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Official Color-Emotion relations

Official Color-Emotion relations



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I'm trying to find colors that trigger different sort of emotions for people. I keep finding different answers for different colors.

Ex. Some say blue means friendly and calm. Others say that green means calm but not blue?

Is there an official chart for this that is backed up by research?


Edit:

I am a blogger so I am trying to analyze what colors I need to use in order for my audience to understand what I'm saying.


Another edit

I feel bad for not adding this. lol My blog is about learning how to blog and increasing traffic. I'm trying to learn more about color theory so that I know what colors to use to catch people's eye. Here are specific examples:

  1. Landing page color button
  2. Background colors to induce trust
  3. colors that try to show creativity

Does that help?


Not really, that would be too easy!

Because there are several factors which can influence the emotion from the color. I have several in mind:

  • One of them is cultural background, as norms and habits, and thus cultural value, meaning, may change between people for a same color (interindividual differences).

  • Another one is context, as color preference may be affected by the field where it's used. For a bold example, black color would look "nice" on a luxury ad, but not so much for an health communication (intrapersonal differences). See also Bonnardel, N., Piolat, A., & Le Bigot, L. (2011). The impact of colour websites on appealing and users' cognitive processes. Displays, 32, 2, 69-80.

  • And you also have physiological issues. Color perception is affected by surrounding other colors (see Johannes Itten). Therefore the emotion would change as well. As a result, it may be more relevant to elicit the emotional impact of a set of colors instead of one only. Also there are several strategies to make colors fit together.

  • Also in a physiological view, some people have color deficiency, and it may therefore affect their "emotional perception" (I don't have any reference on that, just a personal hypothesis).

So, what I would suggest is to test the emotions elicited by a specific set of colors, for a specific field/context, for a specific audience. You would therefore get some clues for those conditions.


"Color codes" would be most often arbitrary, or depend on culture. "Blue means friendly and calm " is absolutely arbitrary. Naturally, it does not mean we take the opposite for the "meaning". Colors are not words, and there is not any "official" or standardized color interpretation.

I simply like blue, but to think about it, I would say it has to be it makes a balanced impression on my retinas. And it is good for work with longer texts: a blue background and yellow font make a contrast comparable with that between black and white, on screen. Green is quite well-toned for backgrounds, too.

If you think about a website, white backgrounds with black font have more impact on the eye, so visitors might avoid prolonged exposure.


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How To Use Color Psychology To Give Your Business An Edge

Whether you’re wondering what color to paint the office, or you’re looking to redesign your retail space, the colors you choose can increase your chance of reaching your goals. Color greatly influences human emotion and behavior. If you’re hoping to make your workers more productive, or you want to encourage shoppers to spend money, understanding the basics of color psychology can help you design a space that will maximize your potential.

I interviewed Sally Augustin, Ph.D., to find out more about color psychology. Augustin is an environmental psychologist and internationally recognized expert on person-centered design. Augustin operates Design With Science, where she teaches individuals and businesses how to use color to their advantage.

English: Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Change People’s Perception of Temperature

The color of a wall can actually change how a person perceives the temperature, according to Augustin. Warm colors, such as orange, red and yellow can cause people to think the temperature in the room is warmer than it actually is. Cool colors, such as blue, green and light purple cause people to estimate the temperature is colder.

Business owners can use this to their advantage by saving on heating and cooling costs. For example, if you live in a cold environment, painting an entryway a warm color may cause people to think your establishment is a few degrees warmer than actually is. This may allow you to keep the temperature at a slightly lower setting.

Evoke Emotional Responses

Augustin states that color evokes similar emotional responses in most people. However, there aren’t always universal truths about color. People of different cultures may have different thoughts and emotions about certain colors. Also, a person’s past experience can affect feelings about a certain color. Augustin notes that she dislikes a particular shade of blue for example, because it reminds her of an allergy medicine she had to take as a child. Despite the exceptions, there are some basic generalities about how certain colors evoke specific emotional and behavioral responses.

Green Sparks Creativity

Research has linked green with broader thinking and more creative thought. People generally like green. “There seems to be a positive association between nature and regrowth,” notes Augustin. So if you want your employees to be more productive, consider painting work areas green.

Red Reduces Analytical Thinking

There’s a reason why red sports cars cost more to insure. When humans see the color red, their reactions become faster and more forceful. However, that boost of energy is likely to be short-lived and ultimately, red reduces analytical thinking. Augustin cites research conducted by Andrew Elliot, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, that shows athletes are more likely to lose when they compete against an opponent wearing red and students exposed to red before a test are likely to perform worse.

Although the research indicates that red can be helpful if you’re trying to attract a mate, it isn’t helpful if you need to stay on task. One possible reason why red makes it hard to concentrate, may be tied to a cultural-specific issue, says Augustin. Those of us who got a lot of answers wrong as children, may associate the color red with the red ink our teachers used to mark up our papers.

Blue is Most Accepted

When asked what their favorite color is, the most common answer around the world is blue. This may be because when our ancestors used to see blue – like a clear blue sky or a watering hole – it was a good sign, according to Augustin. Painting a common area of an office building blue is likely to satisfy the majority of people.

Yellow isn’t Usually a Hit

Avoid painting public spaces yellow because most people aren’t a fan of the color. However, the people who do like yellow, seem to have a huge preference for it, whereas most people only slightly favor one color over another. Overall, yellow remains the least likely favorite color for most people, so pick a different color if you want to appeal to the masses.

Orange is Associated with Good Value

People associate the color orange with a good value. The orange color in the Home Depot logo for example, helps customers view them as a low cost provider of valuable goods. Some high-end retailers have been able to overcome this association with orange and they’ve successfully incorporated orange into their brand.

