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What color green is Kelly green?

What color green is Kelly green?

Kelly green is a bright shade of green that got its name from being used as the color of team jerseys for the Kelly family back in Ireland in the 19th century. The exact specifications of Kelly green has varied over the years, but it is generally considered to be a vivid, medium to deep green color. Kelly green is often associated with Ireland and used alongside other symbolic colors like white and orange. It continues to be a popular color choice today for graphics, sports teams, clothing and more.

Defining Kelly Green

Kelly green is considered a medium to moderately deep green shade that has a vivid, intense appearance. Here are some key characteristics that help define what color Kelly green is:

  • Hue: The hue of Kelly green is centered around yellow-green.
  • Saturation: Kelly green has a high degree of color saturation, meaning it is a very vivid, pure color rather than muted or grayish.
  • Brightness: The brightness level of Kelly green is moderately high to high.
  • Green Shade: Kelly green is considered a medium green, meaning it falls somewhere between light green and deep forest greens.

These qualities make Kelly green have a bold, eye-catching effect. It has a youthful, energizing appearance. While brighter than forest greens, Kelly green is not quite as neon-like as lime green shades. The balance of its vividness and depth help Kelly green stand out while retaining an organic, natural green identity.

Kelly Green Hex Code

Colors can be precisely defined using hex codes – alphanumeric codes that are used to represent digital colors. The hex code for Kelly green is #4CBB17. This code points to a medium green color with strong yellow undertones.

When using Kelly green in digital designs and programs, inputting this hex code will call up the exact intended shade. The hex allows Kelly green’s color properties to be standardized across different programs and monitors. While the name “Kelly green” can have some variation in interpretation, the hex code eliminates any ambiguity.

Kelly Green RGB Values

While hex codes are commonly used for digital color selection, the RGB color model can also define Kelly green for digital applications. The RGB value for Kelly green is:

  • R = 76
  • G = 187
  • B = 23

These levels of red, green and blue light combine to create the vivid Kelly green color. The high green value gives Kelly green its dominant green hue, while the yellow comes from the moderately strong red component. The low blue results in a warm, energizing appearance.

Kelly Green CMYK Values

For design and printing with physical inks, the CMYK color system is used. Kelly green in CMYK is defined as:

  • C = 68%
  • M = 0%
  • Y = 100%
  • K = 10%

The high levels of yellow and low levels of magenta and black ink produce the vibrant, yellowy-green Kelly green when physically printed. The relatively low black (K) component allows the color to retain brightness.

Matching Paint Colors

If you want to use Kelly green in a painting project or around your home, you can match the color using paint. Two common paint colors that approximate the Kelly green hue are:

  • Behr Glowing Green – Code 490E-3
  • Sherwin-Williams Green Myth – Code 6748

Both of these paint options provide a close match to the web and print color specifications for Kelly green. Sample swatches can help you find the right intensity and balance of hue that matches your desired Kelly green shade. Paint allows much more flexibility than digital colors, so you can tweak these options to land on your perfect Kelly green variation.

Kelly Green Color Meaning and Symbolism

Colors often take on symbolic associations, and Kelly green is no exception. Here are some of the meanings and characteristics commonly linked to Kelly green:

  • Irish Culture – Kelly green is strongly associated with Ireland and all things Irish. Wearing Kelly green is a way to celebrate Irish heritage.
  • Luck – The color green in general is tied to luck, and Kelly green brings a particularly vibrant energy of good fortune.
  • Youthful Vigor – Kelly green’s brightness signifies youth, energy and growth.
  • Financial Prosperity – Some connect the color green, including Kelly green shades, with money, finance and material abundance.
  • Renewal – As the color of springtime, green like Kelly green represents cycles of renewal and rebirth.

These positive meanings help explain why Kelly green remains popular in many branding and design applications. It aims to conjure up fortunate, lively connotations.

History of Kelly Green

So where does Kelly green get its name from? The origins can be traced back to Ireland in the 19th century.

The noble Kelly family of Ireland were prominent and accomplished landowners, with a stately home called Kelly Grove. In the 1830s, the Kelly family formed a field hockey team, including both family members and workers on their land.

As a symbol of team unity, the Kelly’s had jerseys made up in a vibrant green shade for their players. This dynamic Kelly green color became associated with the successful Kelly field hockey team.

Soon, other teams in Ireland were adopting the Kelly green jerseys as good luck charms in hopes that the color would bring them comparable success. Through Irish athletics, the shade became known as Kelly green and cemented its Irish connotations.

Early Sporting Use

In addition to hockey, early Irish sports teams wore Kelly green jerseys when competing in traditional Gaelic sports like hurling and polo. The color became part of Irish national sports identity.

