Color Psychology

April 29th, 2009


I couldn't end this month of color without devoting a bit of time to color psychology. It's not something I've studied all that much, but I always find it interesting to explore.

When you're thinking about what colors mean to you, I think it's worth it to do some exploration through journaling or art-making to discover what your own associations with color are. But if you want to explore what people in general feel about color, what affect colors have on the viewer, studying color psychology is a great way to dive in.

I don't think much about how the colors I chose for my art might affect my viewer, but I'm pleased to see that blues (which I use a lot of in my art) are calming and aid in intuition! I think part of my love of blue has to do with my love of water.

For more info on color psychology, Kate Smith has a great Squidoo page on the subject with links to loads of great articles she's posted in her website, Sensational Color and blog, Live in Full Color (so much delicious inspiration!)

What about how color influences what we buy? People interested in brand development or store (online or in person) design certainly keep this in mind. But it's also interesting to consider when setting up our own online shops and blogs. Here's a quick article on how color impacts the buyer and another on color psychology in marketing. I've read in a few different places that people are not fond of orange. But I like it.

This is just a jumping off point if you want to explore the subject more. I'm curious about what your associations with colors are. What are your favorite and least favorite colors and how do they make you feel? What memories do these colors hold for you? What happens when you create with colors that you love and colors that you avoid?

p.s. Remember that the 20% off coupon for my art shop is only valid through the end of the month! Type in springsale09 in the coupon code at checkout.

-Check out the the great list of "Online Communities to Liberate Your Closet Creative" at BitchBuzz! Creative Every Day is mentioned as is my pal, Jamie Ridler!

-Speaking of Jamie, be sure to check out her 4th Annual Shyne Like a Star Virtual Dance Party this Friday! Woohoo! I'll be joining in!

7 Responses

I’m adoring this post so much sweetie… mmmmm…. colours evoke so much energy and emotion and possibility.

I adore painting in the rainbow colours, the chakra colours, because it feels healing to look at.

And as you know ;) I have a secret love for cream too. Calming, peaceful, eggshell, womblike :)

biiiig hugs to you!

Ah colors! I love them all. I can’t think of a single color I can do without. I love an abundance of color, or color on black and white, I like being surprised by colors. I like wearing colors. I like colorful food. Did I mention I love colors? :)

I find the color and how it affects us a very interesting topic. Aprils theme of Color was very inspirational in my creations all month. I found myself drawn to colors I don’t usually use in my little world of art. Green being my favorite turned to aqua this month. Thanks for the fantastic links ~:o)
Have a wonderful day!


Lovely piece of art, thought-provoking links!

Interesting topic.

One of the papers I wrote as a grad student was on the psychology of color. I probably still have the paper buried somewhere in the attic, but the attic is full of so much junk I hate to confront it.

I have forgotten most of what I wrote (more than 30 years ago) but I do remember that color choices can actually have physical consequences. An experiment was done with boxes of exactly the same size/weight but colored in light or dark shades. At the end of a day, workers who lifted and carried navy blue boxes were exhausted, but not after doing the same with pale yellow ones.

There was also an incident at an art-related banquet where someone decided to liven up the food by adding bright colors. Many people refused to eat bright blue mashed potatoes and green gravy, while some who ate them became physically ill.

For a holiday party. my mother made red punch. To keep it cool, she made a wreath of ice by freezing water tinted with green food color in an ring mold. When she added it to the red punch, it was absolutely beautiful, but once the ice started to melt, the red & green mixture created a horrible gray shade that looked a lot like dirty scrub water. She quickly whisked the punch bowl from the table and made more, keeping it cold with plain ice cubes. She poured the gray punch into bottles which she stored in a refrigerator in the basement. For days, she tried to convince the family to drink it —there was nothing wrong with it except the color —but she was the only one that would touch it.

One exercise an art professor had us try was to chose two colors we absolutely hated together. Then we had to add a third color that made the three colors look good together. I found this exercise helpful in creating unusual color combinations that I wouldn’t have tried otherwise.

It is also interesting how different cultures view colors emotionally. In the U.S. we think of feeling blue as being sad. I lived in Brazil for a while where feeling blue means being happy.

Oh color is SO very strong. People wonder why I have a white house when I paint so cuz color is way too moody for me to have around in my day to day. I need calm, lol.
I love your blues in your work, always have.

Yes, personally I prefer Blue and orange ;)

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