There’s a reason some sports teams paint the opposing team's locker room pink – it’s known for draining people of their energy. Baker-Miller pink (the same color of Pepto-Bismol) calms people down for about 30 minutes, according to Augustin. Once people have remained calm for that time frame, they’re often able to remain in a calm state. This could be a great color for lawyers who are conducting mediation or a board room where conversations may get heated.

White May Lead to Boredom

White has a modern appeal. Apple , for example, has used white to brand their clean, sleek look. However, too much of a monochromatic look can cause people to reflect on their own thoughts, warns Augustin. A person shopping in a monochromatic store may become distracted from the task at-hand when their mind begins to wander because of the lack of stimulation.

One of the best things about color is that you can change wall color often. Think carefully before you paint your space about how you want people to feel and perform. Although the wall color can’t perform miracles, it can certainly give you a boost in the right direction.

Amy Morin is a psychotherapist and the author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, a bestselling book that is being translated into more than 20 languages.


Understanding Colour Psychology for Restaurants & Brands

Even in the food & hospitality industry, colour has a huge role in visual perception, emotion and human behaviour. I am so fascinated by this topic because it is interesting to understand our subconscious and how we react by the colours we see. Most people, including myself are unaware of how much a colour or ‘chromatics’ can influence reaction and triggers our appetites.

“we eat with our eyes.” “This makes colour critical in most every aspect of successful restaurant designs.” — Jackie Lohrey resource

In this post I go over basic colours t o help understand why colour is important for your brand, restaurant and recognition. Wether your choosing a colour for a logo, brand colours, the interior design of your restaurant or the design of your menu. This will give you a thorough understanding of which colours to use and which to steer clear from.

Psychological Properties: Red is known to stimulate and excite and relates closely to passion and energy.

In relation to food: Enhances the appetite, when we see red we get and energy boost, similarly this happens when we are ready to feast and neurons fire up in the hypothalamus part of the brain. Also known to heighten nerve impulses and increase heart rate.

Examples: Red is the most common and effective colour used in the food industry. For example when you look at many food corporations or fast-food chains the majority will have red in either their logo or variations of their brand essence. When you think food and the colour red you may associate it with tender meat, a juicy strawberry or even a sweet candy. Your mouth may just be watering right now.

Exceptions to the rule: Because red is such an intense colour it does happen to cause reaction much quicker than any other colour, causing impulse or urgent response. It has been tested that red table cloths will actually make a person eat more, but use the colour cautiously since too much of a good thing can be harmful.

Psychological Properties: Blue is generally used for corporate and conservative brands and is actually the most popular colour in America rated at 35% — according to Wikipedia. The colour represents security, and trust. But not necessarily the best choice for a restaurant.

In relation to food: Blue is actually known to suppress appetite and reduces hunger. Simply put: the most unappetizing colour.

Examples: The largest success in blue food over the past decade has been the introduction of the blue M&M. Yes it was a success, but would it work in anything other than blue candy? Highly unlikely other than a few exceptions. Blue is one of the most repulsive colours when it comes to food and will actually draw people away from eating. Why is this? Because blue is not commonly seen in food other than blue berries, Adirondack potatoes and most of the time reminds us of spoiled foods. Studies have shown that blue is just a turn off — it’s a human instinct I guess. Blue used in restaurants can also hinder a persons appetite though use of blue table cloths, blue walls and surroundings.

Exceptions to the rule: With a bit of optimism, blue can be used to it’s advantage. Have you seen the low calorie ‘blue label’ food packs in the stores? Utilizing the reaction people have towards the colour and using it to its advantage by hinting at weight lose or reduce appetite. Blue is also very common in seafood restaurants mainly to reflect the colour of the water. It screams fresh! Some honourable mentions: The Blue Goose brand which I feel plays on the idea that we should consider quality over quantity. And the grk brand which ties in very well with Greek culture.

Psychological Properties: Although they say never where orange to an interview because it makes you look unprofessional. Orange is also classified as energizing, bold, optimistic and fun, but should be used carefully as it has negative aspects that reflects immaturity and being superficial.

In relation to food: One thing that pops into our heads is probably orange juice, right? Orange encourages impulse and comes off to some as a comfort colour. Orange typically stimulates all senses which of course has a lot to do with the experience of a restaurant. It can encourage sales in all sorts of dining areas including cafes, bistros and diners, while stimulating appetite and conversation. If surrounded by the colour customers will eat, talk and spend longer time periods resulting in spending more money — since orange is associated with good value.

Examples: Tropicana and Fanta top the chart for obvious reasons. And brands like Home Depot is a great example because it is aligned with value.

Exception to the rule: There are some high-end brands that have dominated the market with an orange palette like Hermes (the high-end bag brand) or Veuve Clicquot, anyone? So there is much hope for orange after all!

Psychological Properties: Yellow often portrays happiness and can be an uplifting colour. Enthusiasm, optimism and youthfulness are also general associations. Be careful, as it can sometimes come off as inexpensive depending on how it is used.

In relation to food: Yellow can be commonly mistaken in the food industry, although it screams youthfulness this can sometimes be mistaken for being unsophisticated or naïve. Although yellow triggers the analytical side of our brains it looses touch with our creative side, which food is generally about creativity, no? Correct me if I am wrong. So an all yellow colour palette can be hard to trust as it encourages our analytical instinct and may result in lack of creative freedom. Although subtle tones like beige is more-so common in food as it relates more to the natural side of the yellow spectrum. Beige is found in natural foods, which gives off a earthy feel or even the morning sun.

