A Writers Guide to Brown

brownBrown is warmth. Brown is wholesome. Brown is associated with nature and natural products. It is a primal, basic-instincts color.

Brown is a composite color made by mixing a warm hue with black. Brown is the number one neutral color in wardrobes.



  • Fear of brown: kastanophobia


  • Brown symbolizes materialistic thoughts.
  • Brown symbolizes earthiness, stability, dependability, and honesty.
  • Brown is associated with warmth and friendliness.

brown stone

Superstitions and Beliefs

  • People with brown hair are reliable and have a strong inner strength.
  • Wear a brown gemstone to promote stability and clear thinking.
  • Wearing a brown cloth as a charm with keep evil spirits away.
  • Seeing a brown grasshopper in your house will bring prosperity.
  • In Ethiopia, brown represents death as it is the color of the earth, where all things return.
  • In India, brown is the color of mourning.

Brown History

  • In Ancient Rome, brown clothing was associated with the lower classes. The term for the plebeians, or urban poor, was “pullati”, which meant “those dressed in brown.
  • In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the color of clothing showed a person’s social rank and profession. Brown and gray were worn by peasants.
natural umber

natural umber

Pigments & Dyes

  • Umber, a natural clay, was probably the first brown pigment. It was used on cave paintings dating back to 40,000 B.C.E.
  • Raw sienna is another clay pigment popular during the Renaissance. Natural sienna is a dark yellow ochre color, but when roasted it turns a reddish brown called burnt sienna.
  • The Ancient Greeks and Romans made a reddish brown ink, of a color called sepia, from the ink of a cuttlefish.
  • 18th and 19th century European artists commonly used “Mummy brown”, also called mommia and momie, which was made with white pitch, myrrh, and the ground-up remains of Egyptian mummies, both human and feline.
  • Walnuts and the bark, leaves, and husks of chestnut tree have been used at dyes since antiquity,

Phrases and Sayings

Brown bagging – to bring a homemade lunch to work
Brown nose – flattering someone in a position of power in order to obtain favors
Brown out – partial loss of electricity
Brown study – deeply thinking

Meanings of Shades and Tints of Brown

  • Beige (very pale brown): calming and relaxing
  • Tan: sophistication and neatness
  • Dark brown: robustness and style
  • Copper: passion, professional growth, business productivity

Words for Brown

Light Browns
cafe au lait
desert sand
Medium Browns
burnt sienna
filemot (dead leaf color)
milk chocolate
Dark Browns
burnt umber
castory (made from beaver pelts)
dark chocolate
burnt sienna
burnt umber

black bullet line
Brown and You

Are you wearing brown right now?
You are down-to-earth today. You are supportive and appreciate all that life has to offer.

Look in your closet. Is brown a predominate color in your wardrobe?
You are honest and like structure. You like good food, good books, and good friends. You desire to be emotionally secure.

Do you just dislike the color brown?
You are striving to be independent.

Do you drive a brown car?
Brown: You are powerful and unique.
Beige: You are natural and down-to-earth.

*Chromophobia, also known as chromatophobia or chrematophobia, is a persistent, irrational fear of, or aversion to, colors and is usually a conditioned response. Color phobis are often caused by a traumatic experience from the past, usually childhood. The color becomes associated with the trauma but the individual may not remember the event or realize the connection. It could also be culturally related with meanings attached to the color. Conditioning or brain chemistry may also be the cause. While actual clinical phobias to color are rare, colors can elicit hormonal responses and psychological reactions. Reactions include heart palpations, panic, sweating, breathlessness, nausea, shaking, dizziness, and dry mouth. Treatments include behavioral therapy, hypnotherapy, exposure therapy, and psychotherapy.black bullet line
Use brown wisely in writing, painting,
decorating, and in your wardrobe!
What color brown do you prefer?
Deep-dark rich chocolate (like me), light and breezy beige, sun-kissed tan, or shinny and elegant copper?


The wardrobe portion of this post was created using The Complete Book of Color by Suzy Chizzari.
The car information from Today.
awesome brown sphere and series logo by me!
stone by clipart.com
umber by Wikimedia.org
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  1. I don't have too much brown in my wardrobe, but that's more to do with the fact that I don't look good in brown than with anything else.

    Even in the city, I manage to surround myself with as much earth as I can, so you can bet it is a favourite colour of mine.

    The brown of chocolate is of course my favourite, and not just because of the aroma.

  2. Brown reminds me of earth, outdoors and the coming of fall. Oh, and of course, chocolate. I don't wear much brown.

    Thoughts in Progress

  3. When I was a kid I HATED brown. I think it had something to do with poo. As an adult though, it has been 'in' a couple times and I have realized it really COMPLIMENTS a few colors I love–coral, mustard… so I have some brown 'bottoms' to go with my bright tops… and the inevitable khakis… The toffee or carmelly shades are nice, I suppose… I like some things that ARE brown (chocolate, coffee, cocoa) but mostly I find it unattractive unless it has really nice highlights (brunettes with sparkles that pick up light and such)

  4. Copper and chocolate. I have a few khaki things in my wardrobe, but not many.

  5. Since I have brown hair and brown eyes, I almost never wear brown. I'd look like a turd. 😉

    I like to wear colors. Well, I wear black too. Slimming and all that.

  6. Lola's comment made me laugh out loud! I'm not a brown person, either.

    What can brown do for me? It can deliver my packages!

  7. I love the color brown. I don't wear it much, but my daughter looks fabulous in it. I do love to use it when making cards, though. What does that mean?

  8. I love wearing brown, especially in the fall and winter…an it's also the color of chocolate!

  9. Excellent post! Don't forget brown as described in Hailstones & Halibut Bones (great book about color). I'm a chocolate-brown lover, of course! 🙂

  10. And I always thought brown was a dull drab uninteresting color. I'll never look at brown in the same way again.

  11. Laughing about all the poo and turd comments.

    I love a rich, dark brown for furniture (less for clothing though).

  12. I love to surround myself in brown, but there's very little of it in my wardrobe. Almost everything is black in there…I'm not sure I want to know what that says about me;-)

  13. Deep dark chocolate brown for me please! I painted my guest bath exactly that color and it looks amazing!

  14. I've been buying more brown recently – it's becoming one of my faves to wear 🙂

  15. Brown is also created from combining equal parts of all three primary colors, red, blue, and yellow.

    Stephen Tremp

  16. Jackee said…
    I definitely have a lot of brown in my wardrobe. In all its many hues.

    Someone told me it's the best color to take pictures in. Do you think that's true?

    Have a great night!

  17. Jackee, that’s an interesting question. I think it might look good on a lot of people but I have one fried who resembles Snow White: pale skin, black-brown hair, and even the ruby lips (without lipstick). Brown does not look so good on her.

    We all have Hart to thanks for the new image for brown. LO

  18. LOLA! You crack me up.

    I do love brown and I like to wear it. When I was young I use to wear medium to light browns not I mostly wear dark, rich browns. It's a happy, cozy color for me.

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