HOW COLOURS AFFECT US
We see the world through the looking glass of colour. Scientifically put, colour is nothing but the way our human eyes perceive light in its various wavelengths and frequencies. Yet, everything we see, feel and choose is based on colour choices. From colour therapy to colour psychology, a whole range of fields attempt to explain in simpler terms how different people, cultures and time periods have perceived colour. We use colour to distinguish and identify a variety of objects and, more importantly, indicate options and make choices. Colour, thus, influences our decisions. In the modern world, highly developed technologies have made it possible to match colour across different colour matching systems. This opens up a world of possibilities for matching and coordinating colour combinations.
Blue is the overwhelming “favorite colour”. Blue is seen as trustworthy, dependable and committed. The colour of sky and the ocean, blue is perceived as a constant in our lives. As the collective colour of the spirit, it invokes rest and can cause the body to produce chemicals that are calming; however not all blues are serene and sedate. Electric or brilliant blues become dynamic and dramatic, an engaging colour that expresses exhilaration. Some shades or the overuse of blue may come across as cold or uncaring. Blue is the least “gender specific” colour, having equal appeal to both men and women.
How blue affects us physically and mentally
- Calming and sedate
- Aids intuition
Green occupies more space in the spectrum visible to the human eye and is second only to blue as a favorite colour. Green is the pervasive colour in the natural world that is an ideal backdrop in interior design because we are so used to seeing it everywhere. The natural greens, from forest to lime, are seen as tranquil and refreshing, with a natural balance of cool and warm (blue and yellow) undertones. Green is considered the colour of peace and ecology. However, there is an “institutional” side to green, associated with illness or Government-issued documents that conjure up negative emotions as do the “slimy” or bilious greens.
How green affects us physically and mentally
- Relaxing mentally as well as physically
- Helps alleviate depression, nervousness and anxiety
- Offers a sense of renewal, self-control and harmony
Orange, a close relative of red, sparks more controversy than any other hue. There is usually strong positive or negative association to orange and true orange generally elicits a stronger “love it” or “hate it” response than other colours. Fun and flamboyant orange radiates warmth and energy. Interestingly, some of the tones of orange such as terra cotta, peach or rust have very broad appeal.
How orange affects us mentally and physically
- Stimulates activity, appetite
- Encourages socialization
Yellow shines with optimism, enlightenment, and happiness. Shades of golden yellow carry the promise of a positive future. Yellow will advance from surrounding colours and instill optimism and energy, as well as spark creative thoughts.
How yellow affects us mentally and physically
- Mentally stimulating
- Stimulates the nervous system
- Activates memory
- Encourages communication
Purple embodies the balance of red simulation and blue calm. This dichotomy can cause uneasiness unless the undertone is clearly defined at which point the purple takes on the characteristics of its undertone. With a sense of the mystic and royal qualities, purple is a colour often well liked by very creative or eccentric types and is the favorite colour of girls.
How purple affects us mentally and physically
- Calming to mind and nerves
- Offers a sense of spirituality
- Encourages creativity
Red has more personal associations than any other colour. Recognized as a stimulant, red is inherently exciting and the amount of red is directly related to the level of energy perceived. Red draws attention and a keen use of red as an accent can immediately focus attention on a particular element.
How red affects us mentally and physically
- Increases enthusiasm
- Stimulates energy
- Encourages action and confidence
- A sense of protection from fears and anxiety
White projects purity, cleanliness, and neutrality. Doctors white coats, brides traditionally wear white gowns and a white picket fence surrounds a safe and happy home.
How white affects us mentally and physically
- Aids mental clarity, fresh beginnings
- Encourages us to clear clutter or obstacles
- Evokes purification of thoughts or actions
Gray is timeless, practical, and solid. A longstanding favorite suit colour, gray can mix well with almost any colour. Although well liked and often worn, people rarely name gray as a favorite colour possibly because gray is also associated with loss or depression.
How gray affects us physically and mentally
Brown says stability, reliability, and approachability. It is the colour of our earth and is associated with all things natural or organic.
How brown affects us physically and mentally
- Feeling of wholesomeness
- Connection with the earth
- Offers a sense orderliness
Black is authoritative and powerful; because black can evoke strong emotions too much of it can be overwhelming. A classic colour for clothing possibly because it makes the wearer appear thinner and more sophisticated.
How black affects us physically and mentally
- feeling inconspicuous
- a restful emptiness
- mysterious evoking a sense of potential and possibility