very peaceful, relaxing color scheme for a project 

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    Green Schemes:

    Green is a pretty universally "friendly" color, capable of playing well with many colors across the spectrum. For example, green works great with other shades of green, blues, purples, yellows, and even oranges. It is recommended, however, that you avoid reds unless you are specifically going for a "Christmassy" feel.

    Accent colors:

    If you're going for an accent color to work with green, you need to think about the over-all effect of what you are trying to achieve. Oranges work well for a high-impact color that stands out of the crowd. Blues will work well to keep the scheme looking uniform, but adding enough variety to make it look interesting. Yellow added to a muted green scheme can help add a bit of sunshine to make it seem less sleepy.

    adding a bright accent color to a green-themed project helps it feel more welcoming and fun 

    Green as an accent color:

    Green typically adds a refreshing high note to most color schemes, helping to bring a high-energy feel into an otherwise calm, relaxed scheme. In lighter color schemes like with yellows and pale blues, green can add a soft, tranquil note to something otherwise almost overpoweringly bright.

    Green can make a refreshing and bright accent color