Wednesday, February 22

Color Psychology - How Colors Affect Our Moods and Emotions?

Color psychology
is the study of color as a factor in human behavior. Color psychology is a new branch of psychology and there have not been many studies done on this subject to ensure its validity. But there have been few short studies to determine that colors do in fact play an important role in the human mind and the way that things are perceived and processed.

Several years ago, a company in London painted their massive gray machinery a light orange color. That resulted in the improvement of overall morale in the once-disgruntled employees. Even accidents decreased and employees were documented as singing cheerfully while they worked. And in another company, employees complained that the black metal boxes they had to pack pipes into were too heavy.
The black boxes were painted green. With the weight of the boxes remaining the same, only the color was changed, the employees were instantly elated with the new "lightweight" boxes.

The fact that colors affect our moods, emotions and behavior, has been known to humankind from ancient times. Although, the way a certain color affect someones mentality is very individual and one color can have different effects on different people, color practitioners who use colors to heal and restore find that there are some rules about how specific colors affect our minds. This practice, doubted by some of it's critics, has been sometimes labelled pseudoscientific. But in the same time, there are a lot of people who try to benefit from how certain colors affect our moods, feelings and behaviors. For an example, color psychology is used by businesses to influence our moods, length of stay and impulse to buy. Various colors have been psychologically proven to affect the mind of a customer in a certain way. For instance, a blue company logo makes the company appear more trustworthy.

Color psychology is also being used for more noble purposes than selling products. For an example, in operating rooms, sheets and gowns are pale blue. Pale blue has a calming effect on people. Many rehabilitative hospitals use different shades of red, orange and yellow to energize depressed patients.
And there is chromotherapy, also known as color therapy/colour therapy - a method of treatment that uses the visible spectrum (colors) of electromagnetic radiation to cure diseases.

Choosing the right color for painting a bridge can save lives.
Blackfriars Bridge in England had an unsettling reputation for suicides. After the original black iron work of the bridge was repainted green, suicides declined by one-third.

How colors affect our emotions?
Colors affect our hormonal balance. Hormonal balance or imbalance directly affects our feelings and emotions.

Psychological properties of colors

Red is a powerful color that is associated with ambition and vitality. It evokes aggressiveness, passion and strength. Red can help one to overcome negative thoughts, but it's also associated with anger and if there is too much red around us, we may feel irritated, impatient and uncomfortable.
 Also, in sports, researchers have found that referees favor those who wear red.
 42 taekwondo referees were asked to score a series of video matches of two fighters, one in red and one in blue. The two sets of clips were identical except the colors of the competitors was switched in one of them. The study showed a 13 percent favor towards the fighter wearing red.

Pink is emotionally soothing and calming. Pink evokes femininity, softness, health and innocence. It gives a feeling of gentle warmth and nurturing. It is believed to alleviate feelings of irritation, aggression, loneliness, oversensitivity and vulnerability.
Although, pink being a more decided and stronger color, was used to believed to be more suitable for boys and blue for girls, gender color preference studies have proven otherwise. Anya Hurlbert and Yazhu Ling, neuroscientists at Newcastle University conducted a color-selection experiment with 208 volunteers that showed that women tend to prefer redder shades of blue - reddish-purple hues - while men prefer blue-green.

is a joyful color. It evokes fun, cheeriness and warm exuberance. It helps to release emotions and relieves feelings of self-pity and lack of self-worth. It stimulates the mind to find interest in life and simply lifts the spirits. It is also believed to increase craving for food.

Yellow is also a cheerful and uplifting color. It symbloizes wisdom and means joy and happiness. Pure, bright and sunny yellow is the easiest color to see. People who are blind to other colors can usually still see yellow. Yellow is full of creative and intellectual energy, therefore it helps to memorize and recall, think clearly, make decisions and come up with new ideas - that is why you should always use yellow notepads. It also encourages optimistic attitude and helps to build self-confidence.

is a restful color. Its the color of nature, fertility, life and balance. It symbolizes self-respect and well being. Its a safe color. If you have trouble deciding which color to use, use green. It also means learning, harmony and growth. It helps to feel comfortable, relaxed and calm.

is the calming color. It represents the night and makes us feel calm and relaxed. Lighter and softer blues, make us feel quiet and protected. Blue inspires creativity, clarity and mental control. Dark blue has a strong sedative effect on the mind, it allows us to connect to our intuitive and feminine side. However, too much dark blue can be depressing. Light and dark blue combined, help to convey trust and trustfulness. Blue is also believed to help memorizing information - use blue paper for writing down speeches or other information you need to know by heart.

indigo and violet help to balance the mind and transfrom obsessions and irrational fears. They have a deep affect on the psyche and have been therefore used in psychiatric care to help calm and pacify patients with many different mental and nervous disorders.

White brings peace and comfort, alleviates emotional shock and despair. In many cultures white represents openness and truth. White evokes purity and truthfulness.

is a color that is both comforting and protective. It is associated with silence, the infinite, mystery and the feminine life force. Black can prevent us from growing and changing. In some cultures black symbolizes death. Native American however thought that black was good because it was the color of soil and soil gives life. Black evokes seriousness, distinctiveness and boldness.

is often associated with independence, self-reliance, self-control and self-criticism. It relates to isolating yourself from everything, remaining separate, uncommitted and uninvolved. Gray may lead to loneliness. Also gray can have a cooling effect when placed next to more vibrant colors. It can make the vibrant colors stand out while muting their vibration. Gray evokes authority, practicality and corporate mentality.

is the color of our Mother Earth. Brown can alleviate insecurities and bring a sense of stability and comfort. But it also relates to depressing emotions, fear of the outside word and narrow-mindness.

 Image from


One said...

That bridge story is amazing. I bet advertisers and designers take full advantage of this knowledge.

YTT Reviewer said...

ive always noticed this on marketing too, Red/white/yellow is a combination that a lot of industries use, specially those that sell food, Mcdonalds, burger king, KFC, coca cola, and it all comes down to this topic

Jill Parks said...

Great article, I never understood color psychology before, but the colors make much sense now, thanks for sharing!

Michael said...

Yea, all the major fast food restaurants like KFC and McDonalds spends money researching for more attractive presentations. I'm certain color psychology is a variable in their decision making.

lexapro birth defect lawyers said...

Yes, I'm sure advertisers are real jedi masters when it comes to color meanings, but they also have to take in consideration cultural differences.

Per example, even though we often associate white with pace and serenity, I've read that in some asian cultures it's being associated with death.

John Ernest said...

Is the bridge story true? I really find it amazing. Imagine if all bridges were green, there would be no more suicides!

Sharon said...

Hi thanks for sharing this info, I've been working on my branding for my blog and so this info is exactly what I'm currently searching for. Regards Sharon

Sharon said...

Hi thanks for sharing this info, I've been working on my branding for my blog and so this info is exactly what I'm currently searching for. Regards Sharon

John said...

You know, I do feel quite different around all of these different colors. It's interesting to be sure.

Fort Worth Photographer said...

Stumbled upon your blog when researching mood and color in regards to photography. Very cool info. Thank you for this.