I find the subject of colour a fascinating one and as I was walking today it got me thinking of the meaning of colour and if we actually realise how it influences our lives. Colour is everywhere and many of us surround ourselves with our favourite colours, but is this just a personal preference or is there a deeper subconscious reason that we are drawn to these certain colours?
When I got home I looked in the dictionary for the meaning of colour and it read:
‘The colour of something is the appearance that it has as a result of the way in which it reflects light’.
I remeber learning about Sir Isaac Newton at School who conducted a series of experiments and was acclaimed to be the first to understand the ‘rainbow’. He discovered that when pure white light passes through a prism, it separates into all of the visible colours. This clear white light was composed of seven visible colours. He also found that each colour is made up of a single wavelength and cannot be separated any further into other colours.
So, colour has been talked about for centuries and represents so much of our history and culture. Colour schemes are often used to define ceremonies, it symbolises mourning and wars as well as spiritual and seasonal ceremonies such as harvest, weddings, Diwali (light over darkness) and even the colour run which is known as the ‘happiest 5,000 metres on the planet’ because all the runners are painted and sprayed with beautiful bright colours.
Colours have the ability to affect our emotions and moods and the more I look into it I wonder how much the meaning of colour has a link to our own pasts and experiences. The psychology of colour is based on the mental and emotional effect that colours have on our lives. Are the colours we are drawn to in clothes and make up and our surroundings especially our homes, affect our mood and then I realised this was true. Our environment may be influencing our emotions and state of mind.
Have you ever been surrounded in a dark black room and felt closed in or anxious or a blue bathroom and felt cold or it reminded you of the sea, in a green treatment room with pink flowers and felt relaxed and safe? Of course, different people may have felt completely different in those same environments, but you get the picture. Colour preferences exert an influence on the decisions we make, clothes we wear, how we decorate our homes and the objects we like to buy.
I started looking at some magazines and realised how marketing and advertising use the powerful effect of colour to influence our views and to associate certain feelings with the products that want to sell. Colour can generate emotions that the consumer associates with the products they are buying. Colour can sway thinking and cause powerful reactions. Companies invest huge sums of money in colour psychology and research. For example, the colour red is associated with power and action, it is a bold colour that gets your attention and is often used for car adverts. Where white is often associated with fresh and clean and used for health products like toothpastes and clean teeth. Green is often associated with nature and tranquillity and relaxing and purple to promote beauty products.
Not just in advertising but colour psychology is used in artists and interior designers and even landscape gardeners. These people know how it can have an impact on our moods and hopefully in the right hands can help us create a space that enhances positive feelings within us.
So, let’s have a look at some of the qualities they say associates with different colours
Green is the colour of nature, growth, harmony, freshness, renewal. Green is a very restful and relaxing colour. It is the colour of life and vitality and energy. People who like green are usually balanced and stable.
Pure yellow produces sensations of brightness and warmth, joy, optimism, happiness and energy. Yellow stands for optimism, enlightenment, freshness and clarity. People who like yellow usually have a ‘sunny’ personality. It is the brightest colour that the human eye can see and if often used for children’s toys.
Red is the colour representing power, passion, desire, heat, love, aggression, danger, fire, blood and strength. Red is an emotionally intense colour and it has a very high visibility, if you think about stop signs and fire equipment.