Color Psychology – The Meaning Of Colors And Their Use In Therapy

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The meaning of colors and the way we perceive and use them had been studied and researched for centuries in lots of instructional fields along with psychology, art and structure. Everyday nature presents us with a big range of colorful options: we see blue, green and purple as primary coloration; white light mixes all three to create all the shades in the visible spectrum. Each of these hues has a strong psychological impact on human beings, making them sense satisfied, calm or unhappy primarily based on their belief of a specific hue. Our experience of coloration has a powerful effect on our day by day mind and feelings.

In recent years the usage of color therapy and the idea that the sense of color may be used therapeutically has grown rapidly. This article introduces readers to simple terms in shade psychology, what are some acknowledged associations between colors and their meanings, as well as distinctive approaches that positive colors may be beneficial in therapy sessions.

What is Color Theory?

Modern color theory is fundamentally the study of how colors interact with one another to produce harmony and aesthetic appeal.

The color wheel is where one should start when learning about color theory. Yellow, red, and blue are the three basic colors that anchor the wheel and are situated in opposition to one another. Secondary colors are created by combining the two primary colors on either side of the primary colors. Violet dwells between red and blue, orange between red and yellow, and green between blue and yellow.

The tertiary colors are the last group and are situated between the primary and secondary colors on the color wheel. By combining the nearby primary and secondary colors equally, tertiary colors are produced.

You can start to investigate how colors connect to one another if you have a firm grasp of the color wheel. Red and green are examples of complementary hues that are located opposite one another on the color wheel. Orange, yellow, and green are similar hues since they are close together. When building a space or producing a piece of art, color schemes that incorporate colors in specific relationships on the color wheel are harmonious and effective.

What is Color Psychology?

The subject of color psychology focuses on how different hues affect our feelings and actions. By using colors to affect people’s moods and thoughts, it can be used to assist people in therapy.

Psychovisual lability or photovisual lability is the term for the psychological impact that color has on other people’s emotions. The latter is derived from the Greek terms “mental” and “color,” respectively, in the word “psukhós” and “olaisárs” families.

Sir Isaac Newton, an English scientist, discovered in 1666 that white light, when passing through a prism, splits into all  visible tints. Newton discovered as well that each color is composed of a single wavelength and cannot be divided into additional hues.

Additional research revealed that other colors might be created by combining light.  For instance, orange is produced when red and yellow light are combined. When certain colors are combined, such as green and magenta, they neutralize each other and produce white light..

The idea of color psychology has gained popularity in a variety of fields, including marketing, art, design and others despite the general scarcity of studies in this field. However, several significant findings and observations concerning the psychology of color and its impact on emotions, feelings and actions has been realized by researchers and specialists. Much of the data in this developing field is anecdotal at best.

What are the origins of colors?

About 6,000 years ago, the semi-precious stone Lapis Lazuli was mined in ancient Egypt, giving rise to the color BLUE as we know it today. This implies that they possessed the power to make blue the dominant color in their universe. They could use blue dye to decorate monuments, clothes, and even their own faces. Additionally, this implies that their society had to create a language for discussing the variances in this pigment. Absolute Zero, a combination of blue and green that excludes red, is the rarest color of blue.

GREEN has a long history in apparel, dating back to ancient Mesopotamia. This time frame dates back 10,000 years. Ancient artwork from Egypt, Greece, and Rome also used green.

RED may be the oldest hue in human history, according to some. Red appears in some of our earliest instances of art, which date to 16,500 B.C. Ground red OCHRE was used by the prehistoric artisans to make their artworks. It wasn’t just a typical color at the time however. Paleolithic people exclusively utilized red as one of their colors. This is because red ochre could be easily made from raw materials.

Egypt is well known for its adoration of red ochre. The chemical was frequently used in lipstick by both men and women. Cleopatra, though, went above and beyond. She was renowned for applying pricey blue dyes to her face. However, she also had a special kind of lipstick that she produced herself using a wide range of materials. Even so, she added a tiny bit of red ochre to it to give it color.

Like red, the use of YELLOW stretches back to prehistoric times. Yellow has been utilized in murals in caves that date back at least 17,000 years. Surprisingly, this might continue unbroken into the contemporary period.

Yellow ochre was used as the dye in prehistoric cave paintings. Up until the 1920s, most modern nations employed this material extensively before artificially produced pigments were found to be more profitable.

Today, Halloween is frequently associated with the color ORANGE. However, it has a history that goes back far further than that festival. Once more, ancient Egypt is the source of some of the earliest orange-related artifacts. Europe had only known it as a subset of red prior to the importation of orange trees from Asia. Sarcoline, the rarest orange hue, is associated with pale skin with yellow undertones.

