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The Psychology of Color

September 25, 2017

Why do I paint what I paint using the colors I use? I guess it all depends on my mood, or rather the mood that I want to be in while staring at my finished work. It's been known for years that color affects your mood, and surprisingly, even your overall health! Also, every color has its own meaning. The article below will go into more details to explain what meaning and effect each color has on us.

 

 

 

The Psychology of Color

Exploring cultural associations between colors and emotions.

 

Color and Mood

Does color affect your mood? Psychologists have said "Absolutely!" to that question for a very long time. The psychological effects of color have such an underpinning in research that the findings of chromology, the psychology of color, are used in designing everything from hotel rooms to cereal packages. In one case that made headlines recently, the psychology of color provoked a storm of controversy.

 

At the University of Iowa, the visiting team's locker rooms are painted a soft, feminine pink. The lockers themselves are a dusty rose, the showers have pink shower curtains, and even the urinals are of pink porcelain. The color scheme is a long-standing and well-known tradition that sparked fires of controversy recently when a female professor took exception to the implied insult to women. According to history, though, the choice of "innocence pink" had nothing to do with femininity.

The color was chosen by former Iowa football coach, Hayden Fry, who had read that pink has a calming effect on people. And according to Fry, it works - if not necessarily as intended. In his autobiography, A High Porch Picnic [1] , he writes, "When I talk to an opposing coach before a game and he mentions the pink walls, I know I've got him. I can't recall a coach who has stirred up a fuss about the color and then beat us."

 

Pink isn't the only color that has clear psychological associations. Over the years, researchers have worked to identify exactly what emotions and physical effects are triggered by various colors. Despite the amount of research done in the field and the widespread acceptance of many of its basic theories, chromology is often viewed as an immature discipline, and chromatherapy is seen as alternative medicine. Critics point out that color perception is affected by cultural conditioning, and that color is not perceived alone but in combination with other effects in the environment.

 

Despite all this, there are some generally recognized associations between color and emotion. The chart below gives those associations and ways in which that color is used.

 

Red

Red is the color of energy, passion and action.

The color red is a warm and positive color associated with our most physical needs and our will to survive. It exudes a strong and powerful masculine energy.Red is energizing. It excites the emotions and motivates us to take action.It signifies a pioneering spirit and leadership qualities, promoting ambition and determination.It is also strong-willed and can give confidence to those who are shy or lacking in will power.Being the color of physical movement, the color red awakens our physical life force.It is the color of sexuality and can stimulate deeper and more intimate passions in us, such as love and sex on the positive side or revenge and anger on the negative.

Red increases the pulse and heart rate, and raises your blood pressure. It increases the appetite by increasing your metabolism, which is why red is such a popular color in restaurants. It is active, aggressive and outspoken. One bank found that their lines moved faster when they increased the use of red in the bank lobby, and in a study of several hundred college students, a researcher found that they responded more quickly to cues under red light than under green light.

 

Orange

The color of adventure and social communication

The color orange radiates warmth and happiness, combining the physical energy and stimulation of red with the cheerfulness of yellow.

Orange relates to 'gut reaction' or our gut instincts, as opposed to the physical reaction of red or the mental reaction of yellow.

Orange offers emotional strength in difficult times. It helps us to bounce back from disappointments and despair, assisting in recovery from grief.

The color psychology of orange is optimistic and uplifting, rejuvenating our spirit. In fact orange is so optimistic and uplifting that we should all find ways to use it in our everyday life, even if it is just an orange colored pen that we use.

Orange brings spontaneity and a positive outlook on life and is a great color to use during tough economic times, keeping us motivated and helping us to look on the bright side of life.

 

Yellow

Yellow is the color of the mind and the intellect

The color yellow relates to acquired knowledge. It is the color which resonates with the left or logic side of the brain stimulating our mental faculties and creating mental agility and perception.

Being the lightest hue of the spectrum, the color psychology of yellow is uplifting and illuminating, offering hope, happiness, cheerfulness and fun.

