Green vs. Blue for Branding

Green vs. Blue for Branding
••• Hemera Technologies/ Images

The color of your brand is one of the first things consumers notice, and the symbolism consumers associate with certain colors can create an immediate impression. When used in marketing, green and blue have come to represent environmental awareness, sustainability and intelligence. Choosing between green and blue for branding can be a tough decision.


Green is the color of money, grassy meadows and ancient forests. Green also symbolizes environmental sustainability; indeed, the word itself is used to describe sustainable industry. Green branding works well for such fields as energy, food, finance, technology and household goods, although the color is seldom used for transportation and apparel brands. If green is the color of choice for your brand, it's worth taking the time to choose the right shade. Dark, muted hues convey a sense of wealth, while bright, neon green seems fun and adventurous.


Cloudless skies and still waters demonstrate the calming effect of the color blue. Many brand owners choose to use blue in their branding because it resonates with so many consumers. A trusted friend is known as someone who is "true blue," so it's not surprising that blue suggests reliability, security and responsibility. It is often used in such industries as energy, air travel, finance, technology, health care and agriculture and is infrequently used for apparel, food and automobiles. Because blue appears prominently in the international symbol for information, the color also symbolizes safety and knowledge.

Blue on the Internet

Green and blue seem similar because they are: The color green is made by mixing the primary colors blue and yellow. Both colors suggest cleanliness, and both work well using white as a contrasting secondary color. However, more companies choose blue than green for their branding. Of the top 100 Internet companies, only four use green as the main color in their brands, compared with 38 companies that use blue branding. A study conducted in 2003 reached the same conclusion, with blue and red brands leading the pack.

Trademark Issues

The technicalities of trademark law have created hurdles for eco-friendly companies that use the word "green" as part of their brand names. The best trademarks are distinctive, not descriptive. Words that describe the product being trademarked, such as "delicious" for candy or "wet" for a beverage, cannot function as trademarks. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office denied a trademark application for a bank that wanted to call itself the "Green Bank" because the name was descriptive. The USPTO said the bank used "green" in its name because of its pro-environment policies and practices, so "green" could not function as a trademark in the bank's name. No similar trademark issues have arisen for companies that use "blue" in their branding.