Sunday, 22 January 2017

Colour Psychology

by Eleanor Barber


Le Chat Aux Poissons Rouges by Henri Matisse
Colours can affect the way we think and feel. This is why certain colours are used to show different things - red often implies danger, blue represents calmness. Banks often use blue to calm the people and signs are often red to warn people of potential dangers.

Our reaction to colours stems from our primitive instincts. Some people may think that colour is subjective which means that the accuracy would change for each person. However colour is not subjective, it is the response that is subjective. You could view blue as a colour that calming and soothing, where as others may view it as a cold and harsh colour. However, as humans we rely on the combination of colours to tell us about possible dangers. We can see dangers through the combination; for example if you saw a grey sky over a predominantly white and blue landscape you would be more tempted to stay inside compared to if you saw a blue sky over a colourful, flower filled landscape  you would be more tempted to go outside.  Blue is also predominantly associated with blue skies, which evolutionarily we associate with no storms arriving. This is why blue is often seen as a colour of stability and calmness.


Colours are often used in advertising to make people view the product in a certain way. We can also use colours to help us in our everyday life.  We can also use colour as a tool for learning. For example there are certain colours which can lead your brain to view things differently.


Red can draw your attention to something important or something that shouldn't be done (which is why it's often used to warn of danger). Orange can invite you to do something and prevents boredom. Yellow can highlight points that you need to remember and can stimulate mental activity.  Green can be restful for the eyes and can increase productivity. Blue can calm you when something seems to complicated. It can also make you feel more centred and relaxed. Purple can be associated with wisdom and prosperity.  

You are more likely to remember something if you see it in colour compared to in black and white. 

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