Do you have a favorite color? Is your wardrobe made up of shades of a certain hue? Why do you think this is? Why are we attracted to one color rather than others? Could it be that colors can affect us on a deeper, unconscious level, one that we are not even aware of? Color psychology can give answers to these questions.
Psychologists know that colors have a dramatic effect on our moods, emotions and feelings, and have used them in different environments to elicit certain reactions. In prisons, the color pink has a calming effect on unruly inmates, whereas green can indicate the feeling of space in a small area.
Here is a rundown of each color and how they can affect us, according to color psychology:
Red makes us feel energized as it symbolizes the color of blood. It is also a very sensual color as it focuses the attention on a particular body part such as the lips. It makes us aware of our sexuality.
Red is a sign of danger, it alerts us to danger in the world around us as it wakes us up to danger, think of red brake lights in cars and red stop lights in a set of traffic lights.
Orange is a youthful color typically associated with adolescence and fun and frivolity. We get excited when we look at orange, but it can also suggest immaturity and inexperience, as airline company EasyJet found to their cost. Their passengers were not taking the company’s staff seriously because of the orange in their uniforms. When we see orange, we associate it with childish behavior.
According to color psychology, yellow represents happiness, creativity and optimism. This color has the ability to lift your spirits and can even help with memory, (this is why order/legal pads are often colored yellow). In abundance, it can be tiring, however, as it is a difficult color for the eye to process.
Green is the color of nature and as such is the easiest color for the eye to process. This is why surgeons wear green, as their previous white gowns proved to strain the eyes too much.
Green gives an illusion of space and is associated with harmony and balance. Its association with nature means that it evokes a sense of peace. If you live in a cramped apartment, try painting it green to give the illusion of more space.
Blue is the color of trust, intelligence and efficiency. Watch out for any global conflicts as you’ll often see world leaders wearing blue when they come together to discuss peaceful action.
Blue is also a conservative color and indicates reliability and tradition, according to color psychology. When we see blue, we automatically associative it with uniforms, a higher intelligence, military and organization. We are able to let go and give others our power because the color blue takes over.
Purple is a spiritual color and also the most expensive to produce. This means it is associated with wealth, royalty and people of high rank.
A mystical color, it invokes a sense of eccentricity and individualism. Purple can have a calming effect on the mind so long as it is used in moderation.
Black is elegant, stylish and sophisticated, but it can also have negative associations. It is used for mourning, and also to depict evil characters, so it depends on the context how the color black affects us.
Associated with innocence, remember when Liz Hurley wore a white dress after her boyfriend Hugh Grant cheated on her with a Los Angeles hooker?
White is the color of purity, peace and also surrender. Noted foreign correspondent Martin Bell always wore white when he traveled to risky areas because ‘no one would fire as it was obvious he wasn’t the enemy’.
Grey can look quite stunning when used sparingly to decorate a room. However, color psychology states that it is a depressing color that dampens the mood and is associated with a lack of confidence.
Grey is like an absence of color, it reminds us of grey skies and miserable weather where we just want to stay indoors and sit by the fire. If you naturally suffer from depression, then steer clear from grey.
An earthy color, brown is wholesome, trustworthy and approachable. It gives off a kind and caring aura and a welcoming vibe. Brown makes you feel safe and sheltered. It is one of the most approachable colors as it is associated with down-to-earth people who are stable and can be trusted.