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Color psychology: meanings and characteristics of colors

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Colors have a significant influence on mood. This is what psychological studies on the subject conclude, and it is that colors affect the way we perceive the environment. The psychology of color also gives meanings and characteristics to colors.

Beyond the instinctive response, there is also a lot of subjectivity and symbolism in the matter. The truth is that there is an attribution on the meaning of colors that depends on the culture. Each color has a symbolic charge with its history, and to a greater or lesser extent everyone infers its meaning.

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Color psychology: meanings and characteristics of colors

Color is very important for many economic sectors related to image. Company logos, interior decoration or clothing design are influenced by the psychology of color. This field knows what each color means, symbolizes, transmits and provokes.

It is for this reason that everything related to design, advertising, architecture, fashion or marketing takes colors into great consideration. Color psychology takes into account the meanings and characteristics of colors. Depending on the context, these meanings may change, but are generally well established.

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1. Red

The color red is used in marketing and advertising to attract attention. It is undoubtedly an intense color that stands out, so it is widely used when it is required to highlight any attribute of a product.

Within the psychology of color, the meaning of red is linked to love, passion and intensity. It can also be a bit aggressive in certain contexts, so in logos it is used in combination with more neutral tones. It encourages impulse purchases and enhances the excitement associated with possession.

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2. Blue

Blue represents fidelity, purity and stability. For this reason, blue is also one of the most used colors in logos. It is used especially in companies that want to convey serenity, stability and formality. The psychology of color gives meanings linked to characteristics related to wisdom.

In addition, it is a spiritual color, especially in softer tones. On the other hand, blue has been proven to help suppress appetite, so it is not recommended to use it a lot in food or restaurants. It also transmits tranquility, and in combination with white or green, it reinforces harmony and peace.

3. Green

Green conveys renewal and is also related to nature and ecology. If an opaque green is used it can also represent money and financial fortune. It is also associated with freshness, which is why it is widely used in new brand logos.

In interior design, green is used in spaces where you want to be in tranquility. Instead, in marketing it is used to highlight the ecological and sustainable. Another meaning of green is that of rebirth and hope, so wearing green in difficult times can be helpful.

4. Orange

The color orange is considered an optimism linked color. This color has several meanings, all associated with energy, enthusiasm and joy. It is also related to appetite, which is why it is widely used in food labeling and logos of companies in the food sector.

A deep shade of orange can be aggressive, and if it is too intense it does not cause the desired effect in some cases. In advertising it is generally used to motivate the purchase, so it is a favorite in this field.

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5. Yellow

Yellow represents youth, creativity and optimism. It is a color that is used for dynamic, active, happy spaces that have to do with young people. In clothing it is a very striking color that shows confidence, creativity and enthusiasm.

It is also linked to summer, as it is the color that is most associated with the sun. On the other hand, it is also culturally linked to bad luck. This is because an actor once died wearing a yellow suit.

6. White

White is one of the colors with the most meanings. For the psychology of color there are meanings linked to characteristics related to peace, spirituality, innocence, peace, tranquility and perfection.

The color white is also used to give a feeling of spaciousness in architectural spaces. It manages to transmit more light and is also a symbol of honesty and neatness. In marketing it is used to convey harmony, peace, transparency and spirituality.

7. Black

The black color conveys elegance but also mourning and mystery. It is a color that also has many different meanings. In some areas it symbolizes power, authoritarianism or firmness. On a practical level, it is also used to balance a very intense color such as yellow or orange.

Logos and companies, as well as the world of fashion, use it to convey elegance. It should be used carefully so as not to convey the opposite message, as it is closely related to death and the occult.

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8. rose

Pink is related to tenderness, although it can also have a childish connotation. It is a color widely used in marketing when you want to evoke childhood and the most tender emotions.

Culturally it is also associated with the feminine, with friendship and pure love. Sweetness and delicacy are associated with this color, which is widely used in clothing or accessories to convey self-care.

9. Gray

Gray is a color that represents toughness, but also other attributes. The meaning and characteristics that are given to it from the psychology of color are associated with elegance, peace, tranquility and formality. For these reasons it is a color that is used a lot in large companies.

In the world of design it is widely used to convey this message of stability and formality. However, in advertising it is used very sparingly, as it can convey a message of boredom and opacity.

10. Purple

Purple is a color with a wide range of meanings. Depending on the tone and the elements that accompany it, purple symbolizes spirituality, sophistication, elegance, calm and mystery. It is also associated with wisdom.

In architectural spaces it is generally not recommended, since it can saturate a space. However, it can give a lot of vitality in certain contexts or combined with other colors. On the other hand, it has been used a lot to promote products related to feminine care and cosmetics.

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Bibliographic references

  • Heller, E. (2008). Color psychology. Barcelona: Gustavo Gilli SA.

  • Richard, L.G. (1997). Eye and Brain: The psychology of seeing. Princeton University Press.

  • Sepper, D.L. (2003). Goethe vs. Newton: Polemics and the Project for a New Science of Color. Cambridge University Press.

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