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THE PSYCHOLOGY OF COLORS

85% of Human communication is visual. And what more aspect


of visual communication can deliver excitement and variety
than Color?

The Rainbow (The Universal intro to the Visible Spectrum)


Most people believe that the only colors of a rainbow are red, orange,
yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet, but a rainbow is actually made
up of an entire continuum of colors – even colors the eye can’t see!

A designer should not use color without a specific plan or goal.


Here are some of color’s principle uses:

o Conveying emotion and meaning


o Changing perception of space
o Changing apparent size
o Showing similarities and differences
o Parsing the visual field into chunks
o Linking spatially separated objects together
o Attracting attention
o Creating emphasis
o Smoothing to improve image quality
o Creating aesthetic and emotional appeal

What are some common mistakes in color usage?

o Using insufficient brightness contrast. This is the biggest sin,by far.


o Paying attention only to aesthetics
o Using color for color’s sake without a specific plan or color scheme.
o Assigning different colors to the same type of the same color to
different types
o Using hue to represent a quantitative continuum
o Creating large fields of saturated color
o Using too many colors

How does color convey meaning?


OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Agency), for example, has
standardized

o RED: danger
o ORANGE: warning
o YELLOW: caution
o BLUE: notice
o GREEN: safety
Moreover, the CIE even specified the parts of color space which should
be used for each color signal. However, these associations of color and
meaning may be culture specific and should be used with care.

The association of mood or feeling with color is uniquely human. For


most people, different colors represent different moods. However,
common associations stemming from tradition, nature and personal
experiences include:
RED ORANGE YELLOW GREEN BLUE INDIGO PURPLE BLACK WHITE

Nature Fire/Bloo Sun/Day Stars Earth Water Clouds Moon/Night Air/Snow


d Trees
Anatomy Base of Genitals Stomach Throat Brain Crown Disease Base of
Spine Spine
Natural Warmth Homey Brightnes Natural Solid Meditativ Wealth & Compose
Harmony s e Status d
Physical Stimulati Revitalizing Restful Restfu Sedate
Effect ng l (lt
blue)
Emotional Revitalizi Stimulation Restfu
Effect ng l
(peach)
Mental Stimulatio Revitalizi Restful
Effect n ng
(Emerald)
Spiritual Blood of Endurance Streets of Growth in Peace Fasting, Sin, Purity
Associatio Jesus and Strength Heaven our of the faith, Darkness
n relationsh Holy patience,
ip with Spirit trust
Jesus
Natural Warmth Homey Brightnes Natural Solid Super Meditativ Wealth & Compose
Harmony Heat Autumn s Health Truth Sensitiv e Status d
and Other Urgency Abundance Cowardic Environ- Dignit e Wealth Sophisticat Purity
Assocaitio Appetite Appetite e ment y Visionar Royalty ed Cleanline
ns Passion Communicati Harvest Money Power y Sophisti- Death ss
Masculini on Gold Vegetatio Cool- Aestheti cation Rebellion Lightness
ty Ambition Intelligen n ness c Intelligen Strength Emptines
Aggressio Generosity ce Fertility Pristin Abstract ce Sinister s
n Receptivity Youth Life e Inspired Religious Evil
War Hope Melan Telephat Femininit
Love -choly ic y
Heavi- Creative Lust
ness Penitence
Doubt Fantasy