Jul
13
2013

What your Favorite Color Says about You

Know thy true colors

Life is splashed with color. Anywhere we look, we encounter the dreamy blues of the sky or ocean, the gritty browns of the earth, and the vibrant greens of nature. We outfit our homes with our favorite colors. But how often do we stop and think about how these colors make us feel or how we perceive them? Did you know that studies have shown that certain colors do make us feel certain emotions? Advertisers and artists alike often put these colors in our way to exploit how we perceive them?  A brief lesson in the psychology of color could help to make us more aware of what is presented to us, may affect the future of our decorating decisions, and may even lend some understanding to our favorite art pieces and products.

Let's start with the basics.

 

Blue: Known to evoke a sense of peacefulness, tranquility and calming. It is often used for this reason as a color in bedrooms. But don't fall asleep yet! This color has also known to make people more productive and focused since it calms and de-stresses people. Fashion consultants often recommend wearing a blue suit to an interview because it can symbolize loyalty as well. 

Red: The most passionate color on the wheel. It is the color of blood, courage and sacrifice. It is also associated with the heart and red rose, making it the color of love.It is also a sign of hospitality and care which is why there are red carpets at fancy events and red crosses on ambulances and outside of hospitals. 

Yellow: The most difficult color for the eye to detect, yet also attracts attention. Yellow is an interesting color because it means different things in different parts of the world. In the western part of the world, yellow is associated with caution, betrayal and jealousy. People are more likely to get angry in yellow rooms and studies have shown that babies are more likely to cry in a yellow room. However in China, yellow represents happiness, wealth and pleasure. it also enhances concentration, and speeds the metabolism.

Orange: Actually more so than yellow, orange is associated with the warmth of the sun. Orange can increase a craving for food, and stimulates enthusiasm and creativity. It is also the color most likely to get noticed in dim light or against the water which is why the coast guard uses it as their go-go color.

Violet/Purple: Often associated with royalty, purple can suggest wealth and luxury. It is also the color of good judgment. Because of these connotations, purple can have a peaceful effect on the mind, even more so than blue. 

Green: The color of nature and fertility. Because of its symbolic ties to nature, it is also highly associated with growth, health, creativity, and innovation. In the middle ages, brides wore green rather than virginal white to symbolize fertility and growth.

Black: A fashionista's favorite, as it makes the body appear thinner. It is also the color of power and authority, yet is contradictory as it also implies submission. Notably, nuns and priests wear black to symbolize their submission to God. Policeman and security guards wear such a dark blue as to almost appear black. 

White: The color of innocence and purity. White reflects light and we have all been warned not wear it after Labor Day. Doctors and nurses wear white to symbolize sterility. White is dynamic as it is not only a color in itself, but it is also the absence of color and because of this contrast, white can be used to great effect in art pieces.

So there you have it: the meaning behind some of the basic colors of the color wheel. Use this guide to interpret your feelings towards your surrounding or to create new ones.

 

Comments (9) -

Debbie Hannah Skinner

Great article... with one little exception. Isn't white actually the presence of all color while black is the absence of all color? I'm thinking I learned that in a science and art course one time.

 Rob Foss

That's very astute. White light can refract all colors when shown through a prism, so in that aspect you are completely right! However, in terms of pigments and hue, its the other way around. This came from the perspective of an artist, but I'm sure the author appreciates the input.

Nick

Actually
White is the absence of all colour (not presence)
Black is the absence of all light

Luis Cayo

I guess you could use white color as the absence of colors, but this is because of natural daylight.
If we were to observe a white canvas it doesn't necessarily mean that the canvass is white, this is only because the sun light reflected on the canvas gives us the impression that there is nothing on it.
In the other hand we associate black color with darkness, absence of light.
If we were standing in front of a canvas, or any other object we wouldn't know there is something in front of us since we obtain informations of our surroundings through our eyes.
There are many wavelengths of what we call light, we evolved to distinguish a large portion of this light.
As far as I know we humans have evolved with one of the best eye sights in the animal kingdom.

Bryan

Actually, Nick, colour is based off of how light is absorbed and reflected. The visible spectrum of light is every visible color in the rainbow (or color wheel). When a beam of light hits, say, a shirt, all the light might be absorbed except, perhaps, blue, which would reflected back, causing the shirt to appear blue. When all colours are absorbed, there is no light being reflected back at our eyes, resulting in what we know as "black". The opposite is when a material reflects all light back at us, creating "white" light. The daylight is essentially "white" light. When "white" light passes through, say water, or a prism, it is refracted (split)into the visible spectrum of colours (red, orange, yellow, green, et cetera)that we know. So, you are right that black is the absence of colour, but white is in fact the presence of all colour.

Warner D. Parker Jr.

The author is scientifically correct Black is the culmination of all combined colors White or Blanca (Blank) in Spanish is the absence of color. Since everyone is putting their incorrect two cents in....I figured I might as well join them. the actual absence of color would be "CLEAR" like the air we all breathe and the "untinted" windows we look through. If you are correct why did White men call everyone else colored? oops didn't see that one coming did you? You can not have it both ways.....you cannot be right all of the time. Ruminate on this...Minority is a word used to describe the majority of the people on the planet......

Chris Comerford

Actually it depends on whether you are talking about Pigments or Light.

Pigments, like oil paint for example, are ADDITIVE.  Black = mixture of all pigment colors.  White = absence of any pigments.

Light is SUBTRACTIVE.  If you combine the entire spectrum of visible light, you get white light.  White light can be split into it's component colors with a prism resulting in the rainbow of colors.  Similarly, black is the absence of all light.

Sam Watterford

I work for a paint company. In terms of paint, the writer of this piece is correct. In terms of pigments,white is the absense of color. I believe this piece was written for artists and not people who study light spectrums. In this instance, the author(s) is/are accurate and you all could learn something from him/her/them. So bugger off and pay attention and you might learn something.

Merle Papsley

Thanks for clearing that up for me, Sam ^. I would have believed the writer anyways without all these comments here.

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