Our moods can be affected by so many things. A melancholy song, the weather, or even a smell. While many of these mood influencers can be clear as day, one of the biggest subconscious influencers is color.
Remember the mood rings that were all the rage in the early 90’s? Well as it turns out there is some logic to the color-changing fad. Certain colors are psychologically associated with certain moods/reactions. Therefore when we perceive something (a logo perhaps) as “too cold” or “too vibrant” its often the color that is psychologically causing that perception. It can be quite a powerful tool in branding. This is why we often present first round designs in black and white. We want to avoid the negative or biased affects that color can have on the client.
Color is even being used more prevalently in the treatment of those with mental health challenges. Waiting room paint chips are now being carefully considered and art therapy is becoming a staple in community mental health centers. Chromotherapy, or the use of color to heal, while a holistic or alternative treatment method has promise for those willing to accept its power.
So how is our mood affected by the different colors?
- Red, an emotionally intense color, signifies passion, power, strength, desire and love. Red grabs our attention. This is why a lot of food is packaged in red (Thanks a lot, Coca Cola! You’ve got me hooked.) Red can also reflect danger or anger if the wrong tone is used.
- Orange (one of dRC’s brand colors) brings out a cheerful and friendly mood. It is also one of the least liked colors by women.
- Yellow is an optimistic color that demands attention. Yellow represents happiness, joy and energy. However, it can be overpowering if used incorrectly and it is the most difficult color for the eye adjust to.
- Green symbolizes growth, renewed life, and is relaxing in the right shades. Darker greens are often perceived as more conservative, implying power and wealth. Unlike yellow, green is the easiest color for the eye to pick up.
- Blue is a tranquil, peaceful color that has tremendous calming effects. While some may view it as cold or depressing, the right shade of blue can represent loyalty, trust, and strength.
- Purple is both sophisticated and luxurious. Feminine and romantic in certain shades, purple also signifies ambition and wealth. It also stimulates creativity.
- Black (my personal favorite color) is dramatic and powerful. Black can cause us to be cautious as it also represents mystery and protection.
- White is refreshing, clean and pure. White can bring to mind the idea that something is sterile, so it should be used in the right setting.
With that being said, I have learned a lot from Chad, who insists it is the use of a color that truly makes the difference, not just the color selection. The tints, tones, contrast, and combinations all affect our mood and perception. Its is not just strictly black and white when it comes to the power of color!
Here are some quick suggestions for mood boosters:
- Wake up stressed? Try wearing blue to work to help calm you throughout the day.
- Need something to shake you from an overcast Wednesday? Try changing your desktop background to a bright yellow or orange (bonus points for sunsets: yellow enhances concentration while orange makes you more cheerful).
- Writing up your grocery list for the week? Try using a green pen to signal health, and perhaps you will be encouraged to jot down more fruits and vegetables.
- Looking to get into the creative mindset during a brainstorm session? Try using purple post-it notes to organize your thoughts.