Examples: They say yellow can cause uneasiness, which can benefit fast food restaurants who want fast customer turnaround. This can be established by painting the walls yellow or even making yellow a dominant brand colour. Although when used as a secondary colour in a logo — yellow is generally not much of a harm. Big Brands like Burger King, McDonalds, Subway or Lays are good examples.

Psychological Properties: Green has been used to portray wealth, relaxation, balance, harmony, nature, environment and creativity.

In relation to food: Green is commonly used in food because it is associated with being healthy, vegetarian, fresh and generally speaking: good taste.

Examples: Not only is there a plethora of green examples but sometimes they take on different meanings. Green encourages relaxation because of its correlation to nature. Starbucks, one of the largest coffee chains in the world has established it’s logo using primarily green. The Starbucks brand is subconsciously hinting to sit down and relax. Whole foods and Green Giant are two other great examples — they want to be seen as fresh and healthy. Even a lot of organic food brands use primarily green.

Psychological Properties: We associate pink with sincerity, calming, feminine and romantic.

In relation to food: Generally associated with sweet, pig skin or even a feminine brand. When you see food that is pink most of the time it is easy to think it is unnatural, and not so healthy. But it has calming and settling aspects which do well for the brand Pepto Bismol — mind you I wouldn’t consider it a food per say. So branding a restaurant in these colours may not be the best bet, unless your out to sell sweets or setting up a bakery.

Examples: Pink M&Ms, pop, candy, even pink lemonade. At Valentine’s Day, how much pink do you consume?

Psychological Properties: Having a classic appeal, black is commonly used to portray power, authority, strength and sophistication — although it can be somewhat of a cold colour.

In relation to food: Menu Engineer, Gregg Rapp has mentioned that black ink on white paper has the most contrast which means the menu is most legible. In a logo, black and white portrays the sense of simplicity and leaving colour out can give a chic feel.

Examples: A lot of the restaurants listed in the Worlds 50 Best have a black logo. Reason? Simplicity and sophistication. When speaking of black food, on the other hand may not necessarily come up as the most desirable colour — unless you happen to be visiting Burger King in Japan. Some of the top foods associated with black are black liquorice, squid ink pasta, kalamata olives, burnt ends, Jack Daniels and black rum. With the ever so popular rustic design in the food industry, black chalk boards are quite popular. Although try avoiding too much black in your environmental design, unless your a spin off concept of ‘Dinner in the Dark’ like o.noir in Toronto.

Psychological Properties: Solidarity, maturity and reliability — although if overused can give off a sense of depression and no emotion.

In relation to food: Straight out grey is not commonly used in food, grey is highly used in combination with accent colours that can be quite appealing, while in contrast. Seen mostly in packaging for teas, grey has a earthy tone to it and can be associated with natural ingredients. Have you ever served a dish on a stone like plate? Silver on the other hand is much more so popular, as it has representation of class, cleanliness — think of those stainless steel counters. I know I have seen it more times then not of silver bottles and tin packaging.

Examples: With grey, there were a few examples that stood out mainly as mentioned in tea packages, labels and in combination with other colours on menus. Silver on the other hand is widely seen in primarily packaging alcoholic and non. High end brands with high-end print.

Psychological Properties: Stimulates innocence, clarity, purity, hope.

In relation to food: White in restaurant design happens to neutralize food colours and contributes to glare. Although white space, on the other hand is very important in menu design as this contributes to effective legibility of a menu. When used properly white can give off a sense of cleanliness or clarity and is usually most popular as a secondary or accent colour. When plating, white space can accent a dish bringing focus to the food . Just Google ‘food presentation’ and you will see what I mean. Although, if overused things can become dull and pain so always be cautious.

Examples: The Burger’s Priest is a good example accented with black and yellow to give a sense of purity. White and negative space works well to accent the a primary colour in most brands. As mentioned black and white logos are very common when the brand is giving a sense of simplicity and sophistication.

Psychological Properties: Generally associated with royalty and lavish lifestyle. Some others: wisdom, respect, power, creativity, dignity and spirituality.

In relation to food: Purple although similar to blue is more — so tolerated, but not a fan favourite by any means. Purple is not very common in food brands or restaurants, but can pop up in foods like berries, wine, fruits and legumes. Oh, and we can’t forget our good ol’ Dairy Milk by Cadbury. They even trademarked the colour to be synonymous with their brand. Yup, they literally own Pantone 2685C.

Examples: Taco Bell is probably the most prominent purple logo in regards to large chains showing a contrast in the market. However I would question why Taco Bell rebranded to purple in 1995 and steer away from a great colour palette? I’m not really sure but they have recently brought out the ‘Cantina Menu’ with what seems to be a slight steer away from purple to a fresh green hue. In my opinion, Pepsico is testing the waters with a sub-brand and getting customers to think it has a healthy side — interesting to say the least.

Psychological Properties: Captures the feeling of being grounded, sincere, reliable, wholesome, comfortable and inexpensive.

In relation to food: Brown is associated with coffee shops, pastries and chocolate. Brown can also be used for organic presence, natural farming and can stimulate appetite.

Examples: Most of the time, organic food brands use brown along side green to associate fresh and natural. Brands that are highly recognized using brown include: Godiva, Hershey’s, Balzac’s and Second Cup — although they had a ‘test’ rebrand to a full black logo — wether they discard their brown logo is TBD.

Psychological Properties: Having a transparent or clear packaging is almost a dead give-away that a brand has nothing to hide. Clear resembles transparency, honest and in some cases healthy.

In relation to food: Not only does this apply to food but when you have a large open window to your restaurant this resembles a safe space and encourages you to look inside.