PURPLE has been around since the bronze period. The city of Tyre started creating a strikingly beautiful dye in the 14th century BC. This dye was made by Tyrians from a few different local shellfish. However, even a modest amount of purple color would need the utilization of thousands of mussels. According to legend, 10,000 mussels were required to produce just 1 gram of purple color. The dye was formerly worth three times its weight in gold, according to ancient accounts. Additionally, the cost of pre-dyed wool was roughly equal to its equivalent weight in gold. In other words, purple-dyed wool was literally worth its weight in gold.

WHITE light is not represented on the color wheel since it is not part of the visible spectrum, and the color wheel is based on Newton’s experiments with light. Technically speaking, it’s not even a hue, say scientists. It has been employed in artwork for ages. The widely available material limestone, which was ground to make a chalk for ancient civilizations to utilize in their cave paintings, provided the color for it.

BLACK may be found in a variety of rocks and minerals (diamond, onyx, jet, sapphire), as well as in flowers and plants (petunias, roses, tulips), animals (bears, birds, wild cats), and natural settings. Black is also present in black sand beaches, which are formed from eroded volcanic rock and mineral materials including lava, basalt, and other dark-colored rocks and minerals. As a result, the majority of these beaches are located close to volcanic activity areas. The darkest synthetic pigment is known as vantablack. The hue was created by Surrey Nanosystems for use in space exploration and absorbs practically all visible light. Ultra low reflectivity, UV absorption, and great thermal shock tolerance are among of its most remarkable characteristics. The aesthetic impact of vantablack is pretty impressive. Objects coated in vantablack appear two dimensional rather than painted.

How do we interpret individual colors?

A wave of color is always moving through space. Different colors are perceived by human eyes depending on the wavelength and the gap between the peaks, both measured in nanometers. With wavelengths roughly ranging from 380 to 740 nm, the visible light spectrum is a subset of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Photons that penetrate the retina are converted there into electrical impulses that then travel to the brain via electrochemical processes in the nerve cells. These responses are subsequently translated by the brain into the image that is presented outside of our bodies. When we observe and recognize a color, the process begins internally and is then projected outside.

Varied colors have different impacts depending on their wavelengths and intensities; they are linked to certain emotions, and these associations can change depending on culture and personal preference.In addition to emotional meanings, color perception is influenced by the viewer’s age, temperament, and mental health. Similar psychological traits frequently result in people seeing and appreciating the same colors. For example, it has been observed that individuals with schizophrenia have impaired color vision, and young toddlers who are just beginning to learn how to distinguish between colors frequently have a preference for the hues red or orange.

Black or very dark colors have a slimming or shrinking effect, as designers and decorators are well aware.

Rooms and objects that are white or light shades of “cool” colors (blues, greens, and greys) can appear larger than those that are intense dark or “warm” colors (red, orange, yellow, and brown).

A “warm” room painted in a vivid orange feels warmer than a “cool” room painted in a pale blue, which necessitates a higher thermostat setting. When witnessing a display of odd colors created by special lighting, viewers may experience headaches and nervous disorders; delicious, healthy food given in such settings is revolting and may even be unhealthy. The observer experiences pleasure when they see certain colors.

Affective contrast enhancement refers to the phenomenon where an affectively pleasing or perceived pleasing color is viewed following a less pleasing color and produces greater pleasure than when viewed alone.

Every aspect of color psychology, including color taxonomy, harmony, preferences, and symbolism, is greatly influenced by culture and varies widely depending on the geographic location and historical period.

Red is frequently thought of as a strong, vibrant hue that boosts energy. It frequently stands for fidelity, love, fertility, danger, retaliation, and rage. Red is believed to bring luck to marriages in China. After black and white, of course, it is one of the first colors that a baby can visually recognize. It is also a celebratory color for several religious festivities, and is frequently used around the Christmas season. It is considered to be the color of fire, heat, and, of course, blood in nature.

Pink symbolizes unconditional love, nurture, and kindness, as well as gluttony. A pink carnation conveys the message, “I won’t forget you.”

Orange is a happy color that is frequently used to signify warmth, happiness, innovation, creativity, and enthusiasm, but it is also frequently used to signify ignorance and insincerity. For instance, orange is regarded as the hue of transition in Confucianism. The name for orange actually comes from “saffron,” the most expensive pigment in the region, and is used in both India and China. Early 19th-century Western artists began to employ orange to convey a sense of warmth and excitement, and many of the most well-known Impressionist landscape paintings prominently display the color.

