Opposite of Brown: Definitive Guide & Techniques
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 7 min read


1. Get Familiar with the Color Wheel

2. Applying Color Theory in Design

3. Understanding Color Psychology

4. Exploring the Opposite of Brown

5. How to Pair Brown with Its Opposite

Have you ever wondered what is the opposite of brown or how to effectively use this color in your design work? Well, you're in the right place! This guide is here to offer an in-depth exploration of the color brown, its opposite on the color wheel, and ways to use them both to create stunning designs.

1. Get Familiar with the Color Wheel

Before diving into the world of brown and its opposite, it's important to grasp the basics of the color wheel. The color wheel is a fundamental tool in the field of design and can be a game-changer once you know how to use it. So, let's get started!

Basic Color Theory

Color theory is a science and art in itself. It explains how colors interact, how they impact each other, and how they can be combined for different effects. Here's a quick breakdown:

  • Primary colors: Red, blue, and yellow. These colors can't be made by mixing other colors.
  • Secondary colors: Green, orange, and purple. These are made by mixing primary colors.
  • Tertiary colors: These are created by mixing a primary and a secondary color.

Remember, color theory is much more than just mixing and matching colors. It's about creating balance and harmony in your design.

Understanding Complementary Colors

The term "complementary colors" might sound fancy, but it's really quite simple. These are pairs of colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. When paired together, they create a striking contrast—think red and green, or blue and orange. In our case, we're looking for "what is the opposite of brown" on the color wheel.

How to Find Opposite Colors

Finding the opposite, or complementary, color to any given hue is quite straightforward. Simply draw a straight line across the color wheel from your chosen color. For example, the opposite of red is green, and the opposite of blue is orange. So, if you're trying to figure out what is the opposite of brown, you're going to look directly across the wheel from where brown is located.

Soon we'll identify the exact opposite for brown, but first, let's understand how to apply this color theory in design.

2. Applying Color Theory in Design

The magic of color theory comes alive when you apply it to design. Whether you're working on a website, a logo, or a graphic, understanding how colors work together can make all the difference in your final product. Let's see how we can do this.

Choosing Colors for Web Design

Web design is an art where color plays a major role. The right color scheme can set the mood, convey a message, and guide users through a site. Here are some tips to consider when choosing colors for your web design:

  • Pick a dominant color: This will be the color that is most prevalent on your website. It usually aligns with your brand color.
  • Choose complementary colors: These are the colors that will contrast with and complement your dominant color. If your dominant color is brown, you would be asking, "what is the opposite of brown" and use that as a complementary color.
  • Consider neutral colors: These are your whites, blacks, and grays. They can help balance out your design and make it easier on the eyes.

Using Colors in Graphic Design

Similarly, in graphic design, color choice can either make or break your design. The right color combination can help your design stand out and communicate effectively. Here's how:

  • Use contrast: Contrasting colors can help important elements stand out. This is where knowing the opposite color of your main color comes in handy. If you're using brown, knowing what is the opposite of brown can help you create that desired contrast.
  • Keep it simple: Too many colors can confuse the viewer. Stick to a few key colors that work well together.
  • Think about mood: Colors evoke emotions. Think about what feelings you want to convey with your design and choose your colors accordingly.

Color Contrast and Legibility

If there's one thing you want to avoid in design, it's making your content hard to read. That's where color contrast comes in. By using colors that contrast well—like brown and its opposite—you can ensure that your text stands out against its background. Always remember: your goal is to make your design as user-friendly as possible.

Now that we've covered how to apply color theory in design, let's delve a bit deeper into the color brown and what it represents.

3. Understanding Color Psychology

Colors aren't just pretty to look at—they also carry psychological meanings. The color brown, for example, is no exception. Let's dig into what brown often communicates and how to use it effectively in your designs.

Meaning of Brown

Brown is a color that often stands for strength and reliability. It's earthy and natural, reminding us of things like wood, leather, and coffee. It's a warm color that can bring to mind feelings of comfort and stability. When you understand this, you can use brown more purposefully in your designs.

Emotions Associated with Brown

Just like any other color, brown can evoke certain emotions. These emotions can vary depending on the shade of brown, but they generally include feelings of warmth, safety, and comfort. A rich, dark brown might bring to mind a cozy leather sofa, while a lighter, tan color might make you think of a warm sandy beach. Remembering these associations can help when you're deciding where and how to use brown in your designs.

