The Psychology Behind Color

  • Added:
    May 09, 2013
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The Psychology Behind Color Photo by Josh Rock

Wonder why red is the color of love? Why being surrounded by a forest of green is comforting, or why you’re supposed to wear black to an interview?

Color does more than make the world absolutely stunning. It has powerful effects on our mind and body.

Certain colors can make you more creative, more energetic, and ever alter decisions. Many of these effects are subconscious and usually go unnoticed (advertising companies and political parties have been aware of this for a long time). But, by being aware of these effects you can put the right colors in the right places in life.

RED

Red is an intense and powerful color.  It represents two of the strongest things in human context: love and danger. We use red in the world is to capture attention or signal danger (stop signs, red lights, fire trucks)

Body Reaction:
Red sets off a furry of physical reactions on the body due to it being a danger cue. In the presence of red your heart rate increases, and circulation speeds up  to enhance physical reaction. You become more aware and alert and enter a minor “fight or flight” response.

Mood:
Psychologically, red makes you more attentive, but in mass amounts can be overpowering and cause anxiety, and worry.

How to use it:
If used correctly red can have some incredible effects on your everyday life. Use it in life where you need attention to be drawn to.

  •     Have a red work folder if you constantly lose focus.
  •     Wear that red skirt or sweater if you want all eyes on you,
  •     It even has subconscious effects that create more physical attraction, so keep it on the presence of that special someone.


BLUE

Blue is the opposite of red. It symbolizes the peacefulness of the sky or the ocean.

Body Reaction:
It lowers blood pressure and releases calming chemicals into the brain that give you a soothing feeling.

Mood:
Blue puts you in the setting for relaxation,. It also boosts clarity and creativity in lighter shades.

How to use it:
Any area of your life you want to add relaxation to, put blue into it.

  •     Paint your “chill” room blue, or wear that blue sweater when your lazing around.
  •     Cover your workspace in light blue as it has been shown to increase productivity and stimulate creativity.


BLACK

Black is the color of authority, power, and evil. It is the only color that absorbs all light in the color spectrum and this may be the reason it is associated with fear and death. It symboloizes a lot of negative conotations as well (black sheep, black heart, and black magic).

Body Reaction:
It spark feelings of fear. Studies have shown that in the presence of black the part of the brain called the amygdala is activated, this is the brains control center for fear. This may also be an insight as to why you’re afraid of the dark.

Mood:
If used in larger amounts black sets a quite serious and somber tone, but in the right doses it instils confidence and control. Its serious vibe also creates a sophisticated feel to it.

How to use it:
Black can be used in many settings.

  •     When meeting someone of importance,(interview, girlfriends father, or co-workers) dress in black be taken seriously and have a sense of control.
  •     Use it in fashion as it a timeless color of elegance.
  •     In designing any product, use black to make it appear more expensive and fancier than it is. It also makes anything look heavier as well, so don’t believe the myth of black is slimming.
  •     When you have mastered the art of black itself mix it with other colors, it contrasts stunningly with many other colors.


GREEN

Green is the symbol of nature, fertility, and growth. For these reasons it can represent life itself. But, with shades of grey it can represent the opposite though, sickeness and decay(cartoons always turn green when sick).

Body Reaction:
Green makes you breath slower and deeper, and eliminates stress causing chemicals adding relaxation to your muscles.

Mood:
Being a cool color like blue it has similar effects, It relieves stress  and relaxes your thoughts. It makes you feel more connected with nature and life itself.

How to use it:

  •     Nature doesn’t lie: Eat more greens!
  •     If you live in a big city have some green in your living space to stay connected with nature and avoid that uptight city feel.
  •     Being the universal sign of growth it also can help heal parts of your life, hospitals actually use it on patients to speed up their recovery.
  •     With its soothing qualities it has also shown to improve reading ability(this is why all street signs are green with white writing). It allows for easy reading and a higher rate of comprehension. Try putting a transparent green sheet on the book your reading, it actually works.


YELLOW

Yellow is the color of energy and warmth. It is related to the sun and brightness and is closely associated with happiness

Body reaction:
Yellow stimulates nerves in the brain and purifies the body. It also has been shown to have positive effects on memory and give your muscles that extra bit of energy.

Mood:
It gives us a general uplifting feeling and happy mood. It can make you more decisive and confident. It can also have a “straining effect” that causes anxiety, if exposed to it for too long.

How to use it:

  •     Use it small amounts to avoid negative overpowering effects
  •     Add splashes of yellow to your workspace to improve energy and clarity.
  •     It can represent the sign of something new coming, so add it places where you want to influence change.
  •     Wear it when public speaking to hold attention well.


Conclusion

Take control of the color spectrum. Start thinking about the color of clothes you wear daily, or what color your going to paint your room. Make sure that you sending the write message for the setting. If you’re an entrepreneur, spend the extra time getting the color of your logo right. If you’re a performer, think about what vibe your outfit will send to an audience. These small effects can add up to make a big difference in our lives.

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