SFCED | San Francisco Center for Economic Development


S.F. Startups Are in the Green When It Comes to Office Design

Brown may be the new green when it comes to landscaping, but shades of chartreuse, emerald and lime still maintain a firm hold on office design.

It’s on cubicle walls at Trulia, roofdeck furniture at Lyft and on meeting room walls at Udemy, which has a green logo. Customer service software company Zendesk has a living wall made of bright green moss. 

The Awl noted this tendency toward chartreuse in an article last week, pointing to its crowd-pleasing nature and appearance at Airbnb, Cisco, Zendesk and Microsoft Startup Labs. “Tech companies can safely use the color for interior decorating and branding to win everyone over, with very few exceptions,” Rebecca Huval wrote.

Green is “the new neutral,” Melissa Hanley, CEO of Design Blitz, told SFGATE. “People have really strong opinions toward orange and red and purple, but green is sort of universally OK,” Hanley said.

Green provides a nice contrast to the most popular color in tech branding: blue. Blue has become so popular, in fact, that some companies are publicly denouncing it, according to Hanley. There’s also the psychological effect of green. Green is getting lumped in to a larger effort to focus on wellness efforts (like standing desks) at work, according to Hanley. Softer, cooler colors are more soothing. Green suggests nature.

“Green is one of these colors that inspires a more calm and thoughtful response to the environment,” Hanley said. “If you walk into an all red room, it’s kind of jarring and aggressive. It can be fabulous in a café; it inspires hunger.”

Read more:  SFGate  S.F. startups are in the green when it comes to office design