Moving on to a more serious and imposing color, we arrive at brown, which no longer sends us thinking of youthfulness and excitement. Traditionally associated with seriousness, stability, and wisdom, brown is mostly worn by people who impose respect and appreciation through their status. When you think of this color, you might envision a paternal figure or a grandfather in the middle of the family. Because families are centered on the stability and resourcefulness of the main male figure, most people feel secure and stable when thinking about brown. Paternal figures who passed a certain age also exude a sense of stability, but in the material sense – they have accumulated life experience which is manifested in possessions and financial gain. Most people feel safe around people wearing brown because they represent seriousness, reliance, and support.
Because it is the color of the earth, you may also think of physical grounding and comfort when you think about this particular color. You might feel “down to earth” and with “your feet on the ground” when you are in a place that provides a sense of safety. The loyalty of people whom you consider “your rock” can be a metaphor for the safety that you feel while being safe on the ground. In the work environment, brown represents someone who is hard-working, loyal, industrious, and practical. There isn’t anything that is “up in the air” about these people. Instead, they make everything work by bringing in their sharp common sense and their genuine honesty.
Because brown does not evoke strong emotions in people, it can also induce psychological safety. When emotions are cleared out of the way, people can contemplate a situation from an objective and grounded perspective. Emotions stir up the psyche and disturb the reasoning process, while a calm mind plants its feet in the ground and makes decisions from a place of clarity and safety. Brown provides the reassurance and structure that every person and organization needs.
Negative associations of brown are related to extreme conventionalism and rigidness. Even though order and structure are necessary to maintain the stability of the world, too much of them can lead to inflexibility and fixed perspectives. Too much brown can mean reluctance to progress and to new ideas, and an obsession with the past instead of an openness to the future.
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