Marketing and design experts rely heavily on color psychology to sell us things. Companies choose colors that they believe will motivate people to buy their products, Colors have even been used in color therapy techniques to treat various diseases. Color is powerful!
Color perception is, as you might imagine, very subjective. Several factors influence color perception, making it difficult to determine if color alone impacts our emotions and actions. Factors that can influence color perception are age, gender, and culture. In some cultures, certain colors are associated with various things. Take white, for example. In one culture it can mean happiness and purity, while in another culture it can mean sadness where white is associated with death.
Yet, while color has not been conclusively linked to behavior, some generalizations about color and what it may symbolize, has been determined. Warm colors; red, yellow, and orange, are thought to stimulate excited emotions. Whereas, cool colors, like blue, green, and violet, are associated with calmness, tranquility, and coolness.
Here are what the various colors are thought to signify in relation to ideas, attitudes, and emotions:
Red: Warning, love, courage, aggression, and rage. Red is the the longest wavelength of light on the visible light spectrum. In western culture red represents power, control, and strength. Certain animals, including some snakes and frogs, have red coloration to indicate they are dangerous and deadly. red also signifies passion...as well as the fight or flight response. Red is thought to raise blood pressure and metabolism.
Blue: Trust, efficiency, coolness, security, sadness. Blue is associated with calmness and tranquility. It is a symbol of logic, communication, and intelligence. It has been linked to low stress, low temperature, and low pulse rate. The color blue has also been associated with a lack of warmth, indifference, and emotional distance. Yet despite all its negative connotations, blue is often chosen as the most popular color. In recent studies, blue light has been found to reset our circadian rhythms (our sleep-awake cycles).
Yellow: Energy, hope, honor, fear, frailness. Yellow is a bright color and the most visible to the eye. It is most-often associated with happiness, friendliness, and competence. Yellow is the color of optimism and creativity. It attracts our attention and can signal us to be cautious. Interestingly enough, yellow can also be associated with cowardice, fear and sickness, as well.
Green: Health, compassion, favor, ambition, and passivity, Now we're talking about MY favorite color! Green is located between yellow and blue on the visible light spectrum and signifies balance. It is the color of springtime because it is associated with growth, life, fertility, and nature. Green represents safety and also prosperity, wealth, good fortune, and finances. Green is thought to have a calming effect and help relieve stress. It's negative qualities include: jealousy, greed, apathy, and lethargy.
Orange: Wisdom, pleasure, desire, pride, and loneliness. Orange is located between red and yellow on the visible light spectrum. It is thought to symbolize qualities of both high-energy red, as well as the the upbeat color of yellow. Orange is associated with warmth, enthusiasm, and encouragement. The color orange, it is believed, stimulates the appetite and increases hunger. Mental activity and acumen are also believed to be represented by this color. Light shades of orange are considered welcoming, while the deeper shade can signify dishonesty.
Purple: Wealth, dignity, wisdom, arrogance, impatience. Purple is the shade we associate with royalty. It is the shortest wavelength on the visible light spectrum. Purple communicates a sense of worth, value, and quality. Spirituality, sacredness, and gracefulness are also thought to be connected to this color. Light purple represents romance and delicateness. Darker shades symbolize sorrow, fear, and apprehension.
Research has shown that whether or not it is influenced by age, gender, or culture...color does have some impact on physiology, behavior, and mood in many individuals. You might want to think about that when decorating your home...or even when choosing an outfit to wear to a job interview...or anytime you're trying to make a good impression, or ask for a favor.
You'll notice that I always wear green...the color of nature, calmness, and compassion. And I hope I represent all of those qualities to you, my dear readers.
What does your favorite color say about you?