Examples: Over the past 50 years plastics have become a booming packaging source and it’s not going anywhere, anytime soon. Again plastic and clear packaging shows the essence of the product which can be very successful when displaying food.

Exception to the rule: Not all food is glamorous in transparent packaging. Just imaging it, refried beans in a clear container? Maybe not the best bet as it wouldn’t be appetizing to see brown mush — thankfully it comes in a can. So of course use only when it is best suitable.

Keep in mind that the state of a colour is very important. Whether it is a saturated, darkened, intensified or brightened. These variations of a pure state colour can largely effect its perceived intention. For example a beige (muted yellow) can be commonly found in breakfast restaurants to reflect the essence of morning — sun glow or even a leisurely relaxed atmosphere. Whereas, bold primary colours are often used in fast food restaurants, to encourage quick turnover.

When using multiple colour combinations, also consider that some may resonate with their original meaning but may alter if placed with a colour that off-puts its initial profile. Always consider your primary colour and your secondary/complimentary colour. It is great if they contrast or compliment one another.

Why is colour so important? Whether your a graphic designer or a restauranteur a specific colour palette will influence your audience and create a reaction. So picking the right colour is essential to getting the right audience and the right response. And a Restaurateurs objective is to gain returning customers and customers enjoy brand recognition — which is established well through colour.

Colours can determine the dining experience and can be subtly to extremely influential. Although as Wikipedia puts it: ‘the interface between colour and environmental stimuli is a highly complex interface and one which is open to the influence of a large number of factors’ — and although these are just guidelines to go by, it is still important to do research before picking your colour scheme because as we all know colour can be very subjective, so choose wisely.

Looking for a trending colour? Pantone every year comes out with a trending colour, so have a look on their website to check it out. But be sure it fits your strategy, trending colours may not be the best choice.

If your interested in the psychology design for your restaurant? What are you waiting for — sign up for the newsletter here or bookmark the www.acgd.ca/blog to read more on design tips & tricks for your restaurant.

#Colour #Color #Design #Marketing #Restaurant #Hospitality #Psychology


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Emotional Understanding and Color-Emotion Associations in Children Aged 7-8 Years

An understanding of the development of emotional knowledge can help us determine how children perceive and interpret their surroundings and color-emotion associations are one measure of the expression of a child’s emotional interpretations. Emotional understanding and color-emotion associations were examined in a sample of UK school children, aged 7-8 years. Forty primary school children (mean age = 7.38 SD = 0.49) were administered color assessment and emotional understanding tasks, and an expressive vocabulary test. Results identified significant gender differences with girls providing more appropriate and higher quality expressions of emotional understanding than boys. Children were more able to link color to positive rather than negative emotions and significant gender differences in specific color preferences were observed. The implications of adult misinterpretations of color-emotion associations in young children are discussed.

1. Introduction

An understanding of the development of emotional knowledge and an awareness of age-appropriate effective milestones are essential for professionals working closely with children [1]. How children develop and achieve their emotional knowledge can help professionals understand how children perceive and interpret their environment, and how they respond, manage, and organise their own feelings in emotive situations [2, 3]. Through such intelligence, effective programmes of learning and treatment can be put in place within educational and clinical settings to provide the opportunity for children to explore their emotional relationships and help achieve their developmental milestones [4, 5]. Against a background of research into children’s emotional understanding, this study investigates the identification and expression of emotions and the influence of color-emotion associations in a sample of children, aged from 7 to 8 years but first, a brief overview of the growing emphasis on the importance of emotional health and well-being will be provided.

In the UK, there is a significant and growing national awareness of the importance of the emotional development within clinical and educational settings, with a growing body of research and increasing resource commitments by central government. School-based interventions such as SEAL (UK: Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) and PATHS (USA: Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies) are designed to help children increase their awareness and use of emotional skills to enhance their ability to function appropriately within social situations [6, 7]. In February 2009, the UK Departments of Health (DH) and Children, Schools, and Families (DCSF) issued a joint Departmental Strategic Objective outlining future plans to promote the emotional health and well-being of children [8] and, following recommendations by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), a National Advisory Council was established for children’s mental health and psychological well-being [9].

A child’s emotional understanding comprises an ability to recall and explain their own emotional experiences and an ability to recognise emotion in themselves and in other people [2, 5, 10]. However, the understanding of complex emotions requires higher cognitive social-emotional skills in order to interpret social cues within a situation, as well as being able to fully understand and recognise emotional contexts [4].

Emotional understanding and knowledge of the process and translation of emotions become apparent at the age of two or three with emotion-descriptive language beginning to appear alongside basic vocabulary [11, 12]. A lack of emotion-descriptive language by the end of the child’s second year, an inability to react appropriately to social cues (which may be displayed through behaviours) or reduced understanding of the reactions of others to situations, can be significant indicators of diminished child emotional growth and can potentially underlie subsequent behavioural problems [4, 10, 11]. In turn, this can lead to a heightened susceptibility of psychopathology and emotional disorders [12].

Language and verbal ability are strongly associated with emotional understanding [5, 13] as children perceive and interpret events, with language functioning not only as a communication tool, but also as a way of shaping thoughts [14]. In order to be able to interpret emotional expression, a child needs first to be able to utilise knowledge and understanding of such expression to be capable of expressing this understanding in appropriate language [15]. A child’s emotional and social development is shaped by the language used in a descriptive conversation about a person’s unobservable mental states (i.e., their goals, thoughts, and feelings about a situation, which are intimately used to decode and understand, own and other peoples’ behaviors) [10] and as children develop they begin to increasingly experiment with, and use, the more complex emotions [16]. Whilst females often perform better than males on tests of language and verbal ability at all ages, they also consistently score higher than males on tests of emotional awareness, even when controlling for verbal intelligence [17]. Girls as young as 3 years have demonstrated higher levels of emotion labelling and understanding of complex emotions than boys, independent of vocal ability [18, 19].

