Psychology of colors

The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most.

- John Ruskin

Colors. What comes to your mind when you think about colors? A rainbow? A flower? What feelings come to you when you think about your favourite color? And what is a color actually?

As Wassily Kandinsky says:

Color is a power which directly influences the soul.

Color is a powerful communication tool and can be used to signal action, influence mood, and even influence physiological reactions. Certain colors have been associated with increased blood pressure, increased metabolism and eyestrain. So how exactly does color work and impact mood and behavior?

Colors have a lot to do with feelings and reactions. Marketing and advertising are well-known for utilizing the Psychology of Colors. It is consistently used in an attempt to make people hungry, associate a positive or negative tone, encourage trust, feelings of calmness or energy, and countless others.

Colors have a lot of meanings, even more – they are interpreted differently in different cultures. But let’s take a look at some of their most common meanings.

White

Have you ever wondered why brides wear white? White a is color at its most completeness and purity, the color of perfection. Very often it means innocence and cleanliness, even mourning in some cultures. White is bright and can create a sense of space or add highlights. That’s why designers often use this color to make rooms seem larger and more spacious. White is also described as cold, bland, and sterile. Some of the positive meanings that white can convey include cleanliness, freshness, and simplicity. It often symbolizes a new beginning or a fresh start.

Black

At first thought we usually connect black with bad things. The color black relates to the hidden, the secretive and the unknown, and as a result it creates an air of mystery. Black is often used as a symbol of power, control and intelligence, but also menace and evil. Black is associated with death and mourning, as well as unhappiness and depression. But black has its bright side. In the fashion industry it is often used because of its slimming effect, and also because it represents formality. Black is a form of style and luxury. As in life, sometimes we need black so that we can see the other colors better. Looks like the singer Amy Grant thinks the same:

Without black, no color has any depth. But if you mix black with everything, suddenly there’s shadow – no, not just shadow, but fullness. You’ve got to be willing to mix black into your palette if you want to create something that’s real.

Red

Red is the color that brings out the strongest emotions. It is mostly associated with energy, passion, and action. Red is the color of the blood, hence of life. It has a strong masculine energy and can often be linked to strength and power. Red is a bright and warm color. It is used to express love and romance, as well as excitement and desire. But red also symbolizes anger and danger. It can provoke hunger, which is why it is most commonly used in the fast food industry. Red attracts more attention than any other color.

Orange

Orange is a combination of yellow and red and is considered an energetic color. Interesting thing is that a lot of people don’t like it, because they think orange does not suit them and also it is not so easy to combine with other colors. But usually the orange color represents good emotions, such as excitement, enthusiasm, warmth, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation. Orange is also the color of bright sunsets and fruits like oranges and tangerines, so for many it might be associated as the color of of a beautiful setting sun or the refreshing taste of citrus. It can have a dark meaning because of its connection to Halloween.

Yellow

Without a doubt yellow is considered the color of happiness. It is used to express laughter, optimism and warmth. Interesting fact is that yellow is an energetic color and can boost your metabolism. It can also provoke hunger and frustration, and, surprisingly, even anger. Due to its reflection of light, yellow is the most difficult color to read, but it’s great for signs or advertisements because it is an attention-getting color. Yellow is used to arouse cheerfulness and stimulate mental activity.

Green

The first thing that comes to mind when we think of green is, that’s right, nature. Green is a cool color that symbolizes nature and the natural world. Because of its association with nature, green is often thought to represent calmness, good luck and health. Green is often used to express positiveness. It represents growth, freshness and fertility. Dark green is often associated with money. But green can also have negative meanings such as envy, and even poison. Overall green is connected with the feelings of harmony and healing.

Blue

The blue color can indicate a wide range of emotions. It is described as the favourite color of many people and is most preferred by men. Blue is often seen as a sign of stability and reliability. Businesses that want to project an image of security often utilize blue in their advertising. Researchers have found that the color blue boosts productivity and people are more productive in blue rooms. Interesting fact is that blue is the least appetizing color, because it is associated with poison and can also create feelings of sadness. Other meanings of blue are calmness, wisdom and loyalty.

Purple

The color purple is the symbol of royalty and wealth. The reason is that purple is less common in nature, the resources needed to create a dye in this color were much more hard to come by and much more costly, so only rich people could afford clothes and other items in that color. Purple is often associated with wisdom and mystery, and even spirituality. It is exotic because of its rearness in nature. Purple is also used to mark sophistication and respect.

Now that you know how colors provoke certain emotions, you can use this information to make yourself and others feel happy, productive and calm. Colors can play an important role in conveying information, creating certain moods, and even in influencing the decisions people make.

Colors stimulate our brain. Even from the ancient times people have used them as a source of healing. They have a huge impact on people’s preferences on the objects they choose to purchase, the clothes they wear, and the way they adorn their environments. So, if you are feeling a little sad, make sure to grab a yellow cup of tea and boost your positive energy. And remember: what John Ruskin once said:

The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most.

Who wrote this article

Learn more about the author

Kristin Badzheva

WordPress Intern

/ graphic designer wanna-be
/ salsa dance enthusiast
/ loves photography, travelling and adrenaline activities

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