In the meaning of colors, yellow inspires original thought and inquisitiveness.

Yellow is creative from a mental aspect, the color of new ideas, helping us to find new ways of doing things. It is the practical thinker, not the dreamer.

 

Green

Green is the color of balance, harmony and growth

The color green relates to balance and harmony. From a color psychology perspective, it is the great balancer of the heart and the emotions, creating equilibrium between the head and the heart.

From a meaning of colors perspective, green is also the color of growth, the color of spring, of renewal and rebirth. It renews and restores depleted energy. It is the sanctuary away from the stresses of modern living, restoring us back to a sense of well being. This is why there is so much of this relaxing color on the earth, and why we need to keep it that way.

Green is an emotionally positive color, giving us the ability to love and nurture ourselves and others unconditionally. A natural peacemaker, it must avoid the tendency to become a martyr.

 

Blue

The color blue is the color of trust and responsibility

This color is one of trust, responsibility, honesty and loyalty. It is sincere, reserved and quiet, and doesn't like to make a fuss or draw attention. It hates confrontation, and likes to do things in its own way.

From a color psychology perspective, blue is reliable and responsible.

This color exhibits an inner security and confidence.

You can rely on it to take control and do the right thing in difficult times.

It has a need for order and direction in its life, including its living and work spaces.

This is a color that seeks peace and tranquility above everything else, promoting both physical and mental relaxation.

 

Indigo

The color of intuition, perception and the higher mind

The color indigo is the color of intuition and perception and is helpful in opening the third eye. It promotes deep concentration during times of introspection and meditation, helping you achieve deeper levels of consciousness. It is a color which relates to the "New Age" - the ability to use the Higher Mind to see beyond the normal senses with great powers of perception. It relies on intuition rather than gut feeling.

Indigo is a deep midnight blue. It is a combination of deep blue and violet and holds the attributes of both these colors.

Service to humanity is one of the strengths of the color indigo. Powerful and dignified, indigo conveys integrity and deep sincerity.

 

Purple and Violet

Purple is the color of the imagination and spirituality

The color purple relates to the imagination and spirituality. It stimulates the imagination and inspires high ideals. It is an introspective color, allowing us to get in touch with our deeper thoughts.

The difference between violet and purple is that violet appears in the visible light spectrum, or rainbow, whereas purple is simply a mix of red and blue. Violet has the highest vibration in the visible spectrum.

While the violet is not quite as intense as purple, its essence is similar. Generally the names are interchangeable and the meaning of the colors is similar. Both contain the energy and strength of red with the spirituality and integrity of blue. This is the union of body and soul creating a balance between our physical and our spiritual energies.

 

Turquoise

Turquoise means open communication and clarity of thought.

The color turquoise helps to open the lines of communication between the heart and the spoken word. It presents as a friendly and happy color enjoying life.

In color psychology, turquoise controls and heals the emotions creating emotional balance and stability. In the process it can appear to be on an emotional roller coaster, up and down, until it balances itself.

A combination of blue and a small amount of yellow, it fits in on the color scale between green and blue. It radiates the peace, calm and tranquility of blue and the balance and growth of green with the uplifting energy of yellow.

 

Pink

The meaning of the color pink is unconditional love and nurturing

The color pink represents compassion, nurturing and love. It relates to unconditional love and understanding, and the giving and receiving of nurturing.

A combination of red and white, pink contains the need for action of red, helping it to achieve the potential for success and insight offered by white. It is the passion and power of red softened with the purity, openness and completeness of white. The deeper the pink, the more passion and energy it exhibits.

Pink is feminine and romantic, affectionate and intimate, thoughtful and caring. It tones down the physical passion of red replacing it with a gentle loving energy.

 

Magenta

The Color of Universal Harmony & Emotional Balance

The color magenta is one of universal harmony and emotional balance. It is spiritual yet practical, encouraging common sense and a balanced outlook on life.

