I found meme about big green button.

When people visit download sites (like software directories, file hosting sites, torrents, etc) after completing reading page title and deciding to download they look for big green button...

I have interest to know origin of color and size choice.

I found this sources:

Also possibly related links:

UPDATE. Interesting color marking agreements can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triage

2 Answers 2


The green and red colors are traditionally used in the engineering as "positive, allowed, safe, yes" (green) and "negative, forbidden, danger, no" (red) indication.

This tradition is very old and widespread and all people are taught to perceive these colors in this way.

So, it would be very unwise to use these colors in other meaning, because this will cause the user got confused.

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    In Japan, red would be considered "positive, allowed, safe, yes". Generalization can be dangerous. Commented Feb 12, 2013 at 8:21
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    So, in Japan the traffic lights are red for "OK to pass"? Good to know. :P Maybe it was true in 15-th century, but not now and not here.
    – johnfound
    Commented Feb 12, 2013 at 8:26
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    @BartGijssens that applies to the perception of red as a general colour, but not when used as an indicator. The same applies to most of East Asia.
    – JohnGB
    Commented Feb 12, 2013 at 12:15
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    In Japan, like in most other countries, there is a traffic law that explains the meaning of the traffic lights and the required behaviour of people using the public roads. That does not take away that it is a generalization to state that all people are taught to perceive red as negative, forbidden, danger, no. There are variations depending on context and culture. Commented Feb 12, 2013 at 12:41
  • @JohnGB: do you have some source for this? Japanese people have always warned me not to simply use red as an indicator for warnings, errors as it can be interpreted as positive, or as offensive. Commented Feb 12, 2013 at 12:43

Psychologically speaking, red means caution, stop, or no, and green means good, healthy, or go. See: http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/stop-on-red-a-monkey-study-suggests-that-the-effects-of-color-lie-deep-in-evolution.html and: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/people-places-and-things/201002/positive-design-color

  • 1
    Great with reference! +1 Commented Mar 9, 2013 at 12:39

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