Orange and brown – reliable, authentic, earthy

Of all the colours in the spectrum, no two colours are more reminiscent of the 70s than orange and brown. From carpets to lounges, lamps to patterns on dinner sets, these two colours were ubiquitous in that time and, like many things that are old, they are becoming new again.

Orange and brown are not colours most companies would immediately look to for their branding, but they have a place and are used by some of the biggest brands in the world.

Branding Compass explains the colour orange is not a popular colour with one study finding “it was the least favourite colour for as many as one-third of women”. It is also a colour which is believed to represent unsafe situations, notably because it is often used with safety equipment from traffic cones to hi-vis vests.

Still, there are brands which benefit from using the colour orange, such as juice companies – think Daily Juice, Just Juice, Boost and Golden Circle.

Ignyte Brands has a different take on orange stating the colour evokes feelings of courage, confidence, innovation, friendliness and energy (another tick for orange juice companies!).

“Orange is stimulatory, conjuring feelings of excitement, enthusiasm, and warmth” Ignyte Brands states. “It is a fun, energetic color, which is why you’ll find it in the branding of many sports teams.”

In Australia, there are three AFL teams which feature orange (or gold) in their side’s colours – Brisbane Lions (maroon, blue and gold), Western Sydney Giants (orange and black), and the Gold Coast Suns (red, gold and blue).

Basketball Australia features an orange and black logo, and this colour combination is also used by the Perth Scorchers Big Bash cricket team.

Famous product brands to adopt the colour orange include:

  • Fanta
  • MasterCard (orange and red)
  • rebel biker brand Harley Davidson
  • respected publisher Penguin Books
  • chocolate brand Reeses
  • BIC pens
  • Nickelodeon
  • Etsy
  • Soundcloud

Therapist and author Amy Morin of explains that brown is seen as being earthy, warm, predictable, honest, protective and wise, while Ignyte Brands adds serious, reliable, authentic and supportive to this list.

As such, brown is a great colour for companies who are risk-averse and want to be seen as stable and trustworthy. It is also a solid choice for companies which want to be associated with nature.

As explains: “Brown communicates strength, ruggedness, masculinity, nature, earth, and seriousness”.

“While practical, it can also suggest a degree of sophistication. Because of its ‘outdoorsy’ feel, brown is often associated with organic, wholesome, or all-natural products.

“Brown can also connote comfort and contentment. Think associations with coffee, chocolate, or dark beers.”

Well-known brands using brown include:

  • M&M’s
  • Nestle
  • Brown Brothers wines
  • Ugg Australia
  • Nespresso
  • Tourism Australia
  • Outback Australia
  • Gloria Jean’s
  • UPS
  • Hershey’s chocolate
  • TV show Australian Survivor
  • Australian Cotton
  • Australian National University
  • BHP Billiton

Whether it’s safety, healthfulness, earthiness, authenticity, energy or fun, orange and brown are great colours to use when marketing a brand, though we don’t suggest people start laying orange carpet again!