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The Psychology of Color

Keywords: color psychology, color and emotion, effects of color

Consider it or not, bearing certain colors can help us elevate, make head way argument or encourage friends to share the latest gossip. Colors in our surroundings have the ability to keep us cool, motivate or de-motivate the conversation. The hues on packaging give some unperceivable messages that the enclosed product is salubrious, pricy or unsafe.

Why? Because of the psychology of color, which refers to the strong emo­tional reactions that we all have towards colors? Research studies show that our reaction is partly physiological based on the effects of the colors that have on our eyes and nervous system. It is also influ­enced by our environment and life experiences. Beginning with the technology at its sim­plest, the retina focuses on colors as rays of light which have varying lengths and degrees of refraction, reflection, absorption depending on the hue. The eye’s sensing of each color induces fast reactions in the brain and autonomic nervous system.

For example:

Warm colors like reds, orange, yellows have the longest wavelengths, requiring energy to view them, that’s why those colors seem to pop out at us. They stimu­late the brain, raise pulse and respira­tion rates.

In contrast, cool colors like blues and green have the shortest wavelengths and can easily enter the eye. This produces a calming and relieves us while slowing the metabolism.

In addition to the involuntary reac­tions we have learned reception that is equally important to color. We’re taught that pink is for baby girls and blue is for boys, white bridal gowns represents purity and naturalness, red for traffic signals which means to stop or danger ahead.

The color of our clothes also speaks volumes. Would you be more related with a customer-service rep­resentative who is dressed in white or black? Would you feel safer with a doctor wearing a navy tie or a bright orange one? Who would you choose as a finan­cial advisor, a woman in a blue suit or one in hot pink? The colors we wear can be tranquilizing, enervate or energizing. While there are no “good” or “bad” colors, we can make exact selection to help us convey more effectively. This is true not only in fashion but also in home decoration, advertisement, graphics, product designs, and retail environments.

For example:

If guests yawning at our dinner parties? It may not be the company if your dining room walls are painted lavender, a color that encourages daydreaming and drowsiness.

Looking for more than a cost-of-liv­ing raise at work? As the most unforgettable and eye-catching of all colors, red will get you noticed and your boss will be much more likely to recall your ideas.

Since color unconsciously determines people every day, there’s a great van­tage to understanding how and why these reactions occur. What follows is a detailed explanation of the physical responses we have towards each color, along with the most common psychological associations. Also sugges­tions are included on how best is it to use this information in a variety of artistic, business, and lifestyle applications.


When a toreador waves a red cape in the ring, he is playing to the crowd as much as the bull. Bulls are actually color­blind and respond only to the movement of the cape; the audience, however, fully apprize the energy of vibrant red. The color says danger, fervor, warmth, intensity, hostility, and success. That’s not only an emotional reaction, but a physiological one as well.

Red is a real shock to the system, takes grab of our attention and requires an effort to view. Looking at red will increase our blood pressure and make our pulse run. Did you ever thought why so many fast food restaurants are painted red? This is because red color sparks our salivary glands, making us hungry and also tiring our eyes, which boost us to eat, allot and leave faster.

Gambling casinos found that people place larger and risky bets under red lights, so they’re often used in high-stakes areas. At the same time, the color provokes people to make speedy decisions, which is why it’s a popular choice for “Buy Now” buttons on retail websites.


Red also transmits energy and courage, giving one a feel of power to get the things done. That’s why you would have seen politicians often wearing red ties. As a bonus, red is the most unforgettable of all colors as you can see gifts given in red gift wrapping, red hearts, red cards etc are memorized easily. Red kindles intense, strong emotion, passion among people. As already I have discussed above about bonus to red color, it’s the favorite color for valentines and appropriately named “red light” zone. Women in red are often seen as flirty, forthcoming, and playful.

In China, red represents good luck and is worn by brides and used in “red egg” ceremonies to bless newborn babies. Feng Shui practitioners suggest using the power of red to kick out bad ch’i, or energy, from the house. But in deco­rating, red comes with a lovingness. Red is used only in rooms where we want to boost activity and lively conversa­tions, such as a living or dining room.

