The new social network, Tsū, is banded with a clear and vivid green. Its hue is reminiscent of aspects of nature: the sea in winter, the stripes on certain kinds of leaves, the colour of chrysanthemums and orchids.
In contrast to the dull office blue of Facebook, the icy whiteness of Google+, and the foggy grey of Ello, Tsū offers users a warm and vibrant colour scheme which is soft on the eyes and somehow friendlier.
Can a simple design choice make so much difference to the attractiveness of a social network site? It seems that the biggest sites go for blue: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Foursquare all favour it. And that choice is reflected in a general worldwide preference in all kinds of situations. Blue connotes intelligence, communication, trust, efficiency, duty, and logic, giving an overall sense of competence and security. It makes for a pretty safe choice.
Red however, is seen as arousing, exciting, and stimulating. It’s generally associated with activity, strength, and being up-to-date. Google+, YouTube, and Pinterest all feature red teamed with white (sincerity, purity, cleanness, simplicity, hygiene, clarity, peace, and happiness).
The only established social network coloured green is Vine where users share videos for six seconds or less in a short-lived, always-on culture of almost organic constant flux. But now there’s Tsū, a lighter and slightly bluer green than Vine, and offering a very different kind of experience.
As we know, and research supports this view, green is primarily associated with nature and the outdoors, offering a kind of ruggedness which creates a feeling of security. In an interview in Forbes magazine, environmental psychologist Sally Augustin said of the colour: “There seems to be a positive association between nature and regrowth”. Green sparks creativity, notes the magazine – which is perfect for a social network wishing to offer a new start to jaded Facebook users.
Hues of green are also crucial in biophilic design, a specialist area of architecture and interiors which foregrounds characteristics of nature and the outdoors - plants, water, wood, stone and so on. The term “biophilia” was originally coined by psychologist Erich Fromm to describe a “love of life or living systems” and later popularised by biologist E.O Wilson as “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life.”
Biophilic design pioneer Stephen Kellert explains it as a “design revolution that connects buildings to the natural world, buildings where people feel and perform better”. Spaces created with biophilia in mind have been shown to improve convalescent rates and soothe stress. To date, however, there has been very little biophilia to be seen in website design, which makes the Tsū website an interesting innovation.
But perhaps the green is just a happy accident. After all, most of the attention around Tsū centres not on how it looks but on its potential to share the profits of connectedness by earning money from sharing content via a “family tree” which grows as new members join via individual “shortcodes” (you need to know someone who has one to sign up). And perhaps in this way alone, green suits this particular evolution in social networking.