Have you ever noticed how you feel like wearing bright colors when happy? Or how a room painted in dark and muted color, like black and grey, makes you feel sad and depressed?
That’s because colors and your emotions are interconnected. Your mood can determine your choice of colors and vice versa. While this connection goes both ways, today, we’re going to explore the impact of colors on our emotions, mood, and behaviors, a phenomenon called color psychology.
Now let’s dive into color and how they affect our emotions:
How Do Colors Affect Us?
Colors are a powerful medium of non-verbal communication. While their perception may be somewhat subjective, their meanings are universal for the most part owing to the effect they have on our brain. And anything that affects the brain can also impact mood and behavior. In case you’re wondering how much of an impact colors can have on us, research tells us that up to 90% of our snap judgments about consumer products are solely based on colors.
Colors can significantly impact our emotions, mood, feelings, and behaviors.
It may come as a surprise to many, but research has long proven that colors can even impact our blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration.
Leatrice Eiseman, a renowned color specialist, says these effects are strongly correlated to how those colors behave in nature. For example, blue is mainly associated with the sky, and blue skies are a sign of good weather that everyone loves and enjoys. In color psychology, blue is known to arouse feelings of calmness, relaxation, and stability. See the connection?
Let’s dig a little deeper and find out the meanings associated with all the different colors, the emotions and feelings they are known to arouse, and their effects on our behavior.
The Effects of Colors on Emotions and Behaviors
Colors, as we all know, are divided into two broad categories – cool and warm – depending on color temperature, how they are perceived by people, the feelings they evoke, and their impact on mood. While this is the only official classification of colors, there are certain colors widely associated with various emotions and feelings. Let’s go over all of them to see how they impact our emotions, mood, and behaviors.
Red is the warmest color on the color wheel. It grabs instant attention and is known to evoke strong emotions that could be positive, such as love and passion, or negative, like anger and danger. In both cases, red is stimulating, energizing, and exciting. It also signifies strength, power, and courage.
Yellow is the color of sunshine. It’s associated with positive energy, hope, cheerfulness, fun, and happiness. Known to resonate with the left side of the brain, it’s also the color of intellect and creativity. Too much yellow, however, can cause discomfort to many people, arousing feelings of anxiety and agitation. So, use it carefully.
Orange is a combination of red and yellow. The feelings and emotions it evokes are also a mix of the two colors. It radiates the warmth, excitement, and stimulation of red and the cheerfulness of yellow. It’s friendly, inviting, and encouraging and inspires courage, confidence, and vitality. Hence, it makes a great choice for call-to-action buttons for online businesses. When used correctly, the color orange can also give customers an impression of affordability.
Green is the color of nature. It symbolizes growth, rebirth, healing, freshness, harmony, and stability. It’s also associated with self-reliance and security. It’s a good color choice for health and wellness businesses that want to promote their products as natural, safe, and environment friendly, as well as for those wanting to reflect security and growth.
Darker shades of green are linked to prestige and wealth and hence, are considered good choices for financial websites and sales presentations.
Blue is the most popular color in the world and the majority’s favorite. And it’s not difficult to understand why. Blue reflects calmness and trust and makes you feel relaxed, safe, and secure.
Darker shades of blue are considered more professional, whereas the lighter tones are known to evoke a friendly feel, which is exactly why Facebook and Twitter use them.
Purple is the color of creativity, imagination, luxury, wealth, and royalty. But, it’s also known to add an element of mystery and fantasy to things. This is why purple is often used to promote beauty products and premium services.
Colors by Mood
Here are type of color by mood, including cold/warm colors, happy/sad colors, and calming/energizing colors. This is great for finding a color palette to match the emotion you’re trying to elicit.
The warm colors are associated with warmth, heat, fire, and sun. They are known to evoke a range of warm feelings and emotions ranging from optimism and excitement to anger and violence. Warm colors also grab attention and are used to demand action or reflect danger.
The colors that fall into this category are red, orange, and yellow.
Cool colors, as the term implies, are known to have calming and relaxing effects. The colors that fall into this category include green, blue, and purple. Cool color tones are also referred to as cold colors.
Bright and warm colors are known to evoke feelings of cheerfulness and optimism. They can uplift your mood and put you in great spirits.
The colors put into this category include red, orange, yellow, and shades of pink. Pink is also associated with feminine energy, tenderness, and romance.
Dark, muted colors, like black and grey, are called sad colors because they are dreary and make you feel down and depressed. These are also the colors of mourning in many cultures because they reflect grief and sorrow.
Cool colors are calming. But, some pastel colors and neutrals, like white and beige, can have calming effects on the mind and body too. White is the universal color of peace for this very reason.
Colors that stir your emotions, incite excitement, and make you feel alert and active are energizing colors. These colors known to have these effects include bright red, emerald green, bright yellow, royal blue, magenta, magenta, and neon green. They need to be used with great care, though, as they can also be uncomfortable to the eyes.
Colors and Emotions Are Interconnected, but the Effects Can Vary
There is no denying that colors and our feelings and emotions are correlated. However, this connection isn’t simple and straightforward; it’s multifaceted and inextricable.
The effects colors have on our mind and body depend on where and how they are used, their shades and tones, cultural associations and beliefs, and personal associations that are often based on memories and experiences.
Businesses all over the world are using color psychology to their advantage. You can do that too. Just make sure to do your research well or consult a color specialist to confirm the colors you’re planning to use, relay the right message, emotions, and feelings, and inspire your desired behavior.