Irish immigrants later brought affection for Kelly green uniforms with them to the United States. The Boston Celtics basketball franchise chose Kelly green as an homage to the Irish heritage of Boston. Other American teams with Irish roots like Notre Dame football also wore Kelly green uniforms.

Persistence in Pop Culture

Beyond sports, Kelly green maintained popularity in all things Irish-American culture. Symbols like leprechauns, shamrocks and pots of gold at the end of the rainbow were portrayed as Kelly green.

The color became strongly tied to Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations and marches, which contributed to its enduring fame. Musicians also kept Irish folk tunes alive, further reinforcing the recognizability of traditional Kelly green.

Modern Uses of Kelly Green

Kelly green today retains its linkage with Irish identity but has expanded far beyond just that niche. Here are some examples of how vivid Kelly green color is used in modern graphic design, products and more:

Sports Teams

Kelly green is still a popular uniform color for sports teams, hearkening back to its athletic origins. Professional teams featuring Kelly green include:

  • Philadelphia Eagles football team
  • New York Jets football alternate uniforms
  • Boston Celtics basketball team throwback jerseys
  • Minnesota Wild hockey alternate jerseys

College teams like the North Carolina Tar Heels have also embraced Kelly green uniforms. The color continues to symbolize luck, competitiveness and an energetic spirit in sports.

Branding and Marketing Design

Kelly green’s brightness and saturated hue allow it to grab attention, which makes it effective for branding:

  • Starbucks – Kelly green is used prominently in Starbucks branding and stores.
  • Animal Planet – The media brand uses Kelly green in its logo and promotions.
  • Xbox – Kelly green appears in buttons and accents across Xbox gaming systems and accessories.
  • Heineken – The iconic Heineken beer label is Kelly green.

Product packaging, company logos, advertisements and more leverage Kelly green’s ability to catch the eye and evoke positive vibes. The color gives brands visual energy.

Fashion and Home Goods

In apparel and home decor, Kelly green draws attention and brings bold accenting to products:

  • ZIPPO Lighters – Special edition Saint Patrick’s Day lighters are produced in Kelly green.
  • Converse Chuck Taylors – Green Chucks are available in Kelly green shades.
  • Vera Bradley – Handbags and accessories come in a Kelly green floral pattern.
  • Le Creuset – Their enameled cast iron Dutch ovens are available in Kelly green.

Clothing, shoes, jewelry and more leverage Kelly green’s ability to catch the eye as an exciting accent color. It coordinates well with neutral metallics and blacks for fashion flair.

Related Colors

Kelly green fits within the spectrum of green colors, ranging from more yellow-based spring greens to deeper forest greens. Here are some other colors that are similar or complementary to Kelly green:

Similar Green Shades

  • Citron Green
  • Green Apple
  • Harlequin Green
  • Mint Green

These colors all share Kelly green’s fresh, vibrant yellow-green tones at around a medium depth level. Citron green is nearly identical to Kelly green.

Deeper Complementary Greens

  • British Racing Green
  • Emerald Green
  • Hunter Green

Pairing Kelly green with a deeper green provides high-contrast pop. Dark greens also enable Kelly green to stand out more.

Light Complementary Greens

  • Honeydew
  • Seafoam Green
  • Pistachio

Using soft, pale greens with Kelly green creates a harmonious, tonally-similar color scheme. Light greens allow Kelly green to take center visual attention.

How Lighting Affects Kelly Green

The way Kelly green is perceived can shift slightly based on lighting conditions. Here is how different lighting temperatures impact the color:

Cool White Lighting (5000K temperature)

Under cool blue-hued light, Kelly green takes on a deeper forest green appearance and loses some vibrancy. It becomes muted and desaturated rather than bold.

Neutral White Lighting (3500K temperature)

At around 3500K, lighting is closer to natural daylight and shows Kelly green’s intended balance of yellow and green tones. This lighting presents the most accurate representation of Kelly green.

Warm White Lighting (2700K temperature)

In very warm, yellowish light, Kelly green appears brighter and more yellow-shifted. Its green tones wash out, leaving more of a spring green look.

Aim for neutral white light temperatures to see Kelly green’s true vivid yellow-green color. Cool or warm lighting skews it more towards yellow or blue-green.


Kelly green has maintained its popularity and recognition for over a century, evolving from one Irish family’s field hockey uniforms to an iconic color tied to Ireland and beyond. Its medium yellow-green hue pops against contrasting colors and brings energetic vibrancy to any application. Kelly green continues to be a staple color for graphic arts and visual media thanks to its cultural history and bold styling.