It is also a great choice for “pass­ing through” spaces where we don’t spend a lot of time, such as hallways, lob­bies, or guest bathrooms. In a child’s room, the color causes insomnia.

Due to high visibility it makes ideal for catching audience eye in advertisements and safe­ty products like Campbell soup cans to fire extinguishers and exit signs. The dynamism of red also makes it the most commonly used color in national flags.


The red color gives the feeling of speed, power, joy, danger, and rage. True red is the most vivacious color. It is the driving color in the spectrum, express­ing excitement.

It attracts attention immediately and its separate the object and image from background.

Red color makes people to feel warm. E.g. Coffee will seem hotter in a red cup than in a blue one.

It is the first color we lose sight of, at dusk and is not well seen at a great distance.

Barn, claret, and crimson reds are considered royal, single, strong and always great charm for men.


There is a good reason for smiley face is yellow. The color of the sun, yellow gives a sense of lives. Psychologically it is the happiest color in the spectrum, guiding feelings of hope, joy, and spontaneity. Think of the term “sunny disposal.”

When associated with the sun, yellow gives us an educated atmosphere that stands for wisdom, mind and vision. This feeling is supported by science, as yellow quickly reads with the brain, stimulat­ing the nervous system. It is said to be the favorite color of Chinese philosopher Confucius.

It is a color we can’t neglect. It visually pops out. You certainly can’t miss yellow taxis or autos in traffic.

Its high visibility promotes quick, clear thinking. According to leg­endary color theorist Faber Birren, who focused on the functional use of hues in everyday life, Birren was responsible for the creation of the Yellow Pages in the 1950s to relieve the on-the-job monotony for telephone operators.

Research from Pantone later con­firmed Birren’s theory, proving that a yel­low background with black type is the most readable combination for printed material and the most contributive to memory retention. No wonder it’s used on legal pads and traffic caution signs.

It also adds liveness to other col­ors, making hot hues seem even more brilliant and bringing cool colors to life. It’s therefore a consistent favorite in the home, filling any room with warmth, good cheer, and light. Most popular in kitchens and dining rooms, yellow also provides an appetizing backdrop for food.

However, a little goes a long way. In small quantities it encourages lively conversa­tion and cheerful times, but lengthy exposure to bright lemon can arouse too much mental stimulation and create anxiousness. It has been reported that couples have more quarrels in yellow kitchens and the color can make babies cry. Pale but­tercup is a safer choice in the home. Yellow sends out other mixed mes­sages as well. References to a coward being “yellow” started in tenth-century.

Color Psych

Yellow is the happiest color in the spectrum according to psychology, related with warmth, optimism, and joy.

Yellow visually appears at you, it the very evident color. It is good for signs and product packages.

Yellow suggest clear thinking. Black type on a yellow ground is the most clear color combination and helps in memory storage.

Yellow combines with other color cause vitality.

Overexposure to bright yellow can be unsettling. Paler hues are better for socializing, whereas gold tones signify wealth.


As human being, sometime we feel decrease ambition, idea these instant marked by low energy level. The orange color boosts oxygen aspiration to the brain. And since orange also increase appetite and helps indigestion.

Red and Yellow combination makes orange, taking over from both colors. It has the energy and vitality of red and the happy, friendly qualities of yellow. It makes orange bold, energizing and expressing naturalness and fun.

Bright orange is a greater attention and used effectively by construction workers and crossing guards as a warning. It represents good value as well and making good use for sale signs in store windows.

Moreover it is quiet tones like colors of pumpkins and growing leaves. Orange is a reminder of autumn and harvest with their warm pleasing groups. Eyes catches burnt orange very easily and have a sophisticated appeal that can be both elegant and exotic. Orange also says fresh, healthy, and juicy, making it a favorite for table settings and kitchen accessories. It is used in sparingly in home decoration. Many expensive restaurants paint their walls and because the color is welcoming and appetizing.

Color Psych

Orange is a stimulating, energizing color that appears friendly, outgoing, cheerful, and adventurous.

