the psychology of color

the psychology of color

If there’s one word I could use to describe myself, I’d definitely use the word colorful. My personality is bubbly and my life full of so many different facets. Not to mention, my room is full of different hues of purple, blue, green, and pink. Color is something that’s always caught my eye and made me happy (regardless of the color).

I wasn’t surprised at all when I found out that color can affect our daily lives and daily emotions. I found it fascinating and honestly I’ve been living by the psychology of color for a while now so if you see me in a specific color, it’s more than likely matching my mood for the day (or at least my mood when I got dressed).

It should come as no surprise that companies use color to properly market their brand to consumers like use. For example, blue gives people a feeling of trustworthiness and where do you usually see blue? Insurance companies, banks, and social networking sites. Funny, right?


When it comes to the first color in the rainbow, it’s definitely known as the most powerful color on the spectrum. Red is known for many things, but it’s mainly known for passion and is usually used to symbolize danger or power. Red tends to attract the most attention and shares a strong link to sexuality (cue the older black women criticizing young black girls for red nails or red lipstick) as well as increased appetites. Have you noticed that McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s all use red in their logos? In Chinese culture, red is seen as a color of good luck. Happy Chinese New Year, by the way! It was yesterday but still, welcome to the year of the pig. Too much red can be seen as aggressive.


Pink, while a bit softer than red, also represents passion but in more of a feminine way. Pink represents sensitivity, playfulness, love, tenderness, and nurturing. It combines the passion of red and the purity of the color white to create a color that brands like Victoria’s Secret and Barbie use to attract female consumers. Pink is also known as a color of optimism. If you’ve heard of someone always seeing things through “rose-colored glasses,” it means that they’re usually being overly or unrealistically optimistic, which can be seen as naive. However, too much pink can be seen as kind of emasculating and physically draining.


The color orange, my favorite color of all time, represents comfort, warmth, encouragement, creativity, and playfulness. This combination of red’s passion and yellow’s happiness was truly the perfect choice for Nickelodeon’s branding as it can genuinely bring a smile to someone’s face. Orange has also been proven to increase one’s oxygen supply and stimulate brain activity. Crazy, right? I love orange for its vibrancy and its feeling of warmth and home. On the other hand, using too much orange can be seen as immature or as a lack of intellect.


Yellow is the color of confidence, happiness, optimism, and sunshine! It’s smart to use yellow for branding when you want something to catch someone’s eye because the brain sees yellow first. It also stimulates the left side of the brain and causes clear thinking and quick decision making. However, yellow isn’t used too often, especially when marketing luxurious items, because it can be seen as childish to men. The negative connotations of yellow include the feelings of anxiety, emotional fragility, warnings, and instability.


Green, as seen in the photos above, is mainly known for nature, as well as growth, life, health, and peace. I was shocked, but not completely surprised to find out that green is the kindest color to the eyes and can even improve vision. The negative connotations of green include envy, boredom, and being materiali$tic.


When it comes to the color blue, we see it in our daily lives more than almost any other color. It is known for making consumers feel as though they can trust the brands they’re seeing. Blue is also known for displaying tranquility and serenity, which makes sense due to the calming affects of the sea and watching the clouds. It was proven in a research study that blue is actually America’s favorite color, followed by green, purple, and then red. Blue can be seen negatively as it can sometimes represent coldness or depression.


The stability of blue and the passion of red come together to give us the spiritual color of purple. Purple also represents reflection, self-awareness, and royalty. It is also seen as an introverted color. Fun fact: 75% of pre-adolescent children choose purple over every other color. The negatives of purple include suppreesion, introversion, decadence, and inferiority.


When it comes to brown, it’s known as a color that represents things in a natural light. I love this and I love the color brown and I especially love it on brown people. I think it gives off a sense of honesty, safety, and a slight confidence. On the other hand, brown can be seen as dull and unsophisticated.


The most common and versatile color (in my opinion) is black and represents so many different things that it’ll literally make your head spin. On one hand, it’s seen as dark, evil, intimidating, and secretive. On the other, it’s seen as sexy, sophisticated, powerful, and mysterious. While doing my research, I found it funny that the color black can represent so many different views compared to the treatment of black people, who are usually shown as one sided individuals. In reality, black people are just as diverse and versatile as the color they’ve been named after. It made me wonder: if the psychology of color can get behind the versatility of the color black, why can’t people understand the versatility of black people? But maybe I’m thinking too deep into it.


Lastly, white is widely known for depicting cleanliness, purity, innocence, perfection, and goodness. While it is a color that seems to be free of all the heavy connotations of “evil,” “passion,” “trust,” etc, I think it’s odd for those to be its psychological meaning considering all that white people have done to people of color around the world. Nevertheless, using color as a descriptor for people doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to act according to our assigned color. White can be seen negatively in terms of elitism, coldness, and sterility.

Like I said at the start of our color journey, color is one of my favorite things about damn near anything and I love that there’s meaning behind each one. What’s your favorite color and what does it represent to you?


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