Color Me Happy

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Have you ever been green with envy or felt blue?


 All of us have heard these and other similar expressions before. These are just a few of the ways we have infused color into our language and related them to our emotions and how we feel. But, does color truly have an effect on our emotions? And why are most classroom walls and hospital room walls generally painted with neutral colors, such as beige, tan, light green, or light blue? Why are certain colors, most often bright, used in sports arenas? 

Color can change how heavy we perceive objects, time, climate, appetite, as well as many other things. Here are some of what these colors seem to mean or invoke: 

White = purity, simplicity, cleanness, coldness, unfriendliness and clarity; red = power, warmth, excitement, defiance, aggression and strength; pink = sensitivity and love, nurture, femininity, inhibition, physical weakness; orange = stimulation; yellow/gold = energy, optimism, confidence, creativity, friendliness, anxiety, fear, depression; green = harmony in mind, body, and soul, boredom, balance, refreshment, peace, blandness; blue = healing, intelligence, trust, logic, coldness, unfriendliness , and calmness; violet = spirituality; containment, luxury, inferiority  brown = earth like, seriousness, nature, support, lack of humor, dirty; and black = sophistication, glamour, security, oppression, heaviness, depression and seduction.

Color is also used greatly in advertising and all facets of marketing--the cover of a book, a website, or a logo design all us careful planning when picking colors. For example, this website, says  "The field of industrial psychology has a sub-field that studies only the psychology of color. It is no accident that Campbell's soup has used the same four colors on their labels for years and years. When I mentioned that product, I'll bet an image of that label popped into your head."

Here is an interesting video explaining more of the subject: 

Color in the environment may result in change in mood as well as affect performance in the work place.  A red office is more stimulating, may cause vigor, anger, or tension in a worker. However, on the positive side, performance can also be increased. On the other hand, a blue office may cause greater depression, as well as sadness, fatigue, or relaxation but can also increase creativity. 


 This is because warm colors such as red have a longer wavelength and are thus more stimulating, while cool colors such as blue have a shorter wavelength and are thus more sedative. There are many other colors that affect mood, such as pink, white, green, and violet. Moreover, while some students claim that a white office is appropriate and not distracting, it is in fact the opposite. Workers in a white office often complained of more headaches and instances of nausea than workers in red or blue offices. 

Color definitely affects mood, yet the extent and details are still very unclear.

1 Comment

I love this post! This is such an interesting idea that can have so many implications on our lives. The first connection I made when reading this article was to the weather. When the weather is nice (blue sky, bright yellow sun, white whisps of clouds,) people tend to feel happy and content. When the weather is gloomy (dark gray, dark blue, sometimes black,) people tend to feel sad or as you opened your post with, blue. I know there is a scientific explanation for how the weather effects us, but I wouldn't be surprised if it had anything to do with the colors.
The other thought that this post triggered in me was the idea that businesses and corporations have another means of manipulating our decision processes and how we form opinions. Just by choosing a certain color for an advertisement or painting the walls in a service industry store a certain color, they are subconsciously influencing our decisions. The following link describes how colors are commonly used in advertising.

Advertising's Use of Color

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