Bright orange has very high visibility, making it ideal for warning signals or grabbing attention, even when used in small amounts.

Easier on the eye, autumnal and spicy oranges are warm, exotic, and appetiz­ing, while peach tones are most flat­tering to the skin.

People who wear orange are thought to be creative, enthusiastic, and fun to be with, but possibly also a bit irresponsible.

Because of its playful, active qualities, orange is a favorite of children, teens, and athletes.


Green not only represents life and growth. It is the most relaxing, comforting color in the spectrum.

The reason is physiological. Unlike other hues, green focuses directly on the retina without being refracted, making it especially easy on the eyes. It is also thought to have great healing powers and the ability to relieve and refresh.

According to color consultant,. L. Morton’s Color Matters website, people who work in green environments have fewer stomachaches.

The lighter green is more calming. That is one of the reasons hospital walls are often painted sea foam, to literally affects worried patients and visitors. Then there’s the use of green rooms backstage at theaters and television shows to reduce tension to performances.

The calming quality of green has made the official color of safety worldwide as in safe to go traffic signals.

Officials in London found another safety use for the color Painting the alarming Black friars Bridge a more calming green greatly reduced the rate of suicide jumpers.

Greens send a variety of messages, depending on the shade. Kelly greens bring to mind spring and the outdoors, conveying happy, youthful feelings. But that can also suggest immaturity and inexperience, such as a newcomer being too green to succeed.

Forest green is the color of mature trees representing stability and growth. Amazingly, green color is used in law offices and financial institutions. Green is the color of money too.

Olive has the most power associated with it because it reminds people of the military, while grass green’s connection to new life and growth has come to sym­bolize fertility. That made it the favorite color for wedding gowns during the Renaissance.

Color Psych

Light green is physically is the most relax­ing and calming color in the spectrum. As the easiest color on the eye and it is also improve vision.

Vibrant greens remind people of the spring, life, nature , and youthful energy.

Darker greens are making a logical think of stability and growth, showing high economic status and success.

Green is the worldwide symbol for safety. Green also means go.

Those people wears green are thought, dependable, and generous.

Green has some negative associations also, when someone is sick, they suggested to look around the green things. Similarly, Paris green is consistently rated as the most unwholesome of all colors.

In decorating many shades of green show harmonious through of house. Bright greens bring the feeling of nature inside and can create a smooth visual flow between the indoors and outside architectural ornament. This hue has a refreshing, nurtur­ing quality, making them particularly appealing in kitchens and dining rooms.

Because light green makes pleasant feelings of peace, it is ideal for home sanctuaries, like bathrooms or peace­ful bedrooms.

Greens give a sense of purity and freshness in packaging that is why it is popular on cosmetic containers. Products in green wrappers are also thought to be healthful, natural, and environmentally friendly.


Most of the people like blue and their favorite color also. Blue is the best liked of all colors. If someone likes blue color that means he is in good company. Light to medium range blues are especially pleasing and restful. Staring at blue actually reduces your pulse and respiration rate and temporarily low­ers your blood pressure.

Blue are positive in sense practically all our associations. When we see cool or ocean blues, many of us think of the sky and calming waters and a vacation on an exotic island.

In many cultures blue is believed the most protective of all colors.

In the Middle East, for example blue doors are thought to guard against evil spirits and people in the American Southwest often paint their porch ceilings blue to ward off ghosts.

Before the coming of refrigeration, cobalt blue was used in kitchens and pantries because insects, unlike humans, are pushed back by this color. Blue kitchens continue to be popular to this day.

Navy blue in particular represents loyalty and trustworthiness. Blue is always ideal for expressing sincerity and reliability.

Men particularly like blue. Navy blue also commands respect, like police and military uniforms while blue created to enforce moral standards.

Brighter blues are perfect wearing for parties and social gatherings because blue is always friendly and likable.

Darker blues means good breeding, high social status, stability, and dignity.

Color Psych

Particularly it is always favorite of men. Blue is the best liked of all colors

Practically all our relationships with blue are positive and always rising and peaceful color.

Navy blue commands respect, representing loyalty, trustworthiness, fidelity, and integrity.

