Our minds are influenced by many visual cues. Our perception of color in the world can influence our mood. The following is a list of colors and their psychological associations.
Black is the color of authority and power. It is popular in fashion because it makes people appear thinner. It is also stylish and timeless. Black also implies submission. Priests wear black to signify submission to God. Some fashion experts say a woman wearing black implies submission to men. Black outfits can also be overpowering, or make the wearer seem aloof or evil. The color black is associated with death and the unknown. It is the color traditionally worn by mourners and seen at funerals. It is also the color of the occult as well as the clergy, signaling spiritual mystery. The color otherwise is usually reserved for evening wear, as in “black tie” affairs and the “little black evening dress”. This color sets a mood of dark enchantment.
Brides wear white to symbolize innocence and purity. White reflects light and is considered a summer color. White is popular in decorating and in fashion because it is light, neutral, and goes with everything. However, white shows dirt and is therefore more difficult to keep clean than other colors. Doctors and nurses wear white to imply sterility. The color white is associated with purity and goodness. It is the color of bridal gowns and angels. As it shows up impurity so easily, it invites scrutiny. It is the color that “goes with everything” i.e. “can do no wrong”. As there are so many bendable shades of white, it is the color that most walls are painted. Like the cowboy who wears the hat in the western movie, white is the color worn by “the good guy”. White sets the mood of purity.
The most emotionally intense color, red stimulates a faster heartbeat and breathing. It is also the color of love. Red clothing gets noticed and makes the wearer appear heavier. Since it is an extreme color, red clothing might not help people in negotiations or confrontations. Red cars are popular targets for thieves. In decorating, red is usually used as an accent. Decorators say that red furniture should be perfect since it will attract attention.
The most romantic color, pink, is more tranquilizing. Sports teams sometimes paint the locker rooms used by opposing teams bright pink so their opponents will lose energy.
Red is associated with adult sexuality and passion. This is seen in the archetype “Lady in Red” and “The Scarlet Letter”.
A politician, dressed in the most conservative dark suit may add a tie with at least a splash of red to signal that he means business. Like a traffic light, red tells the mind of the observer to “stop and look”. Some people find that wearing or seeing the color red invigorates them. This color sets an exciting mood.
The color of the sky and the ocean, blue is one of the most popular colors. It causes the opposite reaction as red. Peaceful, tranquil blue causes the body to produce calming chemicals, so it is often used in bedrooms. Blue can also be cold and depressing. Fashion consultants recommend wearing blue to job interviews because it symbolizes loyalty. People are more productive in blue rooms. Studies show weightlifters are able to handle heavier weights in blue gyms. The color blue is associated with calm and relaxation.
Currently the most popular decorating color, green symbolizes nature. It is the easiest color on the eye and can improve vision. It is a calming, refreshing color. People waiting to appear on TV sit in “green rooms” to relax. Hospitals often use green because it relaxes patients. Brides in the Middle Ages wore green to symbolize fertility. Dark green is masculine, conservative, and implies wealth. However, seamstresses often refuse to use green thread on the eve of a fashion show for fear it will bring bad luck. The color green represents rebirth. Being the color of grass, trees and money it signals fertility and (along with gold) wealth. It is a friendly color and many people feel a healing force from this color. It is the color of many industrial uniforms and is attributed to having healing properties, as it is “natural”. It sets a mood of nature and growth.
Cheerful sunny yellow is an attention getter. While it is considered an optimistic color, people lose their tempers more often in yellow rooms, and babies will cry more. It is the most difficult color for the eye to take in, so it can be overpowering if overused. Yellow enhances concentration, hence its use for legal pads. It also speeds metabolism. Yellow is not often worn by itself; it is usually blended in a pattern or an ensemble, as it is so benign. It is also associated with cowardice, as in “turning yellow”. However, for the most part, as the popular song commutates, yellow sets a mellow mood.
The color of royalty, purple connotes luxury, wealth, and sophistication. It is also feminine and romantic. However, because it is rare in nature, purple can appear artificial.
Purple is the color of good judgment. It is the color of people seeking spiritual fulfillment. It is said if you surround yourself with purple you will have peace of mind. Purple is a good color to use in meditation.
Solid, reliable brown is the color of earth and is abundant in nature. Light brown implies genuineness while dark brown is similar to wood or leather. Brown can also be sad and wistful. Men are more apt to say brown is one of their favorite colors.
People who prefer brown are often conventional and orderly. The negative meaning of brown can be a repressed personality or a lazy person. Brown is the color of the earth and is associated with the material side of life.
Orange is a power color. It is one of the healing colors. It is said to increase the craving for food. It also stimulates enthusiasm and creativity. Orange means vitality with endurance. People who like orange are usually thoughtful and sincere. Orange is associated with the benign warmth of the sun.
The color pink is associated with youth and femininity. Unlike blue that is a color worn by both sexes, the color pink is basically reserved for females, in particular young females. It is a “young” color represents blushing and flower petals. It is often seen in the form of prom and young bridesmaid’s dresses and signals budding female sexuality. It is meant to set a romantic mood. Pink is the color of universal love. Pink is a quiet color. Lovers of beauty favor pink. A pink carnation means “I will never forget you”. Pink provides feelings of caring, tenderness, self-worth and love, acceptance.
Gray is the color of sorrow. People who favor gray can be the lone wolf type or narrow-minded. Gray with more silver in it can be a very active color. Native Americans associate gray with friendship. Gray is the symbol for security, maturity and dependability. It connotes responsibility and conservative practicality.
Indigo is the color of the deep midnight sky. It can have a negative effect when used during a depressed state, because it will deepen the mood. Indigo symbolizes a mystical borderland of wisdom, self-mastery and spiritual realization. While blue is the color of communication with others, indigo turns the blue inward, to increase personal thought, profound insights, and instant understandings. While blue can be fast, Indigo is almost instantaneous. Inventors use indigo skills for inspirations that seem to ‘come out of the blue’.