Always on the hunt for a good brown, I often reference natural textures. I snap photos of brown things I see in the world and color-pick them in photoshop afterward. Saving the tones out, I delight in tuning and comparing them.

It may seem obvious, but the appeal of brown comes from its existence in the real world.  You see it in brands that embrace the senses like food or handmade goods. Chocolate, leather, and coffee beans all evoke the tactile aspects of brown. It’s a color for all seasons, but it’s most charming in autumn.

People usually associate this color with:

  • Ruggedness
  • Chocolate or rich foods
  • Leather or handmade goods

Example Brands

  • UPS
  • M&Ms
  • Hershey’s
  • Cracker Barrel
  • Louis Vuitton

Less intense than a straight black, using brown adds nuance to a design. It does not signal luxury as strongly.

The color brown is quietly confident and stabilizing. If your brand personality has a strong sense of duty and responsibility or is practical and down-to-earth, and your target audience values stability, quality, and wholesomeness, brown could be an optimal color choice.


I’ve also had the occasion to look up sayings and puns with the word brown — meditating on these has bubbled up a few favorites.

(as) brown as a berry

I was charmed to learn this means sun-tanned. Although without much cultural context, I doubt I’ll use it conversation until I get to ask someone more about it.

brown bagger, brown bag it

Someone who packs their own lunch. I grew up hearing this to also mean “frugal.”

brown bottle flu

This is a clever, old way to describe a hangover.

brown energy

Energy derived from traditional resources, such as coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear power. A descriptor for environmentally unfriendly fuel.

brown off

To irritate someone. I’ve never heard this before. So, I suppose it’s a regionalized phrase.

brown study

I was listening to Sherlock Holmes stories when this word was used. I knew what it meant by context but, don’t recall seeing it elsewhere. Isn’t it lovely?

state of deep contemplation or rumination, as of a reverie, daydream, or meditation. It originally meant a melancholic or depressed mood or state (dating from at least the 1500s), but has since largely lost that association. It is usually preceded by “in a.”

brown thumb

I’ve only heard “black thumb” used to describe people who are bad with plants. This is a little less aggressive.

do (something) up brown

I wish I knew more about this one because I’ve never heard of or read it before. It means to do something to maximum effect. And it is splendid to read.

How now, brown cow?

I know this is a vocal exercise and I can definitely hear it when reading.

the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

This probably only amuses people who learned typography. The sentence uses all the letters of the alphabet. It’s popular in tools for font selection because you can see how all the letters look.

I also found some charming quotes about the color.

“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.”
John Burroughs

“I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colors. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.”
Winston Spencer Churchill

“My skin is kind of sort of brownish pinkish yellowish white. My eyes are greyish blueish green, but I’m told they look orange in the night. My hair is reddish blondish brown, but it’s silver when it’s wet, and all the colors I am inside have not been invented yet.”
Shel Silverstein

“[Brown]—the color of a mole, of leaves becoming earth.”
Frida Kahlo

Such is brown, that moody and sweet color.