Color Theory & Branding: The Truth Behind Iconic St. Patrick’s Day Green

Color Theory & Branding: The Truth Behind Iconic St. Patrick’s Day Green

Put on your green-tinted glasses—and brand.

In the first version of The Wizard of Oz Dorothy and her friends visit the Emerald City, they are greeted by protective green walls. Before they can enter the city, they must wear green-tinted glasses, meant to protect their eyes from the “glory” that is Emerald City: But the green-tinted glasses give the illusion that the city is green—when it’s really no greener than any other city. Much like Dorothy’s first trip to the Emerald City, anticipate seeing life today through green-tinted glasses as we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

But if history were different, did you know that everything associated with St. Patrick’s Day would have been… Blue? Grab your green spectacles and read on to find out more how green became the iconic color of St. Patrick’s Day’s brand identity—then learn how you can incorporate green into your brand.

History of St. Patrick’s

Born to a Christian family, St. Patrick—born Maewyn—was kidnapped at age 14 and sold into slavery in Ireland. He eventually escaped before later returning to Ireland to teach Christianity, using a shamrock to explain the parts of the holy trinity. And regardless of the green shamrock he carried, he was traditionally associated with blue; there’s even a shade named after him. He died (widely believed on March 17) a bishop and posthumously became Ireland’s patron saint.

Eventually the shamrock green—and green of the Emerald Isles and landscape—found its way into history: During the United Irish Uprising of 1798, fighters used green shamrock’s connection to St. Patrick and turned it political, making their uniforms green. St. Patrick’s Day became the boisterous celebration it is today after the Irish emigrated to the United States; it was a means for them to connect with their Irish roots.

Long-standing Irish tradition helped shaped the St. Patrick’s Day of green and shamrocks. These traditions are strong today, and you’ll no doubt see stores flooded with items to commemorate the holiday. Top off the day with a meal of beef and cabbage and consider yourself Irish—at least for the day.

It’s Not Easy Being Green

Spectrum of green.

Aside from St. Patrick’s Day, green is a notable color throughout the world: It is an essential color to many nations’ flags, it is the staple in the United States’ currency and it is nature’s inherent color.

Green was first recorded as a color name in English in 700 and is closely related to the Old English verb growan, meaning “to grow.” Green represents nature and vegetation as well as youth, growth, new beginnings and fertility due to its association with growan and its presence in nature. It is considered a cool, calm and neutral color.

The various shades of green have related—but varying—attributes. When it comes to design, utilize color theory to choose the appropriate shade of green to support a message, advertisement or brand:

Bright green—energetic, vibrant
Green—stable, balanced, harmonious
Olive green—represents nature
Dark green—stable, affluent

freshii logo

Because of green’s relationship to nature, many natural, eco-friendly and/or sustainable companies utilize the color in their brands. Freshii (a Paragraphs favorite) is a restaurant offering fresh food. Its square logo is simple and clean, the brand name surrounded by green—the color of nature, health and kale. It’s “Mission Green” helps drive home their purpose in creating healthy meals using sustainable practices.

H&R block logo
A bright, vibrant green that showcases the brand’s personality.

Green is also used in financial companies because of its obvious connection to money and its relation to affluence. H&R Block utilizes a bright green square as part of its logo. The energy given by this color is supported throughout H&R Block’s marketing—the notable spokesperson with green bowtie and its latest quirky “Get Your Taxes Won” campaign with actor Jon Hamm.


Though green is just one of limitless colors that exist (the human eye can only distinguish about 10 million colors), it makes a strong case for itself as a color to utilize in your brand. Whether you want to showcase your brand’s stability or generate a harmonious vibe, think green.

If you’re ready to think green, contact someone who knows (note our logo!): From sustainability reports to logo and brand design, Paragraphs offers services for all marketing needs.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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