Psychology

Color Psychology



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Artists, advertisers, and interior decorators are all aware of the effects colors can have on human emotions. Without this knowledge, their products and services would not sell. Though the psychological influence of color is not commonly known, most of us have a subconscious awareness of this concept which is evidenced in the colors we choose to wear and the shades in which we choose to decorate our surroundings. Developing a basic knowledge of how colors universally effect individuals' moods could be beneficial to anyone.

Though the emotional reactions to colors will vary among individuals, there do exist among certain hues some universal associations.

Blue is the most prominent color on our planet and the color most often named favorite. It is associated with the subconscious because of the depths of our planet's cobalt waters and the incomprehensible vastness of the azure sky. Psychologically, blue tends to calm and soothe. Paler shades are appropriate for rooms in which the occupants might need help relaxing such as a doctor's office or a child's bedroom. Some darker shades of blue, however, might result in feelings of fatigue or sadness.

Purple is red and blue combined, a color both warm and cool. In the Middle Ages, the dyes used to create purple fabrics were quite expensive and thus reserved for royalty. For this reason, purple is associated with wealth and regality. In clothing, purple causes the wearer to feel sophisticated and unique. Paler shades have a tranquilizing effect, much like two of their namesakes: Lavender and Amethyst.

Green is the color of nature and we tend to associate it with growth, renewal, and good health. It becomes most noticeable in our surroundings during the spring, a time of rebirth. Green clothing or dcor will invigorate and create a sense of well-being. Many people also adhere to the belief that green brings luck.

Orange and yellow are similar in their warmth and vibrancy. Both of these colors energize and cheer, though orange is a bit "louder" than yellow. Very pale shades of yellow can be both calming and uplifting. They cheer the mind and relax the body. On the other hand, deeper citrus yellows and oranges, though they will elevate the mood, might create nervous energy.

A fairly well known fact in the field of advertising is that red stimulates the appetite. This is why it is so often seen in restaurants. Red surroundings tend to stimulate not just the appetite, but all of the senses. When wearing red, people feel bold and confident. Muted brick and maroon shades are calmer and work well in home decor.

Black has a bad reputation, often carrying connotations of death and evil. It is also, however, associated with sophistication and power. People are often advised to wear black on job interviews because it promotes an image of authority and class. Many people feel depressed when surrounded by black, but it works well as an accent color in the home.

White can also cause mixed emotions. Though it is a color representative of purity, it is most often encountered in institutional or medical settings and therefore can cause some degree of discomfort. When decorating a home, it is wise to use off-white shades because pure white is too clinical and cold.

Colors will have different effects on different people depending on the individual's associations with specific colors, but as a rule, paler shades tend to be calming while bolds and neons elevate energy levels.

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