Colours: Their affects and associations.





Colours have the ability to affect moods, feelings and emotions. They also serve as a good tool to set a context to signal and communicate with, they have the ability to cause not only a psychological reaction but they can be physiological as well. It is no secret that interior decorators, artists, photo editors and anything of the like know the power of being particularly selective with what colours they choose for their work, choosing the right colour will help you create the effect you want whether you want them to take action, associate feelings such as nostalgia, excitement and calmness even cause physiological reactions such as increase your metabolism.

Keep in mind that though the meaning of some colours are universal, colours also have their own subjective meaning to each individual and may cause a reaction to one person whilst not doing anything to another. This goes for cultures also, for instance while red may mean stop in western cultures but in India it means purity and in China it means celebration and good luck. Each culture is different.

 This post will explore some of the most commonly used colours and the effects they have on people while discussing how they are used which in turn will help us understand the intended emotional information that is conveyed.


Red 
Associated with...
Positive: Excitement, lust, blood, heat, warmth, love, stimulation, passion, strength.

Negative: Anger, aggressiveness, strain, danger, intense pain.

Red being quite a powerful colour it has the tendency to easily grab our attention, hence the its use in traffic lights and stop signs. Because of the intensity of the colour its effect on us is physical, it stimulates and energizes us by increasing the pulse and heart rate, it has been said to be popular in restaurants because it increases your metabolism making you hungry. It also has a way of exciting and can be seen as quite an aggressive colour.


Blue
Associated with..
Positive: Intelligence, relaxing, reflection, calm, stability, peace, clearness. 

Negative: Cold, Aloofness, indifference, anxiety, illness, unemotional.

A calming colour, as opposed to red where it is physically exciting, blue has a mentally soothing effect and is known to suppress hunger which is why you never see many foods that are the colour blue (apart from blue berries of course), because of this very reason weight loss plans normally have a blue theme and  may even sometimes suggest eating meals off of a blue plate. The relaxing nature of blue slows down the heart rate, slowing down your pulse and lower body temperature.


Green
Associated with...
Positive: Balance, harmony, peace, nature, health.

Negative: Bland, jealousy, envy, boredom.

Known to be the colour that represents balance green is mostly associated with nature, similar to blue in the way it is calming and reassuring. The world around us has a lot of green which is a signal of abundance of resources (vegetables, food, trees for wood etc.) so on a primitive level green tells us we are safe. Green because of its connection with nature is often associated with nature.


Yellow
Associated with...
Positive: Joy, fun, extroversion, optimism, playfulness.

Negative: hazard, fear, anxiety.

A joyful colour, yellow is a colour which stimulates though too much of it can rub people up the wrong way. Often associated with warm weather and the summer days the right shade of yellow can give you the feeling of nostalgia and memories of a hot day. Yellow being a stimulating colour can create feelings of irritation, people have known to have more arguments in a yellow room while babies cry and get upset in a yellow room also.


Purple
Associated with...
Positive: Wealth, Royalty, imagination, spirituality, creativity, inspiration.

Negative: Arrogance, immature, corrupt, pompous, aloof.

This sometimes unusual colour associated with royalty and wealth purple is said to stimulate imagination and inspiration which explains why people have been known to meditate in purple coloured rooms. Though too much of it can be overpowering purple has been known to be mysterious and has an elegant feel to it, also a color a lot of horoscopes use to maybe increase that mysterious factor. 


Orange
Associated with...
Positive: Comfort, warmth, passion, spontaneity, sensuality.
Negative: Immaturity, frustration, annoyance.

A warm colour and is also stimulating, it seems to combine the effect of red and yellow giving it a way of not only stimulating the appetite, it has an impact on you mentally also. With the right shade it can be flamboyant and stimulates socializing making you feel energized, the associations with orange are often the feeling of being uplifted and positive. A very ''confident'' colour if you like.


Pink
Associated with...
Positive: Feminine, soothing, relaxing, love, sexuality, sensuality.
Negative: Weakness, emasculation, immaturity.

There's no mistaking that this is a very feminine colour, very soothing to the eyes and interestingly enough pink is the only tint of a primary colour with its own name ( light green is still green, light yellow is still yellow though light red is pink). Because of the initial red with in this colour, pink raises the heart beat, respiration and blood pressure. Pink has been used in prison cells to soothe and reduce bad behaviour.


Grey
Associated with..
Positive: Conservative, neutral, mature, solid, formal.

Negative: Dull, boring, unconfident, lifeless, indifferent.

Usually quite a dull color grey is a very neutral and an of all the colours this is the one which doesn't have any psychological effects to it. Very conservative and doesn't impose itself in any way and is very good at just staying in the background.


Brown
Associated with..
Positive: Warmth, nature, relaxed, sincere, strength, stable.

Negative: Boring, dull, predictable frugal.

Having a similar neutrality as grey brown has a more comforting feel, it is very relaxing and even reassuring this due to nature having a lot of brown in and this can have a give a warm, earthy natural feel towards it. Mentally, brown has a very stabilizing effect and is usual associated with being ''down to earth''.


Black
Associated with..
Positive: Sophistication, power, secrecy, mystery, seductive, formal.

Negative: Coldness, aloof, seriousness, with holding.

A very powerful colour, associated with power, elegance and control. Black is essentially all colours absorbed and the absence of light, in the right context black can evoke strong emotions and can be somewhat overwhelming but on the other end of the scale because of its absorbing nature it can provide a sort of emptiness. Black also has an negative association with death because of its nature of being essentially nothingness.


White
Associated with...
Positive: Cleanliness, clarity, pureness, new beginnings, hygiene, mental clarity.
Negative: Bland, coldness, nothingness
Visually white can be seen as pure and clean because of how it reflects light so easily. Often associated with hygiene and cleanliness hospitals are notorious for using this colour as anything that lands on white clothing is instantly noticeable. White psychologically has a way of encouraging us to reduce clutter and clear or purify thoughts also. 


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