Colours play an important (and colourful) role across various fields of study. Colours are significant to us when choosing our clothes and decorating our homes. Colours can manipulate our thoughts and perceptions, thus it’s one of the most important factors in marketing, advertising and web design.
There is no escaping colour. Since different colours can manipulate our thoughts in different ways, they can also influence our moods. With this knowledge, we can use colour to our advantage in the marketing and advertising world. So, why are restaurant designed with warm colours? Why are suits generally made from black material? Why do brides wear white?
Colours and Psychology
Colours and the relationship they have to feelings can be explained by psychology. There are many reasons why colours can make us feel certain emotions.
We react to colours with associations; red with fire, a warning, and blood. Red symbolizes something that can make our heart race. It can evoke powerful emotions as opposed to the calming effect of blue, which we associate with the sky and cool temperatures.
We often respond to colour and its stimulants on a subconscious level. Due to this, colours are used as tools in therapy and stress management in order to elicit positive thoughts.
Colours, Meanings and Emotions
Colours may have different meanings in various cultures, however, we can agree that some colours hold universal meanings that transcend cultural or geographical boundaries. So let’s have a look at some of the most popular colours, the generally accepted meanings and the affect they have on our emotions.
Green is nature. It’s very easy for the eye to look at and it relaxes vision. This is one reason why hospitals use green decor; to relax patients, However, green is also known to symbolize fertility, while darker tones may mean masculine and conservative traits.
Green is restful and causes less strain on the eyes, making it a good colour for your computer’s desktop. This colour is often advised for use in offices and work places since it induces productivity as well as creativity.
Red produces emotions of intensity, fear, anger, love and all other extremes. It pumps blood and is associated with passion. It can also be associated with emergency; that’s why most ambulances and fire trucks are red in colour. Most of the time, it incites excitement. One reason why single women are advised to wear red is that it can attract a guy’s attention and can get adrenaline pumping.
However, red is also said to reduce analytical thinking, which explains why sports cars in red are more costly to insure.
Black is power and elegance. However, other people may associate black with funerals. Black gadgets and black gowns are often said to be chic. The colour lends confidence as well. Black is a usual choice for high powered executives.
A study found out that a Hockey team wearing black jerseys exhibited more aggression, proven by more penalties, compared to when they’re wearing white.
Blue is called a stable colour. It is often the opposing colour of red since exposure to it may create a sense of peacefulness and tranquillity. It is the colour of the sky and ocean. During job interviews, blue-wearing applicants are deemed to be loyal thus increasing their chances – on a subconscious level – of getting hired.
Wearing blue when you’re stressed may help to calm you. It may help lower blood pressure as well. Interestingly, blue in the food industry is often avoided. A blue plate may make you eat less since it makes food seem unappetizing. Blue is also a no-no in restaurants.
Well, hello sunshine! Yellow is associated with cheerfulness, vibrancy and optimism. It’s a very inviting colour. Wear yellow in a room and you will surely stand out. Yellow walls, however, may make people lose their temper.
When overused, yellow may cause a feeling of being overpowered. Yellow is said to be the least liked colour out of the entire spectrum.
White is one of the colours that can calm people down. It looks clean and sleek. White has always been associated with purity and innocence; no wonder it’s popular among brides. White is neutral and basically goes with everything. Doctors and nurses are in white to project professionalism and sterility.
White may also incite boredom due to a lack of interest or stimulation. It can project a feeling of dullness.
Purple used to be a royal colour. It represents wisdom, peace as well as tranquillity. It can also allude to luxury and wealth. Wearing the perfect dress in purple can make you feel sophisticated, feminine and romantic.
However, due to the scarce nature of the colour, it may project the appearance of artificiality.
Brown is earthy and transmits reliability and sensibility. It can make some people sad and wistful, although it seems to be most popular among men. Brown is abundant in nature and is the next choice for sophistication and neutrality after black.
Orange, like red, may mirror intense feelings. It can invigorate stressed and unhappy people. For popular brands, orange symbolizes good value and reasonable prices. Usually, orange is the most logical colour to choose when you don’t want the intensity of red.
Orange produces feelings of endurance, vitality and enthusiasm. You can stand out in this colour without feeling too risky. Seeing orange helps the brain increase its oxygen and stimulate brain activity, helping to energize people.
Pink is deemed a romantic colour. It is calming and has a tranquilizing effect. Have you ever wondered why some sports teams colour their opponent’s locker rooms pink? Because it drains energy! It can calm people down which makes it a very good colour for mediation rooms.
Grey means passivity and lack of energy. It can also mean uninvolvement. Grey is popular in suits as an alternative to black.
Where to Use Colour to Your Advantage
You can use colours of your choice in various aspect of your life. You can use it to improve your mood, productivity and to project certain feelings to those surrounding you. As a business or website owner, this can also help you understand how to use colours to engage users and develop a sense of trust.
So, where are the best places to use colour?
#1 Clothing choice
Dress the way you want to feel. Often, you may discover that your wardrobe contains neutral colours. A splash of yellow, red or green may help perk you up. Wear red on a first date when you want to give a strong first impression or blue when you want to appear solid and loyal. Wear a black gown to evening parties to radiate elegance. Combine grey and white business attire with additional colours to break passivity in order to appear business-like yet fun and approachable.
When stressed out or tired, wearing white, muted grey or blue may make you feel mellow. If you want to perk up a little, take out your red clothes, paint your nails red or pick some yellow flowers. If you want to relax, fill your vision with pink!
#3 Office design
Your office design and colour choice can affect your ROI. How? There are colours that can increase productivity among your employees. Blue and green walls can help people be more productive. A yellow vase can perk up these solid colours and inspire creativity.
#4 Work desk
Your work desk is your own space. You should be encouraged to be productive in this space. Change your screensaver or desktop background to green to minimize glare and eye strain. Put a touch of colour in your desk with post-it notes. Avoid colours which make you feel sleepy and passive.
You can choose the colour of your rooms to suit each occupant’s taste. However, if you want to achieve a particular mood throughout your house, you can plan it out well. Your motif for your kitchen could be red and orange hues while your bedroom could be blue, green or light pink.
As you see, there is psychology in colours. Websites today use this to their advantage. Facebook and Twitter use blue since it helps foster loyalty among users. Blue is also very calming, so it discourages any rage. Most websites today use blue, green or black with white space used widely.
Businesses usually use colours to their advantage. Businesses in the food industry often keep to red and orange hues in restaurants to encourage appetite. Supermarkets use blue, yellow and orange. Gadget companies often use white and black.