The Psychology Of Colours

How colours affect us psychologically
Source: Pixabay

Colours, for the most part, go unnoticed in our daily lives. Mostly, people tend to only notice when colours make an unexpected appearance, such as with flowers suddenly blooming. These colours will be acknowledged, and appreciated, while those we see all the time are simply overlooked. But make no mistake; when it comes to attracting attention, there are very few instances in which colours are chosen with no forethought.

For example, stop signs are red for very good reason, as well as the break lights on the rear of vehicles. Red is a very strong colour, which invokes emotional reactions. The most obvious connection is that red is the colour of blood, which signifies a potentially major problem that demands immediate attention. Hence, stop signs and break lights are red because the colour is hard wired into human brains. In other words; red equals a need for immediate, focused attention and warns of danger.

But how is colour used in other aspects of life, intentionally?

Colours And Emotions

It is not just red that invokes an emotional reaction in people. Red is a harsh colour, and the emotions revolving around it are often focused and stressful. So, red is only used where these emotions are required. Blue, on the other hand, is the opposite of red in all ways. Blue invokes calm, relaxed emotions, and so is used in the man-made world when this reaction is desired.

Many other colours also have connected emotions, although perhaps not as severe as red and blue. Purple, for example, is often associated with royalty. This stems back to old times when the colour was reserved for those who had money to spare. Why? Because purple happened to be an expensive colour to create in the old days, and so was not worn by common folk.

Green is a balanced colour, sitting between other extremes, and is often associated with wealth, given that it is also the colour of money. This may explain why the tables in so many casino games are green, as they attract those looking for big wins and whisper a promise of prosperity.

Colour Used In Marketing

With knowledge of how people respond to different hues, marketers and advertisers often use colour to their advantage. The effects of colour are well known, and so colour placement in advertising is almost always used carefully. As with casino tables being green, a specific emotion is sought, and created by the related colour. Notice how often blues are used in advertising, and keep in mind that blue is a calm, relaxed colour.

Of course, if an advert is demanding action due to the notion that the purchaser may suffer without the specific product, red is used. In other words; if you don’t buy this product, you may suffer because of your lack of action.

Colour In Interior Design

Calm-inducing blues
Source: Pixabay

Colour is also used in interior design, with similar intentions. The insides of casinos are often designed to feel and appear as if it were always dusk, with the sun going down. This is because many feel most relaxed at this time of day. Hence, oranges, pinks and other sunset colours are used.

Similar techniques are used in shopping centres, and the interiors of shops. Doctors and dentists, for example, often paint their waiting rooms shades of light blue, which helps patients relax before being examined. It wouldn’t do, after all, to have the waiting room a bright red, driving patients into a mental danger zone before seeing the doctor.

Gardens are also a place where careful colour placement can be seen. Professional landscape artists will choose plants that flower specific colours, and group them together to create relaxing mixes of flowering plants.

The psychology of colour is a truly fascinating subject, and now that you know a bit more about it, it’s almost certain that you’ll be keeping an eye on what shades and hues appear, and where.

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