This is a color that helps to create harmony and balance in every aspect of life; physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

A combination of red and violet, magenta contains the passion, power and energy of red, restrained by the introspection and quiet energy of violet.

Magenta influences our whole personal and spiritual development. It strengthens our intuition and psychic ability while assisting us to rise above the everyday dramas of our daily life to experience a greater level of awareness and knowledge.

 

Brown

The color of security, protection and material wealth

The color brown is a serious, down-to-earth color signifying stability, structure and support.

Relating to the protection and support of the family unit, with a keen sense of duty and responsibility, brown takes its obligations seriously. It encourages a strong need for security and a sense of belonging, with family and friends being of utmost importance.

In the meaning of colors, brown is the color of material security and the accumulation of material possessions.

 

Gray

The color of detachment, indecision and compromise

The color gray is an unemotional color. It is detached, neutral, impartial and indecisive - the fence-sitter.

From a color psychology perspective, gray is the color of compromise - being neither black nor white, it is the transition between two non-colors. The closer gray gets to black, the more dramatic and mysterious it becomes. The closer it gets to silver or white, the more illuminating and lively it becomes.

Being both motionless and emotionless, gray is solid and stable, creating a sense of calm and composure, relief from a chaotic world.

The color gray is subdued, quiet and reserved. It does not stimulate, energize, rejuvenate or excite.

 

Silver

The color of illumination and reflection

The color silver has a feminine energy; it is related to the moon and the ebb and flow of the tides - it is fluid, emotional, sensitive and mysterious. It is soothing, calming and purifying.

From a color psychology viewpoint, it signals a time of reflection and a change of direction as it illuminates the way forward. It helps with the cleansing and releasing of mental, physical and emotional issues and blockages as it opens new doors and lights the way to the future.

With its reflective and sensitive qualities silver inspires intuition, clairvoyance and mental telepathy. It reflects back any energy given out, whether it is positive or negative.

 

Gold

The color of wealth, success and status

The color gold is the color of success, achievement and triumph. Associated with abundance and prosperity, luxury and quality, prestige and sophistication, value and elegance, the psychology of this color implies affluence, material wealth and extravagance.

Gold in its physical state, by its very nature, denotes wealth and prestige in every country, culture and market in the world today - it is probably the most valuable and easily traded commodity available in the global market place.

This color is linked to masculine energy and the power of the sun, compared to silver which is associated with feminine energy and the sensitivity of the moon.

 

White

White is purity, innocence, wholeness and completion

The color white is color at its most complete and pure, the color of perfection. The psychological meaning of white is purity, innocence, wholeness and completion.

In color psychology white is the color of new beginnings, of wiping the slate clean, so to speak. It is the blank canvas waiting to be written upon. While white isn't stimulating to the senses, it opens the way for the creation of anything the mind can conceive.

White contains an equal balance of all the colors of the spectrum, representing both the positive and negative aspects of all colors. Its basic feature is equality, implying fairness and impartiality, neutrality and independence. It is interesting to note that babies come into the world with a perfect balance of white, ready to imprint their lives with all the colors of the spectrum (hopefully!) from all their life experiences.

 

Black

Black is mysterious and protective

The color black relates to the hidden, the secretive and the unknown, and as a result it creates an air of mystery. It keeps things bottled up inside, hidden from the world.

In color psychology this color gives protection from external emotional stress.

It creates a barrier between itself and the outside world, providing comfort while protecting its emotions and feelings, and hiding its vulnerabilities, insecurities and lack of self confidence.

Black is the absorption of all color and the absence of light.

Black hides, while white brings to light.

What black covers, white uncovers.

We all use black at various times to hide from the world around us in one way or another. Some of us use it to hide our weight; others among us use it to hide our feelings, our fears or our insecurities.

 

 

For more information on each color, visit http://www.empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com/meaning-of-colors.html

 

Additional source: https://www.psychologistworld.com/perception/color

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