Deep blue is associated with luxury in many cultures.

Blue has been a symbol of fidelity, hope, and faith since ancient times. That’s where the tradition of the bride wearing something blue originated. Blue is associated with a sweet taste, which is why it is consistently used on sugar pack­aging and related products.

Luxury cars often come in an elegant midnight or silver blue that symbolizes power and success, while sportier cars, such as the Volkswagen Beetle, come in a brighter shade to suggest fun.


Purple could be called the psychology­ of elegance color. Historically, The person who is most outstanding or excellent and someone who tops all others that kind of people only used purple because it is so difficult and expensive to produce .

According to Simon Garfield’s fasci­nating book Mauve, thousands of mollusks needed to be crushed, salted for three days, and then boiled for ten” just to make enough dye for a single dress

It is most difficult to describe this color in ancient Rome it is reserve for Caesar.

So it is no wonder that purple is associ­ated with wealth, royalty, and highlife. But there is a spiritual side also since purple later became the color of associated with church cloth and it became a decoration of prayer shawls in Judaism.

Interestingly, the once-exclusive purple is now more popular with women than men. As a matter of fact many women means purple color as their favorite color.

Perhaps purple’s color composition of excitement of red with the order of blue. It’s therefore considered the color of compromise, or striking a happy medium. People who wear purple are thought to be nurturing, passionate, and eager to please qualities more often judge to women than men.

Purple conveys very different emotions depending on its shade. The darkest plum has funereal overtones and can be depress­ing and solemn. In many countries it replaces black as the official color of mourning. Royal purple, with its noble heritage, also suggests affluence and status

Because of the quantity of red in their composition, bright color carry the most energy. Those are happier and exciting colors, violets and laven­ders have a romantic, nostalgic quality.

The quality of mixed messages of purple, the purple color rarely used in food packaging at the supermarket and in big-ticket purchases such as cars or appliances. In packages and advertising the color is most often used to denote products or services aimed at women

For decorating the purples can be very dramatic and sensual.


Royal purple exudes class, power, passion, sensuality, and luxury.

Deep plum is spiritual and mysterious, with a serious, dignified quality.

Lavenders and violets have a sweet, romantic, and nostalgic appeal.

People tend to get less work done in purple rooms because the color encourages daydreaming.

Women often cite purple as their favorite color.


Pink not only promotes friendliness, but actually discourages aggres­sion and ill will.

Peachy pinks always used on the packaging of cosmetics because the color is very feminine and also praising to one’s complexion. Mass-market lines such as Maybelline, however, prefer eye- catching hot pinks to grab attention in crowded pharmacy displays.

In chromatherapy, a pink room is recommended for people who have trou­ble calming down and letting things go. No matter how bad your day is, it is hard to hold onto aggression in the presence of pink.

Color Psych

Pink is the most passive of all colors, promoting friendliness while discourag­ing aggression against oneself as well as others.

Considered the most feminine color, pink is associated with nurturing and compassion.

Pink calms and relieves, and is thought to aid in digestion.

Shocking pink has a much higher concentration of red, making it appear energetic, fun, and trendy.

Men prefer peachy pinks to express love.


Brown color as the color of earth and protective trees, it pro­vides comfort while reminding us of hearth and home.

The brown color family becomes especially popular during anxious times of social or economic commotion. Warm neutrals are perceived as having lasting value and can make people feel like everything is going to be all right.

Those people who wear brown is very dependable, sincere, and hardworking. That belief goes back to historic times when bright colors were reserved for roy­alty and the wealthy, assigning browns to the peasants. Feel and a sense of humility always denoted by brown,

Brown is always wardrobe choice. It will make you look acceptive, reliable, and trustworthy.

However, brown can lack authority in a middle-class work environment.

In interior design, brown is consid­ered the great leveler, grounding all the other colors. In a lush garden, earthy brown is the perfect backdrop for nature entire palette, whether warm or cool. Although it is the color of wood, brown is part of practically every room setting.

Muted neutrals are often favorites in living rooms, studies, and family rooms because they appear simplicity and peace while creating intimacy. A rich mix of textures keeps the naturals from being boring and can offer a relieving sensuality.