The most powerful and brightest pigment is yellow, which is also the hue most associated with happiness and optimism in the visible spectrum. It stands for optimism, happiness, friendship, intelligence, and creativity, as well as fear and anxiety. This most opposing of colors has traditionally been connected to timidity and has been associated with anti-Semitism since the 8th century. Yellow was the color of unbelievers, hence the Caliph of Medina compelled Jews and Christians to wear badges because of this. This custom spread via Edward I (who gave Jews yellow patches), all the way to Nazi Germany’s yellow stars. However, the yellow ribbon, which originated with the women’s suffrage movement in Kansas in 1867, is also the color of defiance (they chose yellow because the sunflower was the state flower).

The color green is peaceful and frequently used to denote nature, tranquility, and relaxation, but in recent years it has also come to have some more negative meanings, such as envy, poison, disease, inexperience, and jealousy. Business gurus advise us to wear green clothing during interviews and meetings because it gives us a more confident appearance and makes us feel more financially prosperous in American culture. Green is symbolic of the soil and fertility in India. It represents hope in Christianity as well.

Blue is frequently thought of as a calming color that encourages tranquility and quiet. Additionally, it is said to help meditation and relaxation. The color is associated with efficiency, reason, calmness, and mental clarity as well as sadness and coldness.

Purple is frequently thought of as a rich, romantic color that denotes luxury, wisdom, and curiosity as well as extravagance and moodiness. Darker colors might indicate melancholy and annoyance whereas lighter colors conjure sentiments of femininity or romance. Some people might relate the color purple to the universe, space, or time.

White is the color of innocence, simplicity, independence, and purity. Blue was originally a typical hue worn by brides to indicate purity, whereas a bride wearing white was frequently believed to convey the bride’s virginity. It is described as being both bright and as being chilly, bland, indecisive, and sterile. Completely white rooms can appear large but are actually cold and uninviting. White is used by hospitals and hospital staff to convey a feeling of sterility. Another meaning of the color white is austerity and minimalism. In China, it is used to represent mourning and death.

In addition to being a color associated with death, mourning, malice, heaviness, depression, and evil, black is also a color of strength, mystery, sophistication, and elegance. In the period of time when they are transitioning from the innocence of childhood to the complexity of adulthood, teenagers frequently feel a psychological desire to dress in black. Due to its association with the water element in feng shui, it has a way of harmonizing a home, office, and other places.

What is Color-branding and how are colors used for marketing purposes?

The user experience can be enhanced and desired actions can be greatly increased by clever use of color (including conversion rates). Color and human emotions are linked psychologically, and this relationship can affect marketing. Choosing the proper colors for your marketing efforts can influence clients’ emotions and encourage them to buy your product or learn more about it. You can create a brand that will stand out in the marketplace and elicit favorable responses from your target market by understanding the emotions that each color is linked with.

Shapes and colors communicate effectively when used together. Here are some illustrations. Look at the laundry detergent hues the next time you’re in a grocery shop. The vast majority are orange and blue. Orange represents vibrant vitality, and blue represents cleanliness.Consequently, a blue and orange box would make “industrial strength cleaning power” quite evident.

An further illustration of color branding is in cigarette packaging. Observe how each menthol brand uses a unique shade of green to set itself apart from tobacco’s natural flavor. The use of the word “light” to suggest that some cigarettes are safer than others is now prohibited by new tobacco legislation in the United States, thus cigarette manufacturers are utilizing gold, silver, and lighter colors to get around the rule.

Australia will be the first nation to mandate the sale of tobacco products in unmarked packaging. In all of the nation, the new law will go into effect in December 2012. Other nations’ legislation can call for drab olive-brown packaging or gruesome depictions of health concerns.

Some brands defy color conventions. The magenta (hot pink) hue offered by T-Mobile stands out in the congested cellular communications market. Risky, yet it is successful in giving the brands their own individuality.

Football team uniform colors serve as branding pictures as well. However, the colors can be severely off at times. One of the worst football uniform colors in collegiate football, for instance, was Wyoming’s. (Source) Why do you believe it’s so difficult for people to embrace the color brown as a sports uniform? It functions for UPS. Here is a tip: The most potent color on the color wheel is not brown. It lacks energy yet is as steady as Mother Earth.

Several factors make brand color psychology crucial, including the following:

  • As marketing professionals employ a range of tools to create a strategy, color psychology is one additional tool that can help with a company’s branding. This empowers marketing teams.
  • As a brand becomes more well-known, consumers start to connect its colors and logo with the actual goods they purchase. This helps to build a brand’s reputation over time.
  • Using the appropriate colors in your marketing materials can draw attention to your content, pique readers’ interests, and persuade them to read more. This makes your brand stand out.