Whilst expressive language ability has associations with emotional understanding, other measures of creativity, such as drawing, have also been used as measures of social and emotional adaptation [20]. Drawing is an enjoyable, natural activity which can be used as a means of expressing emotion and feeling [21–23] and art therapy techniques are increasingly used by practitioners to explore children’s perceptions of events, particularly those suffering from physical and mental health problems [24, 25]. For example, the Color Inkblot Therapeutic Storytelling method (CITS) requires a person to a choose colored ink, make inkblots, and create a story in relation to these colors and shapes. This technique is particularly effective for those with a cultural resistance to talk about emotions [26]. Further psychological studies analysing the contents of children’s drawing and interpreting the results on projective measures to depict relationships between emotional meaning and status are well documented [27].

The way that color is used within drawings can reflect and emphasize particular emotional states or qualities of the artist [28] with children using color in their artwork as a means of expressing their underlying emotional status. Generally, it is believed that bright colors emphasize positive qualities and dark colors emphasize negative qualities [27, 29]. However, it has been found that when children were asked to state their color preference first, this was then reflected in the colors used to express certain emotions, rather than the assumed color associations for negative (dark) and positive (bright) presentation. Therefore, least preferred colors were related to negative associations and preferred colors used to express something positive. This suggests that the translation of color into an emotional meaning is both personal and subjective and any interpretation of color use should only be made alongside the knowledge of color preference [28].

From infancy, specific colors develop “learned” paired associations with meanings and emotions. These associations or schemas can remain throughout life eliciting automatic emotional response, thoughts and action without any conscious awareness [30, 31]. Within the everyday environment, children are exposed to a considerable amount of vibrant color through toys and possessions, all of which can carry certain messages and associations [30, 32]. From early infancy children are also exposed to particular colors by parents and family, such as the stereotypical gender-color associations: blue for boys and pink for girls [30]. The colors used in everyday society may have a substantial influence on how children develop emotional associations to colors associations which strengthen with maturity [28]. School age is also a very influential time when children are flooded with several colors of meaning and where specific emotional associations are formed [33]. In support of this, it has been found that within certain settings some colors can have a universal language and meaning understood by cross-generational and sociocultural populations [29]. Reinforcement occurs throughout life, and it follows that the more a child is exposed to a color-emotion pairing, the stronger the internal representation for that color is further embedded [34].

Color can have an important role within the mental health setting in enabling both therapeutic interpretations of emotional state and also as an intervention aid to facilitate exploration of emotion. An analysis of children’s drawings with a life-threatening illness found significant differences in their choice of color in comparison with that of “healthy” children [29], with their negative situation being reflected in the extensive use of “black”. In the same way, pictures drawn by children receiving therapy for trauma have also tended to show a lack of bright color and an extensive use of black [35].

Color appears to be context appropriate with different situations and colors reflecting different emotions, thoughts, and behaviours [31]. It has been suggested that there is a reciprocal interaction between color and emotion, with particular feelings being associated with color, and the combination of cognition that affect all bringing memories, feelings, and emotions to the forefront [29]. The colors of toys, drawing and coloring behaviors, and the language used within the environment may all contribute towards a child’s emotional literacy and understanding [36].

However, the interpretation of color in pictures or art, and the associated emotional significance, is contentious and subjective [21, 27, 28]. Some studies studying color-emotion links have been criticised for not using evidence-based practise to inform their research [31]. In particular, subjective methods, whereby participants are asked to recall colors, or depict color verbally rather than a physical presentation, has led to problems in the interpretation of the relationship between color and emotion [37]. For instance, “red” has been found to convey considerable ambivalent emotional association as it can be associated positively with warmth, love, and happiness or negatively to represent danger, anger, and sadness [30, 31]. There is often a lack of knowledge of the artists preferences towards individual colors [28] and context and environment have not been taken into account when presenting the color sample [38]. Without this specific and broader knowledge researchers can misinterpret the use of color as a result of their own idealisations and societal assumptions.

The use of color interpretation and emotional association has the potential to become a useful tool in the clinician’s armoury for intervention and treatment. Nevertheless, what is also evident is that any interpretation can be highly subjective. This study explored emotional understanding in boys and girls, aged 7-8 years by assessing their ability to discuss, identify, and recognise basic and complex emotions. We also investigated the impact of color preference in color-emotion associations in order to develop further understanding of how colors can interact with, and potentially be used as a measure of, emotional experience.


Scope & Mission

Frontiers in Psychology is the largest journal in its field, publishing rigorously peer-reviewed research across the psychological sciences, from clinical research to cognitive science, from perception to consciousness, from imaging studies to human factors, and from animal cognition to social psychology.

Field Chief Editor Axel Cleeremans, at the Université libre de Bruxelles, is supported by an outstanding Editorial Board of international researchers.

Today, psychological science is becoming increasingly important at all levels of society, from the treatment of clinical disorders to our basic understanding of how the mind works. It is highly interdisciplinary, borrowing questions from philosophy, methods from neuroscience and insights from clinical practice - all in the goal of furthering our grasp of human nature and society, as well as our ability to develop new intervention methods.

Frontiers in Psychology, as a large, multidisciplinary and open-access journal, aims to be at the forefront of disseminating the best scientific knowledge and impactful discoveries to researchers, academics, clinicians and the public worldwide.

