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The Psychology of Color: How Color Affects Human Behavior

  • Color evoke certain responses from their audience. Interior designers, advertisers and others select colors based on how they are believed to affect people.
  • Color Psychology - color affects mood and behavior, is a relatively new science, and determining the effects, if any, of color has been difficult.
  • Color itself is not simple. Hue, saturation and brightness must all be accounted for.
  • Warm and Cool Colors - Colors at the red end of the spectrum are considered to be "warm" colors, while those in the blue range are "cool".
  • Warm colors are generally seen as more stimulating than cool ones, which are believed to be calming. Softer shades are more soothing.
  • Color Meanings
  • Red: represents danger, warning, or error, but also warmth, love, passion, and intense emotion. Can also symbolize bravery, war, or blood.
  • Pink: the lighter shade of red represents love and romance, as well as femininity. Pink is generally considered to have a calming effect.
  • Yellow: this bright, attention-getting color is seen as a sunny, happy color. Yellow is also the most fatiguing color to the eye.
  • Blue: seen as having a calming effect. Darker shades of blue (as in police uniforms and business suits) may suggest reliability and security.
  • Orange: being a combination of yellow and red, orange is also a warm, stimulating and attention-getting color.
  • Brown: darker shades of red, yellow and orange are warm, but less stimulating. These earthy colors can suggest strength and security.
  • Green: this color is generally a physically soothing color that may simultaneously produce an emotional lift. Green is the color most associated with nature.
  • Purple: associated with royalty, wealth, and luxury, as well as spirituality and wisdom. Purple can seem exotic, but sometimes overly so.
  • White: represents purity, innocence, and goodness. White makes a room seem brighter and more spacious, but too much white can have a sterile, cold effect.
  • Black: represents death, mourning, and evil (think Darth Vader), but also sophistication, as in formal wear, and authority, as in a judge's robe.
  • Gray: literally a "middle-of-the-road" color, gray is a practical, timeless color, but also dull or even depressing when used in excess.

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