Advantage of Color Psychology

To draw in your target audience, improve their view of your brand, and use color to express a certain picture or message, it’s critical to understand how brand color psychology functions. The following are some advantages of color psychology:

1) Improved recognition: Your target audience may more readily recognize your brand’s image or comprehend the messages you’re seeking to express if you employ specific colors to portray certain messages. Customers may be more inclined to buy your items or commodities as they get more familiar with your brand.

2) Enhanced customer connection: Customers, whether existing or future, may react differently to different hues. Customers may buy from you if you employ color schemes to make them feel joyful, nostalgic, or thrilled.

3) Positive brand perception: The choice of color can alter how favourably buyers see your brand. Having understandable and visually appealing information may also make it seem more professional.

Colors convey about you

The choice of colors when shopping can reveal something about the type of image you are trying to convey. From the clothes you wear to the car you drive, color preferences can sometimes dictate how we want others to see us. The colors we choose to wear can also be influenced by other aspects like age and gender.

White: It can have a crisp, clean feel about it. The hue is frequently employed to conjure feelings of youth and modernism.

Black: Many people think of black as being “powerful,” which could explain why it’s the most common color for luxury cars. The hue is frequently described as sensual, strong, and intriguing.

Silver: The third most popular color for car exteriors and is associated with modernity and innovation. Silver is frequently used in high-tech products, making the hue associated with things that are contemporary, cutting-edge, and fresh.

Red: Rred is a striking, attention-grabbing hue, favoring this kind of vehicle may indicate that you want to convey an air of strength, movement, and confidence.

Blue: Blue is frequently referred to as the color of security and stability. Driving a blue car or SUV could be a sign of dependability and reliability.

Yellow: Driving a yellow car, say the experts, could indicate that you are a generally happy person who is perhaps a little more willing than the typical person to take risks.

Gray: According to the experts, those who drive gray vehicles desire something a little more understated and don’t want to stand out.

Of course, factors like cost, availability, and other practical considerations frequently have an impact on the colors we choose. Additionally, people’s preferences for colors might alter over time. When a person is younger, they could choose bolder, more attention-grabbing colors, but as they age, they might find themselves drawn to more subdued hues. Although the buyer’s personality can have a significant impact on color choice, buyers are frequently greatly influenced by elements like price and availability.

For instance, choosing a white car may have less to do with wanting others to perceive you as young and hip and more to do with the type of environment you live in; people who reside in warm climates typically favor light-colored cars over dark ones.

What is Chromotherapy?

Chromotherapy, or the use of colors to heal, was used by many prehistoric societies, including the Egyptians and the Chinese. It is also referred to as color therapy, color light therapy, and chromology, and is a complementary holistic therapy that makes use of different colors of light to balance the body’s energy levels. This can be done by simply looking at the color or by directing the color of light to particular parts of the body.

Utilizing the advantages of exposure to the light spectrum, chromotherapy alters the biochemistry of the body and brain. Sleep is better, mood is stable, and skin is renewed. The magic starts to happen on a physiological level when this technology is paired with the therapeutic advantages of infrared sauna therapy.

There are primarily two applications for color therapy: contrast and harmonies. When colors are utilized together to produce a peaceful and pleasant effect, whether they are complementary or similar, it is said to be in harmony. When using contrary hues or opposite tones of the same color to provide a more enticing and stimulating impact, this is known as contrast. In this procedure:

Red is utilized to energize the body and mind and to promote blood flow. It is the hue of the Root (Base) chakra and aids in bringing sexual and bodily energies into harmony.

Pink is beneficial throughout both pregnancy and childbirth.

Yellow is a color associated with the Solar Plexus chakra and is said to energize the nervous system and detoxify the body.

Orange is used to increase energy levels and heal the lungs.. It represents the sacral chakra and promotes sexual wellness.

Blue is thought to relieve pain, ease disease, and provide restful dreams. It stands in for the Third Eye chakra.

Shades of indigo are said to help with skin issues.

The Third Eye and Crown chakras are mostly represented by the hues purple and violet. They are believed to reduce tension and facilitate the onset of meditative states.

In place of other hues, white is utilized to create harmony and is thought to have therapeutic effects.

Gray encourages self-control and is connected to the Root chakra.

Black is a hue associated with the Root chakra and can be used to support someone who is grieving. A diet heavy in black might lead to depression, mood instability, and create a negative environment.


Although the psychological effects of colors are still being studied and debated, there is no doubt that they can have a profound impact on our emotions and behavior. By understanding the meaning of colors, we can use them to our advantage in therapy and other areas of life. So, next time you see a color that catches your eye, take a moment to consider what it might be saying to you.

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