Even if you don’t know much about color psychology, you probably prefer certain colors over others. You may love green, but avoid black and red. But have you ever wondered why that’s the case? Read on to learn about what color psychology is and how hues can influence your mood and behavior.
What Is Color Psychology?
In essence, color psychology is the study of hues and how they influence human behavior. Colors have been a part of people’s lives since we first came into existence. Although color psychology is of newer origin, its origins are older than you may think.
For example, ancient Egyptians studied how certain colors influence mood and behavior. Carl Jung focused a part of his studies on colors, calling them the mother tongue of the subconscious. He even developed art therapy, which is still popular today. Nowadays, color psychology is used for therapy and in marketing.
How Do Certain Colors Influence Your Mood
Many things can influence the way people feel about a particular color. Firstly, it depends on where the person grew up. Eastern and Western cultures associate colors with different emotions. Secondly, people’s experiences with a certain color also influence their feelings on it. And lastly, some colors are more striking than others. While many find blue inoffensive, red and yellow often provoke strong feelings of love or hate. Here’s what psychologists say about colors and their influence on people:
Although black is not technically a color but rather all hues put together, color psychologists often research its effects. And for a good reason, since this color can provoke strong emotions in people. Some of the positive associations black evokes include elegance and attractiveness.
It looks simple and powerful at the same time. That’s why many high-end brands and influential people opt for black hues. For example, think of Audrey Hepburn’s most memorable outfits and Steve Job’s classic black turtleneck.
However, many people associate black with negative emotions, as well. In western cultures, it’s often tied to death and funerals. Therefore, many avoid black, as it can make them feel sad or anxious.
In Western cultures, people associate white and black with contrasting emotions. The absence of color often represents innocence and purity. Many brides still choose white wedding dresses because they look delicate and fairy-like.
White materials also look clean and fresh to people. That’s why many opt for this color when choosing bed sheets and pillowcases. Additionally, it symbolizes peace, hence the saying waving the white flag.
Still, not all associations with white are positive. For example, in China, white is the color of death instead of black. White is also often associated with hospitals and similar sterile environments. If used in excess, this color can make a room feel cold and unwelcoming.
Red is quite an interesting color and one that color psychology experts have spent a lot of time researching. It’s associated with positive emotions such as love and passion. Red roses are one of the most romantic gifts you can get for your significant other for a reason.
Additionally, red is quite a stimulating color, and it often makes people excited and energetic. A study from 2015 shows that it even causes physical effects such as elevated blood pressure and increased heart rate. Additionally, it leads to an increase in appetite. That’s why you’ll find many fast-food restaurants using red in their logos.
The most common negative emotions associated with red are aggression. For example, seeing red is a common expression to describe someone angry. Power and dominance are often linked with red, as well. Red lipstick on a woman and a red tie on a man both evoke similar feelings of power.
Color psychology experts love researching blue hues, as they often find contradicting emotions associated with them. For example, this color evokes both calmness and sadness. Many people love blue because it makes them feel peaceful and secure. Think of a clear blue sky on a spring day.
Blue hues tend to lower body temperature and pulse, and they can even lower appetite. Additionally, people see businesses that use blue in their logos as more trustworthy and reliable. Interestingly, this color is a favorite of a lot of people, especially men.
However, not all associations with blue are positive. This color can also evoke emotions of sadness and aloofness, as it reminds people of the cold, winter months. Picasso’s blue period elicits feelings of loneliness and melancholy for that very reason.
According to color psychology experts, people associate green with positive emotions. Since it’s common in nature, people often link it to plants, trees, and outdoor spaces in general. That’s why more subdued hues of green make people feel grounded and relaxed.
Furthermore, dark greens are easy on the eyes, which is why writing boards in schools are traditionally in that hue. Alternatively, light, vibrant greens make people feel motivated and energetic.
The only negative emotion associated with green is envy. However, not many people report that this color causes any negative feelings nowadays. Instead, they link green to emotions such as compassion and optimism.
Yellow is a primary color that people spot first. It grabs their attention, which is why businesses often use it for billboards and advertisements. Also, since it’s hard to miss, yellow is often the main color on traffic signs. The color frequently associated with the sun, yellow, makes people feel energized and cheerful.
However, if it’s too vibrant, yellow can have intense and overwhelming energy. That’s why many people don’t like to have too much yellow around them. Too much bright yellow can make people feel irritated and even act aggressive.
If you want to incorporate yellow into your home or business, you should do so with caution. Opt for a more subdued hue if you want yellow to be the main focus. Alternatively, use a bright yellow as an accent color with a neutral main hue.
Color psychology is a complex field. Although there’s still more to learn about the influence of certain hues on people, the current findings are quite impressive. If you’re considering which colors will be the best for your business, take into account which feelings you want to evoke. It may seem insignificant, but the right color can do wonders for your brand. Even if you’re looking for the right color for your home, consider these findings. Think about how you’d like people to feel when they visit you and choose colors that evoke those feelings.