Pale neutrals make a room feel large and less cluttered, while darker browns create a sense of coziness and security. Chocolate brown walls can be particular rich and sophisticated.

Men are particularly fond of brown. The color is shown as rough and outdoorsy, making it present in sporting goods, casual clothes, and all-terrain vehicles. The masculine combination of blues and browns is also consistently popular with men in both clothing and home design.

Paper-bag brown is used to suggest the freshness of food, a reminder of the wrapping used in outdoor produce mar­kets.

Color Psych

Brown is a warm, comforting color associated with the earth, trees, hearth, and home.

People tend to buy big-ticket products in neutral colors, especially in an uncertain economy. Browns both put consumers at ease and are considered timeless.

Brown has a common feel in clothing, making one look approachable, reli­able, and sincere.

Brown has a masculine, rugged quality that particularly appeals to men.

Paper-bag brown is used in packaging to denote a natural product.


Other definition of Gray is neutral. It is the color that people rarely love or hate. Gray is noncommittal, formal, and dignified. Gray is suggest maturity and wisdom. A person with gray hair means lifetime and increasing knowledge and experience.

Gray lacks warmth, remote and serious which it can make appear. For example stone churches, grave­yards, and skyscrapers.

In packaging grays have a rich, pres­tigious appeal? Luxury automobiles are most popular in silver tones, as are plat­inum charge cards with their heavy fees. As usual high-end boutiques always wrap goods in gray boxes means that there is a precious gift inside.

Metallic gray associated with scien­tific and technological advances is used effectively when introducing state of the art products. That is why gray color is mostly used in automobile.

In interior design, dark gray is dignified and formal, while a lighter gray is more restful, nei­ther shade will encourage lively conversa­tion. Grays are better suited to rooms where the residents are looking for peace of mind.

Color Psych

Gray represents noninvolvement, showing formal, dignified, and conservative authority.

Unlike neutral brown, gray lacks warmth, which can make it appear remote, solemn, and a bit gloomy when used alone.

Gray is associated with wisdom and maturity, adding to its moneyed appeal.

Metallic grays offer the promise of scientific and technological advances, as well as a sense of speed and competence.

Grays are cool and restful in home decor, but also discourage lively con­versation and offer an unattractive backdrop for food.


White represents purity, innocence, virtue, and fidelity. That is why it is the most popular color for wedding dresses.

In clothing, white is often compared with significant wealth its wearer has a high social status. It is consider that white is absence of color, more shades of white are available commercially than of any other color. White also stands for truth and good­ness. Safety and medical products are often white to suggest antiseptic cleanliness. Think of cotton bandages, cotton balls, and doctors’ lab coats. White’s associate with heaven and angels. And it is

Symbolizes death in India, China and Japan

Color Psych

White symbolizes purity, innocence, goodness, and truth.

Although white is neutral, it is considered a cool color because of its association with snow and ice.

White is often used to suggest sim­plicity, sterility, and safety.

Waving a white flag is the international symbol of a call for a truce.

White is popular on the packaging of dairy products, low-fat items, and refined ingredients such as sugar and flour.


Without any question the black is most classic and overpowering color. It is related with death and darkness; it gives wary feeling of the unknown. It is also mysterious. And good luck if a black cat crosses your path.

Black’s perceived foreboding gives it an air of danger as well, and it is used to great effect for the clothing of bodyguards, bouncers, and FBI personnel to intimidate potential troublemakers. Black is also the most popular color for limousines, Lincoln Town Cars, and the official vehicles that transport dignitaries, because the color implies that the person inside is important and worthy of respect.

Research studies of American football statistics found that teams wearing black uniforms had more disputed plays called against them, apparently because referees subconsciously considered them the aggres­sors. And why do you think referees’ uni­forms are dominated by authoritative black?

In the fashion world, black is truly present. The all purpose “little black dress,” first designed by Coco Chanel, comes up again and again as the height of sophis­tication. (It’s also slimming and does not show dirt, two major fashion pluses.)

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