The Psychology of Color

Emotional and Psychological Effects of Color

When we redecorate and have to decide on the colors we want, we weigh our options and judge the colors based on different categories. Some of us may make our decisions based on what we think is right for that particular room. On the other hand, some of us pick colors based on how they make us feel. Is this method of picking colors good or bad? Maybe we can’t help it, or can we? There is a name for this mysterious spell, that different colors seem to have on our emotions, moods and our general outlook of a particular color is called “Color Psychology”.

The psychology of color is based not only on the mental effects colors have on people but also on the emotional effects as well. There are different elements of color psychology and they differ throughout cultures worldwide. Everything from the color we choose to have in our space, to the very color of our surroundings, has an impact on our moods and feelings. There are two main categories, warm and cool colors. Warm colors tend to include red, yellow and orange, which can spark various emotions, sometimes all at once. The other category; cool colors include, green, blue and purple, which tend to have calming effects.

According to color specialist Leatrice Eiseman, how colors affect us directly correlates to said colors behavior in nature. Eiseman conducted an experiment and asked thousands of people about their thoughts of a specific color and found tons of patterns. “We have a repository of information about a color. For example, the color blue is almost always associated with blue skies, which when we are children is a positive thing — it means playing outside and fun. Evolutionarily it also means there are no storms to come. This is why it is [reminding] us of stability and calm,” Eiseman explained.

Based on her research Eiseman found the uses of color in everyday life and we could utilize it to our advantage. For instance, you should make the color for you desktop green; the color we choose for our desktop or website can greatly affect our productivity. The color green is restful to look at and is the least strenuous color for your eyes. Another example would be that the best color for us to see when working out would be orange. Why orange? It’s because orange is a color of stimulation and enthusiasm. According to Eisenman’s research, orange increases oxygen supply to the brain, produces an energizing effect that stimulates the brain activity.

Colors are all around us and play an incredible part in our day to day lives. Colors play such a substantial role in the functions of our life, it even has the ability to dictate our emotions and govern our mental state. We make decisions based on colors more often than we think, whether it be from the clothes we decide to wear on a daily basis to the very color on our desktop. We work with and are directly affected by color everyday.