Why does colour have such an impact in our lives and how we feel?  What effects can it have on our bodies and minds?

“Colours, like features, follow the changes of the emotions,” the artist Pablo Picasso once remarked.

Colours can make us feel happy or sad and they can make us feel hungry or relaxed.  Your feelings about colour can often be deeply personal and rooted in your own experiences.

In general, colours in the red area of the colour spectrum are known as warm colors and include red, orange, and yellow.

These warm colors can bring on emotions ranging from feelings of warmth and comfort to feelings of anger and hostility. 

Colours on the blue side of the spectrum are known as cool colours and include blue, purple, and green. These are often described as calm but can also bring feelings of sadness or indifference – think of the saying “he has the blues”.

Interior designers have long believed that colour can dramatically affect moods, feelings, and emotions and it is not a coincidence that certain colours are used when they are designing shops, supermarkets etc.

Let’s look at individual colours and what they mean and represent, although interestingly depending on our culture and country, the meanings change.

Yellow makes you feel happy and vibrant.

Liveliness, comfort, energy, happiness, summer, comfort, intellect, optimism, hunger.

In Eastern culture it represents wisdom and is imperial and sacred.

Orange makes you feel energized and happy.

Creativity, stimulation, enthusiasm, affordability, cheerfulness, food, aggression and of course Halloween.

In Eastern countries – happiness and spirituality.

Red makes you feel passionate and energized.

Warmth, love, danger, excitement, speed, energy, desire, passion, courage.

In Eastern culture it means luck, prosperity, happiness, power, long life and fertility. In some African countries it represents mourning.

Pink makes you feel romantic and feminine.

Caring, feminine, love, nurturing.

In Eastern cultures it varies – in Korea, it’s trust.  In other countries, it is considered feminine –maybe why for years the Chinese did not recognize pink as a colour.

Blue makes you feel calm.

Trust, honour, reliability, professionalism, peace, calm, stability, loyalty, coldness, melancholia (got the blues)

In the East, it relates to wealth, privilege but also mourning.

Purple makes you feel elegant and creative.

Regal, royal, elegance, sophistication, luxury, mystery, magic.

In Eastern countries it also relates to wealth and privilege but also mourning.

Green makes you feel optimistic.

Reliability, optimism, environmental, healing, wellbeing, calm, relaxation, safety, harmony, freshness.

In the Far East, it relates to hope, new beginnings, fertility and birth. In the Middle East, it represents strength, luck and fertility. But in South America, it represents death.

Brown makes you feel grounded and secure.

Casual, confident, earthy, reliable, genuine, reassuring, nature and not surprisingly Autumn

In Eastern countries it relates to the earth and also mourning

Black makes you feel protected and sophisticated.

Power, sophistication, strength, elegance but also depression, morbidity, death and night.

 In Easter countries, it relates to wealth and prosperity but in Thailand it means bad luck.

White makes you feel confident and optimistic.

Purity, peace, innocence, simplicity, newness, cold and snow.

 In Eastern regions, it relates to death, funerals and sadness.

You can see why supermarkets and most businesses think carefully about the colours they use.  It’s not without reason and a well-documented fact, that MacDonald’s colours have been chosen for good reason. Yellow = hunger and red = speed, i.e. fast food.

Knowledge is useful. You won’t want to turn up for a funeral in the Middle East wearing black, which although represents wealth, it also represents mystery and evil. The colour for mourning there is white so you could make a big mistake.

Overall, colours and emotions are linked and now you know how they are linked, you can choose the colour of your outfit, or your business, depending on how you feel and what result you are looking for.

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