Frontiers in Psychology is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics.


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Emotional Understanding and Color-Emotion Associations in Children Aged 7-8 Years

An understanding of the development of emotional knowledge can help us determine how children perceive and interpret their surroundings and color-emotion associations are one measure of the expression of a child’s emotional interpretations. Emotional understanding and color-emotion associations were examined in a sample of UK school children, aged 7-8 years. Forty primary school children (mean age = 7.38 SD = 0.49) were administered color assessment and emotional understanding tasks, and an expressive vocabulary test. Results identified significant gender differences with girls providing more appropriate and higher quality expressions of emotional understanding than boys. Children were more able to link color to positive rather than negative emotions and significant gender differences in specific color preferences were observed. The implications of adult misinterpretations of color-emotion associations in young children are discussed.

1. Introduction

An understanding of the development of emotional knowledge and an awareness of age-appropriate effective milestones are essential for professionals working closely with children [1]. How children develop and achieve their emotional knowledge can help professionals understand how children perceive and interpret their environment, and how they respond, manage, and organise their own feelings in emotive situations [2, 3]. Through such intelligence, effective programmes of learning and treatment can be put in place within educational and clinical settings to provide the opportunity for children to explore their emotional relationships and help achieve their developmental milestones [4, 5]. Against a background of research into children’s emotional understanding, this study investigates the identification and expression of emotions and the influence of color-emotion associations in a sample of children, aged from 7 to 8 years but first, a brief overview of the growing emphasis on the importance of emotional health and well-being will be provided.

In the UK, there is a significant and growing national awareness of the importance of the emotional development within clinical and educational settings, with a growing body of research and increasing resource commitments by central government. School-based interventions such as SEAL (UK: Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) and PATHS (USA: Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies) are designed to help children increase their awareness and use of emotional skills to enhance their ability to function appropriately within social situations [6, 7]. In February 2009, the UK Departments of Health (DH) and Children, Schools, and Families (DCSF) issued a joint Departmental Strategic Objective outlining future plans to promote the emotional health and well-being of children [8] and, following recommendations by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), a National Advisory Council was established for children’s mental health and psychological well-being [9].

A child’s emotional understanding comprises an ability to recall and explain their own emotional experiences and an ability to recognise emotion in themselves and in other people [2, 5, 10]. However, the understanding of complex emotions requires higher cognitive social-emotional skills in order to interpret social cues within a situation, as well as being able to fully understand and recognise emotional contexts [4].

Emotional understanding and knowledge of the process and translation of emotions become apparent at the age of two or three with emotion-descriptive language beginning to appear alongside basic vocabulary [11, 12]. A lack of emotion-descriptive language by the end of the child’s second year, an inability to react appropriately to social cues (which may be displayed through behaviours) or reduced understanding of the reactions of others to situations, can be significant indicators of diminished child emotional growth and can potentially underlie subsequent behavioural problems [4, 10, 11]. In turn, this can lead to a heightened susceptibility of psychopathology and emotional disorders [12].

Language and verbal ability are strongly associated with emotional understanding [5, 13] as children perceive and interpret events, with language functioning not only as a communication tool, but also as a way of shaping thoughts [14]. In order to be able to interpret emotional expression, a child needs first to be able to utilise knowledge and understanding of such expression to be capable of expressing this understanding in appropriate language [15]. A child’s emotional and social development is shaped by the language used in a descriptive conversation about a person’s unobservable mental states (i.e., their goals, thoughts, and feelings about a situation, which are intimately used to decode and understand, own and other peoples’ behaviors) [10] and as children develop they begin to increasingly experiment with, and use, the more complex emotions [16]. Whilst females often perform better than males on tests of language and verbal ability at all ages, they also consistently score higher than males on tests of emotional awareness, even when controlling for verbal intelligence [17]. Girls as young as 3 years have demonstrated higher levels of emotion labelling and understanding of complex emotions than boys, independent of vocal ability [18, 19].

Whilst expressive language ability has associations with emotional understanding, other measures of creativity, such as drawing, have also been used as measures of social and emotional adaptation [20]. Drawing is an enjoyable, natural activity which can be used as a means of expressing emotion and feeling [21–23] and art therapy techniques are increasingly used by practitioners to explore children’s perceptions of events, particularly those suffering from physical and mental health problems [24, 25]. For example, the Color Inkblot Therapeutic Storytelling method (CITS) requires a person to a choose colored ink, make inkblots, and create a story in relation to these colors and shapes. This technique is particularly effective for those with a cultural resistance to talk about emotions [26]. Further psychological studies analysing the contents of children’s drawing and interpreting the results on projective measures to depict relationships between emotional meaning and status are well documented [27].

The way that color is used within drawings can reflect and emphasize particular emotional states or qualities of the artist [28] with children using color in their artwork as a means of expressing their underlying emotional status. Generally, it is believed that bright colors emphasize positive qualities and dark colors emphasize negative qualities [27, 29]. However, it has been found that when children were asked to state their color preference first, this was then reflected in the colors used to express certain emotions, rather than the assumed color associations for negative (dark) and positive (bright) presentation. Therefore, least preferred colors were related to negative associations and preferred colors used to express something positive. This suggests that the translation of color into an emotional meaning is both personal and subjective and any interpretation of color use should only be made alongside the knowledge of color preference [28].

