Colour is one of those visual attributes that conveys information in a nonverbal way. It has the power to create moods and even affects decisions we make everyday, with 90% of our snap judgements influenced by the psychological effects of colour.
Colour psychology assigns emotional connotations to colours. Some of these have universal understanding, but some cultures affix special meanings to certain colours. For example in Chinese culture, red is a symbol of joy, celebration, vitality, success and good fortune. Red is seen as the luckiest colour of all.
Did you know… that your favourite colours will depend on childhood memories and the emotional association you have with that colour. So, if you wore yellow one day and someone said they didn't like it, yellow may not be your colour of choice.
You can also actively use colour to affect your mood and motivation for the day. Perhaps you choose to wear orange a lot. This colour is associated with lifting mood, putting you in the frame of mind to act and make a statement, as well as positive connotations for creativity.
Symbolic meanings for different colours are listed below:
Red: Passion, excitement, love
Pink: Soft, reserved, earthy
Purple: Mysterious, noble, glamorous
Blue: Wisdom, hope, reason, peace
Green: Nature, growth, freshness
Yellow: Hope, joy, danger
Orange: Warmth, kindness, joy
White: Truth, indifference
Black: Noble, mysterious, cold
One study in 2020 surveyed the emotional associations of people from 30 different countries and found that, even across cultures, specific emotions seem to be attached to certain colours.
Black: 51% of respondents associated black with sadness
White: 43% of people associated white with relief
Red: 68% associated red with love
Blue: 35% linked blue to feelings of relief
Green: 39% linked green to contentment
Yellow: 52% felt that yellow means joy
Purple: 25% reported they associated purple with pleasure
Brown: 36% linked brown to disgust
Pink: 50% linked with love
Orange: 44% associated orange with joy
We can now see that colours have both a symbolic meaning and emotional associations. These can be important factors when choosing colours for branding development, travelling abroad to different cultures, meeting someone for the first time and making a good impression, even going as far as the colours you chose to have in your home, on your walls, in your artwork and your clothing choices.
I hope these hints and tips have helped you understand a little more about how colour affects us. I definitely have favourite colours, but these are also very dependent on my mood. Do you have colours that you stick to regardless of your mood or even chose colours to help give you a boost on important days?