How to Use Brown Effectively

So, how can you use brown effectively in your designs? Here are a few tips:

  • Use it for backgrounds: Because it's a neutral and earthy color, brown can make a great background for your designs.
  • Pair it with a contrasting color: Remember the question "what is the opposite of brown"? Using the opposite color can make your design pop.
  • Consider the mood: If you're trying to create a feeling of warmth, comfort, or stability, brown can be an excellent choice.

Next, we'll explore the opposite of brown and how to use it in your designs.

4. Exploring the Opposite of Brown

Now that you're a pro in color theory and the psychology of brown, let's answer the question that brought us here: What is the opposite of brown? We'll also delve into the psychology of opposite colors and their application in design.

Identifying the Opposite of Brown

On the color wheel, the opposite of brown isn't as straightforward as with primary and secondary colors. Depending on the specific shade, brown's opposite can range from a light blue to a deep teal or cyan. Here's a simple way to think about it: Brown is a darker, more desaturated version of orange, and the opposite of orange is blue. Hence, the opposite of brown generally falls in the blue family.

Psychology of Opposite Colors

Just as brown evokes certain emotions, so does its opposite. The blue family often communicates feelings of tranquility, reliability, and intelligence. It's the color of a clear sky and a peaceful ocean, symbolizing stability and calm. When paired with brown, it can create a balance between earthy warmth and cool serenity—making it a popular combination in many design fields.

Using Opposite Colors in Design

Pairing brown with its opposite can be an effective way to create contrast and visual interest in your designs. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Balance is key: While brown and blue can complement each other, be careful not to let one color dominate the other too much. Aim for a balance that suits your design's purpose.
  • Consider the mood: If you're aiming for an atmosphere of comfort and tranquility, a brown and blue combination can be an excellent choice.
  • Experiment with shades: Don't be afraid to play with different shades of brown and blue. A light brown with a deep blue, or a dark brown with a pale blue, can create interesting contrasts.

With these techniques in mind, let's move onto how to pair brown with its opposite in various design contexts.

5. How to Pair Brown with Its Opposite

Let's go beyond just identifying what is the opposite of brown and explore practical ways to pair these colors in a design context. We'll go through creating a color palette, applying these colors in design, and examine some successful examples of this color pairing.

Creating a Color Palette

Creating a color palette that includes brown and its opposite can be a fun and rewarding process. Consider these steps:

  1. Start with your base colors: Brown and a shade of blue that you prefer.
  2. Add in neutral colors: These will help to balance your palette and provide a backdrop for your main colors. Shades of white, grey, or even black can work well.
  3. Consider adding an accent color: An accent color can add a pop of contrast and interest. A warm color like yellow or coral can work well with brown and blue.

Remember, a color palette is not set in stone—feel free to tweak and adjust until you find a combination that feels right for your design.

Using Brown and Its Opposite in Design

Once you have your color palette, it's time to put it to use. Here are a few practical tips:

  • Use brown and blue for large, impactful elements of your design, like backgrounds or headers.
  • Use your neutral colors for elements that need to recede into the background, like body text or less important information.
  • Use your accent color sparingly, for elements that need to stand out or draw attention.

Remember, the key to successful design is balance, so keep experimenting until you find a layout that works for you.

Examples of Effective Color Pairing

So, what does this brown and blue pairing look like in the real world? Here are a few examples:

  • Starbucks, a well-known coffee company, often uses a combination of brown (to represent coffee) and blue (to create a soothing, welcoming atmosphere) in their branding.
  • Timberland, a popular outdoor wear brand, pairs brown (to signify the earth and nature) with blue (to signify the sky and water) in their logo and products.
  • The Brown Palace Hotel in Denver, Colorado, uses a brown and blue color scheme in their interior design, creating a warm yet sophisticated atmosphere.

These examples show how the opposite color of brown can be used effectively in different contexts, providing balance, contrast, and visual interest. So next time you're working on a design project, don't be afraid to ask: what is the opposite of brown, and how can I use it to enhance my work?

If you're eager to dive deeper into the world of color and skin tones, we highly recommend the workshop 'Making Skin Colours With Paint' by David Shepherd. This workshop will teach you the techniques and tips to accurately create and mix skin colors, enhancing your artistic skills and understanding of color theory.