From infancy, specific colors develop “learned” paired associations with meanings and emotions. These associations or schemas can remain throughout life eliciting automatic emotional response, thoughts and action without any conscious awareness [30, 31]. Within the everyday environment, children are exposed to a considerable amount of vibrant color through toys and possessions, all of which can carry certain messages and associations [30, 32]. From early infancy children are also exposed to particular colors by parents and family, such as the stereotypical gender-color associations: blue for boys and pink for girls [30]. The colors used in everyday society may have a substantial influence on how children develop emotional associations to colors associations which strengthen with maturity [28]. School age is also a very influential time when children are flooded with several colors of meaning and where specific emotional associations are formed [33]. In support of this, it has been found that within certain settings some colors can have a universal language and meaning understood by cross-generational and sociocultural populations [29]. Reinforcement occurs throughout life, and it follows that the more a child is exposed to a color-emotion pairing, the stronger the internal representation for that color is further embedded [34].

Color can have an important role within the mental health setting in enabling both therapeutic interpretations of emotional state and also as an intervention aid to facilitate exploration of emotion. An analysis of children’s drawings with a life-threatening illness found significant differences in their choice of color in comparison with that of “healthy” children [29], with their negative situation being reflected in the extensive use of “black”. In the same way, pictures drawn by children receiving therapy for trauma have also tended to show a lack of bright color and an extensive use of black [35].

Color appears to be context appropriate with different situations and colors reflecting different emotions, thoughts, and behaviours [31]. It has been suggested that there is a reciprocal interaction between color and emotion, with particular feelings being associated with color, and the combination of cognition that affect all bringing memories, feelings, and emotions to the forefront [29]. The colors of toys, drawing and coloring behaviors, and the language used within the environment may all contribute towards a child’s emotional literacy and understanding [36].

However, the interpretation of color in pictures or art, and the associated emotional significance, is contentious and subjective [21, 27, 28]. Some studies studying color-emotion links have been criticised for not using evidence-based practise to inform their research [31]. In particular, subjective methods, whereby participants are asked to recall colors, or depict color verbally rather than a physical presentation, has led to problems in the interpretation of the relationship between color and emotion [37]. For instance, “red” has been found to convey considerable ambivalent emotional association as it can be associated positively with warmth, love, and happiness or negatively to represent danger, anger, and sadness [30, 31]. There is often a lack of knowledge of the artists preferences towards individual colors [28] and context and environment have not been taken into account when presenting the color sample [38]. Without this specific and broader knowledge researchers can misinterpret the use of color as a result of their own idealisations and societal assumptions.

The use of color interpretation and emotional association has the potential to become a useful tool in the clinician’s armoury for intervention and treatment. Nevertheless, what is also evident is that any interpretation can be highly subjective. This study explored emotional understanding in boys and girls, aged 7-8 years by assessing their ability to discuss, identify, and recognise basic and complex emotions. We also investigated the impact of color preference in color-emotion associations in order to develop further understanding of how colors can interact with, and potentially be used as a measure of, emotional experience.


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Contributors

Andrew J. Elliot, Mark D. Fairchild, Anna Franklin, Andrew Stockman, David H. Brainard, Karl R. Gegenfurtner, Robert Ennis, Gerald H. Jacobs, Don Dedrick, Marc H. Bornstein, John L. Barbur, Marisa Rodriguez-Carmona, Michael A. Webster, Neil R. A. Parry, Paul Kay, Jules Davidoff, Anna Wierzbicka, Ian Watts, John B. Hutchings, Martin Stevens, Lina Maria Arenas, Alice E. Lown, Michael S. Wogalter, Christopher B. Mayhorn, Olga A. Zielinska, Li-chen Ou, Brian P. Meier, Karen B. Schloss, Stephen E. Palmer, Anya Hurlbert, Angela Owen, Charles L. Folk, James P. Higham, Sandra Winters, Adam D. Pazda, Tobias Greitemeyer, Joanna M. Setchell, Markus A. Meier, Russell A. Hill, Robert A. Barton, Ian D. Stephen, David I. Perrett, Charles Spence, Mark S. Rea, Mariana G. Figueiro, Christopher Witzel, Thorsten Hansen, Michael D. Robinson, Tianwei Liu, Jessica L. Bair, Garrett M. Johnson, Jamie Ward

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Understanding Colour Psychology for Restaurants & Brands

Even in the food & hospitality industry, colour has a huge role in visual perception, emotion and human behaviour. I am so fascinated by this topic because it is interesting to understand our subconscious and how we react by the colours we see. Most people, including myself are unaware of how much a colour or ‘chromatics’ can influence reaction and triggers our appetites.

“we eat with our eyes.” “This makes colour critical in most every aspect of successful restaurant designs.” — Jackie Lohrey resource

In this post I go over basic colours t o help understand why colour is important for your brand, restaurant and recognition. Wether your choosing a colour for a logo, brand colours, the interior design of your restaurant or the design of your menu. This will give you a thorough understanding of which colours to use and which to steer clear from.

Psychological Properties: Red is known to stimulate and excite and relates closely to passion and energy.

In relation to food: Enhances the appetite, when we see red we get and energy boost, similarly this happens when we are ready to feast and neurons fire up in the hypothalamus part of the brain. Also known to heighten nerve impulses and increase heart rate.

Examples: Red is the most common and effective colour used in the food industry. For example when you look at many food corporations or fast-food chains the majority will have red in either their logo or variations of their brand essence. When you think food and the colour red you may associate it with tender meat, a juicy strawberry or even a sweet candy. Your mouth may just be watering right now.

Exceptions to the rule: Because red is such an intense colour it does happen to cause reaction much quicker than any other colour, causing impulse or urgent response. It has been tested that red table cloths will actually make a person eat more, but use the colour cautiously since too much of a good thing can be harmful.

