Color. I love color. Nothing makes me happier than looking at a wall of paint swatches, or bin of colored pencils. Color makes me smile. Color is a very influential in many aspects of our lives. It not just for looks either. Color can illicit an emotional response. Marketers, artists and designers all know how color influences us. Color creates associations. We use colors in psychology, art and religion to denote status and attention. When you look at some religious art, why are some deities in blue? I’ve never seen Christianity’s Virgin Mary in scarlet red. She always in blue and white. Color, at it’s purest form make us feel, maybe more than anything. Red can be angry, but it can also be loving. Blue calming but also cold.
How does color tell us this? It depends on our age, culture, and climate. Children often change their favorite color. However, once we hit adulthood we often have a fixed favorite. For years my favorite color was black. Since my thirties my favorite color has been charcoal grey. A hard color to find in clothes, but more prevalent in design.
A pioneer in the science of color psychology was Carl Jung. Jung not only investigated the meanings of color, but how they could be used as a psychological tool. The meaning of color is most prevalent in marketing. Color has power. It helps us recognize brands without using words. Almost everyone in the world recognizes the “Golden Arches” of McDonalds. Color catches your eye. It helps you to decide if an item is appealing. Sometimes color name influences buying choices too. If a rose color was blood red instead of romantic red would it be as popular of a choice?
We live in a world of color. What are the common feelings that they evoke?
Take Blue for instance. Blue is calming. It instills trust, a sense of duty, coolness, reflection, tradition, sadness, and coldness. Blue is used for Tiffany boxes, in traditional gift wrap and power suits. There is also the expression “to have the blues”, meaning to be depressed. All colors have a dual personality. The good and the bad.
Green is all around us. It is refreshing, zesty, growth, restorative, restful and safe. It can mean ordinary or stagnant as well. It’s not coincidence that many environmental companies use green in their logos. It is the color of our environment.
Yellow is both sunny and scared. Yellow is warmth, happy, honorable and open. It can also be fearful, cowardly, and irrational. What does it say to you?
Orange as a color evokes the ideas of energy, stimulation, food, fun, and health. It also is frustration, cautious, immature, and warning.
Red has so many meanings its hard to list them all. Red is courageous, strong, warm, vigorous, energy, love and passion. It is also danger, anger, pain, and defiant. Want to learn more about other colors? Wait for part two to learn about the other colors including purple, pink and others.