In my other “life” I am a graphic designer (yes, was done by me), and I have to say I am a bit flummoxed by presidential candidate John McCain’s continued use of green. The above is his latest anti-Obama ad.

As you may remember, on the night Obama clinched the nomination, McCain made a rather flat speech in front of a green background. The next day, all the blogs were abuzz with the icky green factor.

What’s wrong with green? Well as anyone who took an art foundation course in colour theory knows, people just are not attracted to green. Green is THE neutral colour, the colour of nature. Pschologically, green can bring up feelings of calm, but also of sadness or indifference (which is the worst crime of all).

Why is this? Quite simple: green is the colour of nature, our natural environment. Moreover, green lies in the midpoint between red and violet on the colour spectrum (ROYGBIV) and just leaves us kind of flat and neutral. Colours at the extremes of the spectrum effect heart rate, blood pressure, and brainwaves, with red causing an increase and blue a decrease – and green, well, just leaves us unmoved. This may be due to the fact, that back in caveman times, when foraging for food, non-green edible food that stood out from the environment had a higher chance of being seen and consumed, and was therefore more favourable to our survival.

Virgo McCain may be allowing his mind to overrule instinct. Even though in modern times, the idea Green equals Ecological, the actual sub-conscious, biological effect is quite different, and almost has a repulsive effect. Green may be ok to paint your room, if you live in an urban environment and are longing for a more natural existence or are looking to calm down (prisoners prefer green), but it’s not the best colour to chose to evoke the feelings of passion necessary to win an election, in fact it’s just the opposite.

People with a strong preference for green tend to be conservative, suburban types, resistant to change. Not the best for this election cycle.

Moreover, green has a lot of negative connotations in Western society: as Shakespeare said, “Beware the green-eyed monster!”

I always wondered as well why Hillary Clinton kept wearing pale yellow outfits during the primaries. Pale yellow is neither a slimming nor defining colour fashion-wise, and it also carries considerable baggage, bringing up connotations of cowardice, untrustworthiness and shiftiness.

One thing that Obama has, among many, is an amazing and consistent design team. For those who care about how these things effect us, read this article for an insightful commentary on Obama’s design strategy or this one to understand just what goes into making a logo, and what the various candidates are trying to convey. People often don’t understand the value of a consistent and well-thought out design strategy, and these articles really describe what goes into making a great logo or look.

If you yourself need any design work done, please write to info – at – 1537papetst – dot – com (trying to fight the spam)