Colors evoke emotions, moods, and feelings. Knowing the psychology of color can help you make better decisions whether you are decorating your home, picking an outfit for a job interview or a first date, or designing marketing materials for your business.
Your choice of color can improve comprehension by 73%, learning by 55-68%, and reading by 40%.
It is important to remember that context, culture, and time are important things to consider when thinking about color symbolism.
Red encourages strong emotions like passion and love. It also encourages appetite, so if you want your kids to finish their dinner, consider using red plates. Because it creates a sense of urgency, red often is used in marketing to attract impulse shoppers. Red also gives the impression of seriousness and power; for example, it is used as a symbol for the Republican Party in the US, and for Communist and Socialist Parties around the world.
Yellow represents cheerfulness, warmth, optimism, and youthfulness. It is also known to make babies cry, so you may want to rethink that gender-neutral yellow nursery. It encourages communication, so the family room is probably a better place for it. Yellow stimulates the mind and is the first color the human eye notices, making it useful in marketing to grab the attention of window shoppers. Yellow stimulates the nervous system, so much so that it can cause fatigue and strain on the eyes.
Water is known as a “cold” color, and is associated with peace, calmness, and serenity. It reminds us of stability and constancy because of the blueness of the sky and the ocean. Because it increases productivity, it is the most-used color in corporate offices. Blue is the second most powerful color; it stands for contemplativeness, strength, and trust. For these reasons it is the symbol of conservativism worldwide and of the Democratic Party in the US.
Orange is bright and inspires enthusiasm and conversation. Since it is a “warm” color you may think it draws people in; in fact, it warns of caution. In marketing, it creates a call it to action (to buy, sell, or subscribe, for instance.) Orange is the national color of the Netherlands and its Royal Family.
Firstly, green symbolizes nature, and by extension, health. It represents new growth and tranquility. Secondarily, it symbolizes money. Surrounding yourself in a green environment can alleviate depression, and workers have been shown to have fewer stomach aches when surrounded by green. Green has long been a symbol of fertility, and believe it or not was the top choice for wedding gown color in the 15th century. It is associated with balance and is the symbol of political environmentalists.
Purple stimulates creativity and intuition. It can be used when trying to get people to develop new insights, so a classroom or a therapist’s office might be appropriate places for this color. Purple is a symbol of high achievement like royalty, wealth, success, and wisdom. It is often used in marketing to promote beauty and anti-aging products for these reasons. In politics, purple was used to symbolize royalty, but it is hardly used in modern politics.
Color is a form of non-verbal communication, and its meaning is not static or unchanging. For example, a person may wear red on a particular day, and this could mean:
• They are angry
• They are feeling passionate about something they are doing that day
• They are in love
• They are ready to take action in some way
• It is their favorite color
When reading color psychology, it definitely helps to understand color associations. However, you also have to read a person’s energy on a given day and consider any mitigating circumstances. Pay attention to what is going on around you and put the pieces of the puzzle together. Knowing the unconscious meaning that colors send us helps us to understand ourselves, our communities, and our environment better.
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