Psychology of Colors
“Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways. ”
― Oscar Wilde
Have you ever wondered why people choose different colors? Have you ever thought how particular colors affect you? Do colors affect your mood? Well, most psychologists agree that colors affect our mood. And, certainly, if we like some particular color it says something about us and our personality. How does this work? Easy, with each color we have certain associations, even if we don’t realize these associations consciously, they still have some impact on us and thus, affect the way we feel, think, see and understand things. This is what people call “color psychology”. We sometimes catch ourselves on the moment when some place or person that we usually like annoys us. On subconscious level we notice the color change and we don’t like that. That’s why one should know how to use color psychology in everyday life.
Down, I’ll introduce you main colors and their main ‘meanings’ and impacts, which can be used in every sphere of life starting from your personal look, up to your working place.
This is the color that is firstly associated with love, passion, war, blood and excitement. A bit controversial, right? The color itself is probably the most emotional. And by saying emotional I don’t mean one, strong emotion. It is emotional on many layers and backgrounds. But first of all, I’ll describe red as the attention-grabbing color. If you need attention in your painting/drawing, video, outfit/looks, room/office etc use red. Some scientist claim that red gives energy and enhances human metabolism and raises blood pressure. Thus, for the days when you feel weak and tired add something red to your outfit, it may, indeed, help you feel better and more confident.
Orange, most often, is associated with fun, joy and happiness. As a matter of a fact it is the combination red and yellow. Orange color enhances enthusiasm and creativity. As in the previous case, orange, too, is very emotional and attention — grabbing. Due to its being energetic color, orange arises motivation and appetite. In general, this is known as the color of psychical comfort. So, adding some orange in your bedroom or working place will be really motivational and will boost energy throughout the day.
Yellow is the initial color associated with optimism. Again, it is highly energetic and enthusiastic color. It is known to enhance mental activity and stimulates positive thinking and energy. And yet again, this is an attention-grabbing color. Due to its long wavelength, yellow is, actually, the first color people notice and thus it has a really strong impact on us. Yellow is also known to have some ‘side effects’. If it is overused, it may have a disturbing effect, it may affect self-esteem issues, arise negative thoughts and anxiety. I guess this is why babies react to yellow with cries. So, I wouldn’t advise you to use only yellow in whatever you do, however, you should add some yellow in your life, especially if you are surrounded by darker and more depressing colors.
Mostly associated with forest and nature, green is the color of balance, harmony, refreshment and fertility. Green has strong correspondence with safety, stability, and endurance. It is associated with tranquility and calmness, and it is said to be beneficial both for body and mind. Some even claim that green has healing effect. It is particularly good for your eyes( we are not talking about neon green). Some people also associate green with money. Although, as a negative side, green is said to be the sign of over-possession and materialism. And yet, among all the colors, it is considered to have more positive effects than negative. So add green anywhere you need you some balance and harmony.
Blue is the color mostly associated with calmness and intelligence. This is the color of mind, unlike red which is rather physical color. It has been proven that different shades of blue can improve concentration, stimulate thinking and provide mental clarity. Strong blues will stimulate clear thought and lighter, soft blues will calm the mind and aid concentration. Blue is the color of trust and dependability. It’s reliable, responsible, and mentally soothing. Among negative aspects of this color are coldness, indifference, it is unfriendly and unemotional. Also, scientists claim that blue is most loved color around the world. As a blue-lover I’d advise you to add blue everywhere you can. But being more objective, I should say — add blue wherever you need to calm things down. And mix blue with other colors(for instance yellow) to reduce dullness and add more energy.
As the combination of the stability of blue and the energy of red, purple is most associated with royalty, wealth, and space. Most often it symbolizes power, nobility, luxury, and ambition. In fact, it is very introvertive and spiritual color. Mostly purple is used to sow luxury, loyalty, courage, mystery, and magic. Purple is a good option for boosting creativity. But too often using this color may cause deep introspection and or distraction as thoughts begin to wonder. This may cause dreaminess, that’s why I personally wouldn’t advise you adding too much of purple in your workplace as it will distract you all the time. But this option might be good for bedroom. Or adding this color to you painting or video will add something mystical and soothing.
As a softer version of red, pink is mostly associated with affection, love, empathy, warmth, femininity. Pink is the color mostly preferred by women, and thus it has a bond with fertility, feminine principle and survival of the species. Pink is the sign of hope. That’s why it is often used by nurses and cancer patients. This is probably the most sensitive color of all, so, I’d advise use this color wherever you want to add more calmness and create soft and relaxing atmosphere. But keep in mind, that too much pink is the sign of weakness. So, don’t surround yourself only with this color. For instance, add pink attributes in your bathroom.
White is, most commonly, associated with innocence, purity, and virginity. Some even claim that this is the color of perfection. White usually carries some positive connotation, although in some cultures this is the color of grief and mourning. White color most often signifies peace (like the white dove). White is also the color that represents refreshment and something new in life ( like a new blank page in life). White is said to stimulate new ideas and creativity. This is the color that brings balance among other colors. However, they say that using too much of white can cause isolation, loneliness, and emptiness. Using white as a background is a good idea, as it’ll bring everything to balance and yet won’t make things look dull empty.
Black is associated with death, power, elegance, formality, evil, and mystery. As in the case of red, pretty controversial, eh? Black creates protective barriers, as it absorbs all the energy coming towards you. For some people, black may associate with fear explaining this either with fear of dark or unknown. In some cases, it may denote power and authority and be used as a formal color. Black is, also, the color of sophistication, seriousness and independence. In fact, black is the absence of light, that’s maybe why it seems that this color sort of “wants to be separate from others”. Black is better to used in contrast to other brighter colors. Too much of black can cause sadness or too much seriousness. But when used with bright colors it can bring balance or somewhat “ colorful seriousness”.
Grey is known as the absence of color and represents psychological neutrality. That’s why it is said to have no direct psychological properties. Unfortunately, this color mostly has a negative connotation. Most often it is described as the color representing lack of energy, depression, lack of confidence. From a color psychology perspective, grey is the color of compromise as it is neither black nor white. It is the transition between two non-colors or neutral colors. Grey is solid and stable, creating a sense of calmness and composure, a kind of relief from a chaotic world. I’d advice using grey either for background or for dampening other colors.
Brown is mostly associated with seriousness, earthiness, reliability and support. This is a pretty heavy color that contains “lack of humor”. Brown has much of the same seriousness as black but is warmer and softer. Brown has associations with the earth and the natural world. It is a solid, reliable color and most people find it quietly supportive — more positively than the ever-popular black, which is suppressive, rather than supportive. This is the popular color for those who are rather down to earth. Use this color whenever you want your work (or whatever you do) to look serious and inspire seriousness in others. But try not to overuse it, as it will look pretty boring(even for brown lovers).
Colors are very important and not just in art. Colors are everywhere we go. It is actually a huge marketing tool. Marketers constantly use various colors to make people hungry, encourage trust, feelings of calmness or energy and for many other reasons. Colors are used in web design. Ever wondered why you like a particular site and dislike some other? Colors are an inseparable tool for interior design. And in many other spheres of life, color is an essential part of everything we do, see and feel.