Color psychology: meaning and curiosities of colors
What is the meaning of each color and in which areas does color psychology apply?
The color psychology is a field of study that is aimed at analyzing how we perceive and behave in front of different colors, as well as the emotions that these tones arouse in us.
There are certain subjective aspects to color psychology, so we should not forget that there may be certain subjective aspects to color psychology. that there may be certain variations in interpretation and meaning between cultures.. Nevertheless, there are certain accepted principles that we will review in this article and that apply mainly to Western societies.
Color psychology: influence on emotions and state of mind
Did you know that the colors around you may be influencing your emotions and mental state? Did you know that certain shades can irritate you or, on the contrary, relax and calm you down? Well, you should know that the colors around you can have an effect on you.
This statement is not new. In fact, many companies design their logos taking into account the colors they use, because in this way they send one message or another to the consumer. When decorating a store, the colors used are also taken into account, since it is almost a necessity for people to feel the desire to buy when they are in the store. But color psychology is not only used for economic benefit.
In art therapy, color is associated with a person's emotions and is a way of influencing the patient's physical and mental state. For example, studies have shown that red increases the Heart rate, which, in turn, causes an increase in adrenaline and makes individuals feel energetic and excited.
The psychology of color in everyday life
And it is that it does not sound at all strange the affirmation that the colors provoke an emotional effect in us. In fact, it is part of our everyday language. In other words, it is common to talk about warm colors, it is common to speak of warm colorssuch as red, yellow or orange, which can elicit different reactions, ranging from positive (warmth) to negative (hostility and anger).
Or, on the other handwe also tend to talk about cold colorssuch as green or blue, which usually provoke a feeling of calmness but also sadness.
Since we are all familiar with these concepts, color psychology is used in everyday life. For example, when you paint your house and consider what colors you want for your home because you are going to spend many hours in there.
When you do that, you usually consider how different shades will make you feel: an elegant gray for the living room? a green kitchen that is associated with spring and freshness? Maybe you like yoga and meditation and want a white room because you know it has a relaxing effect. These are just a few examples of how we use color psychology almost without realizing it.
Emotional and psychological marketing of colors
Perhaps the area where color psychology is most applied is in marketing. It is common to believe that our purchasing decisions are based on rational analysis, but in many cases it is our emotions that decide for us.
For some time now, even modern neuroscience has focused only on the cognitive aspects of the brain when it comes to decision making, forgetting the emotions. All this changed with Antonio Damasio's book "Descartes' Error". A highly recommended psychology text that provides scientific evidence on the importance of emotions in our decisions.
And how do we get to the heart of the client? Well, through the senses, basically thanks to hearing and sight.. That's why when you enter a fashion store, energetic music plays and you can appreciate the decor and colors that tell you: "buy, buy, buy". According to Color Marketing Groupa company specializing in the use of colors, almost 85% of the reasons why a person chooses one product over another has to do with the perception of color.
The psychology of color is also applied in branding. Did you know that red stimulates appetite? Well, that's true, according to various research studies. So it is not surprising that well-known fast food chains such as McDonald's, Pizza Hut, KFC and Wendy's use this color in their logos and facilities.
- Recommended article: "Emotional Marketing: reaching the customer's heart".
The symbolism of colors and how they affect the human mind.
The symbolism of colors is certainly an ambiguous territory and sometimes it is not and is sometimes not fully accepted in the scientific field. As already mentioned, color has many readings depending on the context. However, we will now identify the most important colors with their more or less accepted meanings (at least in the West).
In Western cultures (and also in some Eastern cultures, such as Hinduism), the color white represents the pure and innocent, the color white represents the pure and innocentas well as cleanliness, peace and virtue. In Eastern and African cultures it is the color of death: the pure soul that departs.
Yellow represents light and gold. It is often associated with happiness, wealth, power, abundance, strength and action.. However, researchers consider it one of the most ambiguous colors, as it also represents envy, anger and betrayal. The excessive presence of intense yellow can irritate a person, since we are usually used to seeing it on relatively small surfaces.
Red is associated with stimulation, passion, strength, revolution, virility and danger.. This probably has a lot to do with the fact that red is the color of blood, which we also associate with a certain notion of vitality, aggressiveness and extreme sensations. It is one of the colors with the greatest consensus among experts and, in fact, wearing this color leads us to behave in a slightly more assertive and extraverted way.
Orange is associated with enthusiasm and action. Also can also be related to lust and sensuality, to the divine and exaltation.. In the world of political marketing, orange is often said to be the most optimistic color of all, at least in Western societies.
Blue is the color of the sky and water. is the color of the sky and water, and represents tranquility, freshness and intelligence.. In the marketing world it is used in many logos such as Facebook or Twitter. It is an elegant and corporate color, one of the most used by companies. It transmits confidence and purity.
Green represents youth, hope represents youth, hope and new life, but it also represents action and ecology.. Interior decorators agree that a room painted in a soft green color encourages relaxation and well-being.
Purple is highly valued in the marketing world, since it represents sophistication and elegance.. In addition, this color is often associated with mystery, nostalgia and spirituality. It is a color widely used in anti-aging products, precisely because of the touch of glamour it gives off.
Pink is a color with very specific attributes: it is the color of sweetness, delicacy, friendship and pure love.. Our cultural heritage also associates it with femininity.
Gray has somewhat different connotations depending on the culture. While some people perceive this color as indeterminacy or mediocrity, experts in color psychology give it a different meaning:peace, tenacity and tranquility..
Black has negative connotations because it is associated with death, evil or destruction.. In contrast, in ancient Egypt it represented fertility and growth. Because of its relationship with darkness, black symbolizes mystery and the unknown. In the fashion world, black is the color of elegance, formality and sobriety.
- De La Llave, A. (2018). We are Visual Arts I. Mexico: Cromberger.
- Heller, Eva (2004). Psicología del color. How colors act on feelings and reason. Ed. Gustavo Gili.
- Hupka, Ralph B.; et al. (1997). "The colors of anger, envy, fear, and jealousy: a cross-cultural study". Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)