Exploring WordPress Theme Designers’ Love Affair With Mint Green

There’s a curious design trend among WordPress themes that shows no signs of stopping. The prominent use of mint green has become designers’ favorite highlight color.

The trend started in the greater design community, as recently illustrated by Automattic design engineer Mel Choyce in her tweet commentary:

The color is often seen accompanying a flat design. “It’s in kind of the weird space between green and blue,” Choyce commented before suggesting the name “Frosted Cyan.”

It’s as if someone merged turquoise and seafoam green to create the next design obsession. You’ll find it everywhere from fashion to product design to interior decorating, as seen on Etsy to Pinterest.

mint-green

Both “Vintage Aqua” and “Arctic Marine Blue” come pretty close to the mark. Whatever you want to call it, the color has now fully infiltrated WordPress theme design. Commercial and free themes alike are making liberal use of mint green and its many derivatives. I’ve compiled a small sampling:

minty-themes

The Psychology Behind Mint Green

How does a color become trendy? Do colors have inherent meanings or do they simply remind us of things we’ve seen in the world? Color psychology is a fascinating science to explore, given that colors are proven to have patterns in how they effect large portions of the populace when empirically tested. Throw history and culture in the mix, along with the physiological effects of colors and you have a whole spectrum of insight when experimenting with specific hues.

credit: NASA
credit: NASA

Colors exist in different wavelengths and stimulate the eyes and mind in various, measurable ways. Red is on one end of the electromagnetic spectrum of light visible to humans and has the longest wavelength. Violet is on the other end with the shortest wavelength. Green is right in the middle and is the easiest to perceive.

Colour Effects, a London-based color consultancy, has this to say about the psychological properties of green:

Green strikes the eye in such a way as to require no adjustment whatever and is, therefore, restful. Being in the centre of the spectrum, it is the colour of balance – a more important concept than many people realise. When the world about us contains plenty of green, this indicates the presence of water, and little danger of famine, so we are reassured by green, on a primitive level. Negatively, it can indicate stagnation and, incorrectly used, will be perceived as being too bland.

So what is it about mint green? For many, a light green hue evokes feelings of freshness or lightness. Designers seem to be quite fond of using it in contrast to a flat grey in their latest creations. The color was, of course, first inspired by nature, with which so many of us have lost touch. Mint green, or a muted/pastel shade, is said to represent tranquility to many people and has a calming effect. Perhaps this is why it’s often used in hospitals.

Why is Mint Green Trending?

The fact that mint green is trending probably says more about us and our digital culture than it does about the products themselves. In an era where many of us are chained to our electronic devices, the trending mint green color may be a subconscious attempt to reconnect with nature. These electronic devices and the near constant flow of information they provide are often a cause of stress. Instant access to traumatic events happening around the globe and the pressure to stay connected may have a deeper psychological impact on us than we know. It’s no wonder that we are gravitating towards colors that convey tranquility and balance.

This particular mint green design trend started in 2012 and held strong throughout 2013. Has it reached its zenith? Why do you think it’s been so popular?

13 Comments


  1. Never mind Mint Green I love the sound of “Frosted Cyan.”
    Sounds much more sophisticated.

    Not sure why it’s popular but before I read this post I published a new “Contact” page on a new site, and what colour is the header?
    http://divitheme.co.uk/contact/

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  2. I have mixed feelings of Mint Green. It does seem refreshing but there are only a few different shades of green that I like. It’s also important to see what colors surround the mint green as well as that usually effects whether or not I like a design overall.

    for example, I like this use of green in the Collections theme http://demo.thethemefoundry.com/collections-theme/ versus the lighter shades.

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  3. If only we could do metallic mint green. I’d be all over that.

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  4. the pantone color of the year for 2013 was emerald. i’m not sure if they saw it coming or helped set the bar. is emerald a close enough match to mint green? https://www.pantone.com/pages/index.aspx?pg=21055

    when it comes to color i think people like contrast, change and unique. emerald, or mint green, seems to offer those qualities. the 2014 pantone color is radiant orchid but i don’t think i’m going to trend with that one. http://www.pantone.com/pages/index.aspx?pg=21129 i do like emerald though.

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  5. Flat design often seems to be accompanied with “retro” colors, which, to my eye, seems like all the colors are “frosted” as Mel puts it.

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  6. The color also depends on what device the page is viewed on. For instance, red on one screen might be overwhelming, while exactly the same page on a smartphone could be unobtrusive. Black and white are device neutral, while colors are at the mercy of the rendering vehicle. Designers should realize “mint green” will not appear the same to others as it does on their monitor.

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  7. This color has been one of my favorites for years upon years. Its mainstream debut was in fashion, now I’m assuming by this post it’s drifting over into web design, but I think that’s a bit off too. I designed my logo in 2010 using the same color.

    http://www.nowyourecook.in/

    What I feel like I’m seeing more of is combining an overall black/gray/white layout with a bold, bright color for links. Like this page for example. Mostly white and charcoal, with a pop of burnt orange/red for links and categories.

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  8. There’s some evidence from the medical community that green lowers blood pressure and has a calming effect on patients. That’s why you’ll often find hospital walls covered in the stuff.

    So, if you’re looking to induce a similar experience amongst web site visitors then go for it, otherwise I would suggest leaving it to the hospitals.

    I guess it comes down to whether you’re designing a website for yourself (so are choosing a colour you like) or designing for others (choose a colour to invoke a reaction).

    Personally I find the colour green to be the leader of the bland.

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