Color psychology: meaning and curiosities of colors

the color psychology it is a field of study that aims to analyze the way we perceive and behave in different colors, as well as the emotions that these tones evoke in us.

There are some subjective aspects in color psychology, so keep in mind that there may be some variation in interpretation and meaning between cultures. Nonetheless, there are some accepted principles that we will review in this article that fundamentally apply to Western societies.

Color psychology: influence on emotions and mental state

Did you know that the colors around you can influence your emotions and your mental state? Did you know that certain nuances can irritate you or on the contrary relax and calm you? Well, know that the colors around you can have an effect on you.

This statement is not new. In fact, many companies design their logos with the colors they use in mind, as they send one message or another to the consumer. When decorating a store, the colors used are also appreciated, as it is almost necessary for people to feel the urge to shop when they are there. But it’s not just color psychology that is used to make economic profit.

In art therapy, color is associated with the emotions of the person and is a means of influencing the physical and mental state of the patient. For example, studies have shown that red increases heart rate, which in turn causes adrenaline to increase and makes people feel energetic and aroused.

    The psychology of color in everyday life

    And it is not uncommon to say that colors cause us an emotional effect. In fact, it is part of our everyday language. In other words, it is common to talk about warm colors, Like red, yellow or orange, which can cause different reactions, positive (heat) or negative (hostility and anger).

    Or on the contrary,we also generally speak of cold colors, Like green or blue, which often cause a feeling of calm but also sadness.

    Since we are all familiar with these concepts, color psychology is used in everyday life. For example, when you paint your house and think about what colors you want for your house, you will spend many hours there.

    When you do this, just consider how the different shades will make you feel: a stylish gray for the living room? Green cuisine associated with spring and freshness? Maybe you love yoga and meditation and want a clean room because you know it has a relaxing effect. These are just a few examples of how we use color psychology almost without realizing it.

    Emotional and psychological color marketing

    Perhaps the area in which color psychology is applied the most is marketing. It’s common to believe that the decisions we make when buying are based on rational analysis, but in many cases, it’s our emotions that decide for us.

    For a while. and when it comes to decision making, even modern neuroscience has focused only on the cognitive aspects of the brain, forgetting about emotions. All that changed with Antonio Damasio’s book titled “Descartes’ Mistake”. A highly recommended psychology text that provides scientific evidence on the importance of emotions in our decisions.

    And how do you touch the heart of the customer? Well by the senses, mainly by hearing and seeing. That is why when you walk into a fashion store it sounds like energetic music and you can enjoy a colorful ensemble and ensemble telling you “buy, buy, buy”. According to Color Marketing Group, a company that specializes in the use of color, nearly 85% of the reasons people choose one product over another are related to color perception.

    Color psychology is also applied to branding. Did you know that red stimulates the appetite? Well, that’s how it is, according to different surveys. No wonder well-known fast food chains like McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, KFC and Wendy’s use this color in their logos and facilities.

      The Symbolism of Colors and How They Affect the Human Mind

      The symbolism of colors is certainly ambiguous territory and that sometimes it is not at all accepted in the scientific field. As already mentioned, color has many readings depending on the context in question. However, below we will identify the most important colors with their more or less accepted meanings (at least in the West).


      In Western cultures (and also in some Eastern cultures, such as Hindu), the white color represents the pure and the innocent, As well as cleanliness, peace and virtue. In Eastern and African cultures, it is the color of death: the pure soul that goes away.


      Yellow represents light and gold. It is related to happiness, wealth, power, abundance, strength and action. However, researchers consider it to be one of the more ambiguous colors, as it also represents envy, anger, and betrayal. Excessive presence of intense yellow can irritate a person, as we are usually used to seeing it on relatively small areas.


      the Red it is associated with stimulation, passion, strength, revolution, virility and danger. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that red is the color of blood, which we also associate with a certain notion of vitality, aggressiveness and extreme sensations. It is one of the colors with the most consensus among experts and, in fact, dressing in this color makes us behave a little more assertively and outgoing.


      Orange is associated with enthusiasm and action. too much it can be related to lust and sensuality, to the divine and to exaltation. In the world of political marketing, it is often said that orange is the most optimistic color of all, at least in Western societies.


      blue it is the color of sky and water, and represents tranquility, freshness and intelligence. In the marketing world, it is used in many logos such as Facebook or Twitter. It is an elegant and corporate color, one of the most used by companies. It conveys confidence and purity.


      the green it represents youth, hope and a new life, but it also represents action and ecology. Interior designers agree that a room painted in soft green promotes relaxation and well-being.


      Purple is very popular in the marketing world, because it represents sophistication and elegance. In addition, this color is often associated with mystery, nostalgia and spirituality. It is a color widely used in anti-aging products precisely because of that touch of glamor that emerges.


      Pink is a color with well-defined attributes: it is the color of gentleness, delicacy, friendship and pure love. Our cultural heritage also associates it with the feminine.


      Gray has slightly different connotations depending on the culture. While some people perceive this color as indeterminacy or mediocrity, color psychology experts give it a different meaning:peace, tenacity and tranquility.


      black it has negative connotations because it is associated with death, evil or destruction. In ancient Egypt, on the other hand, it represented fertility and growth. Due to its relationship with darkness, black symbolizes mystery and the unknown. In the fashion world, black is the color of elegance, formality and sobriety.

      Bibliographical references:

      • De La Clau, A. (2018). We are Visual Arts I. Mexico: Cromberger.
      • Heller, Eva (2004). Psychology of color. How the colors act on the feelings and the reason. Ed. Gustavo Gili.
      • Hupka, Ralph B .; et al. (1997). “The Colors of Anger, Envy, Fear, and Jealousy: A Cross-Cultural Study.” Journal of Intercultural Psychology.

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