Psychological Properties: Blue is generally used for corporate and conservative brands and is actually the most popular colour in America rated at 35% — according to Wikipedia. The colour represents security, and trust. But not necessarily the best choice for a restaurant.

In relation to food: Blue is actually known to suppress appetite and reduces hunger. Simply put: the most unappetizing colour.

Examples: The largest success in blue food over the past decade has been the introduction of the blue M&M. Yes it was a success, but would it work in anything other than blue candy? Highly unlikely other than a few exceptions. Blue is one of the most repulsive colours when it comes to food and will actually draw people away from eating. Why is this? Because blue is not commonly seen in food other than blue berries, Adirondack potatoes and most of the time reminds us of spoiled foods. Studies have shown that blue is just a turn off — it’s a human instinct I guess. Blue used in restaurants can also hinder a persons appetite though use of blue table cloths, blue walls and surroundings.

Exceptions to the rule: With a bit of optimism, blue can be used to it’s advantage. Have you seen the low calorie ‘blue label’ food packs in the stores? Utilizing the reaction people have towards the colour and using it to its advantage by hinting at weight lose or reduce appetite. Blue is also very common in seafood restaurants mainly to reflect the colour of the water. It screams fresh! Some honourable mentions: The Blue Goose brand which I feel plays on the idea that we should consider quality over quantity. And the grk brand which ties in very well with Greek culture.

Psychological Properties: Although they say never where orange to an interview because it makes you look unprofessional. Orange is also classified as energizing, bold, optimistic and fun, but should be used carefully as it has negative aspects that reflects immaturity and being superficial.

In relation to food: One thing that pops into our heads is probably orange juice, right? Orange encourages impulse and comes off to some as a comfort colour. Orange typically stimulates all senses which of course has a lot to do with the experience of a restaurant. It can encourage sales in all sorts of dining areas including cafes, bistros and diners, while stimulating appetite and conversation. If surrounded by the colour customers will eat, talk and spend longer time periods resulting in spending more money — since orange is associated with good value.

Examples: Tropicana and Fanta top the chart for obvious reasons. And brands like Home Depot is a great example because it is aligned with value.

Exception to the rule: There are some high-end brands that have dominated the market with an orange palette like Hermes (the high-end bag brand) or Veuve Clicquot, anyone? So there is much hope for orange after all!

Psychological Properties: Yellow often portrays happiness and can be an uplifting colour. Enthusiasm, optimism and youthfulness are also general associations. Be careful, as it can sometimes come off as inexpensive depending on how it is used.

In relation to food: Yellow can be commonly mistaken in the food industry, although it screams youthfulness this can sometimes be mistaken for being unsophisticated or naïve. Although yellow triggers the analytical side of our brains it looses touch with our creative side, which food is generally about creativity, no? Correct me if I am wrong. So an all yellow colour palette can be hard to trust as it encourages our analytical instinct and may result in lack of creative freedom. Although subtle tones like beige is more-so common in food as it relates more to the natural side of the yellow spectrum. Beige is found in natural foods, which gives off a earthy feel or even the morning sun.

Examples: They say yellow can cause uneasiness, which can benefit fast food restaurants who want fast customer turnaround. This can be established by painting the walls yellow or even making yellow a dominant brand colour. Although when used as a secondary colour in a logo — yellow is generally not much of a harm. Big Brands like Burger King, McDonalds, Subway or Lays are good examples.

Psychological Properties: Green has been used to portray wealth, relaxation, balance, harmony, nature, environment and creativity.

In relation to food: Green is commonly used in food because it is associated with being healthy, vegetarian, fresh and generally speaking: good taste.

Examples: Not only is there a plethora of green examples but sometimes they take on different meanings. Green encourages relaxation because of its correlation to nature. Starbucks, one of the largest coffee chains in the world has established it’s logo using primarily green. The Starbucks brand is subconsciously hinting to sit down and relax. Whole foods and Green Giant are two other great examples — they want to be seen as fresh and healthy. Even a lot of organic food brands use primarily green.

Psychological Properties: We associate pink with sincerity, calming, feminine and romantic.

In relation to food: Generally associated with sweet, pig skin or even a feminine brand. When you see food that is pink most of the time it is easy to think it is unnatural, and not so healthy. But it has calming and settling aspects which do well for the brand Pepto Bismol — mind you I wouldn’t consider it a food per say. So branding a restaurant in these colours may not be the best bet, unless your out to sell sweets or setting up a bakery.

Examples: Pink M&Ms, pop, candy, even pink lemonade. At Valentine’s Day, how much pink do you consume?

Psychological Properties: Having a classic appeal, black is commonly used to portray power, authority, strength and sophistication — although it can be somewhat of a cold colour.

In relation to food: Menu Engineer, Gregg Rapp has mentioned that black ink on white paper has the most contrast which means the menu is most legible. In a logo, black and white portrays the sense of simplicity and leaving colour out can give a chic feel.

Examples: A lot of the restaurants listed in the Worlds 50 Best have a black logo. Reason? Simplicity and sophistication. When speaking of black food, on the other hand may not necessarily come up as the most desirable colour — unless you happen to be visiting Burger King in Japan. Some of the top foods associated with black are black liquorice, squid ink pasta, kalamata olives, burnt ends, Jack Daniels and black rum. With the ever so popular rustic design in the food industry, black chalk boards are quite popular. Although try avoiding too much black in your environmental design, unless your a spin off concept of ‘Dinner in the Dark’ like o.noir in Toronto.

Psychological Properties: Solidarity, maturity and reliability — although if overused can give off a sense of depression and no emotion.

In relation to food: Straight out grey is not commonly used in food, grey is highly used in combination with accent colours that can be quite appealing, while in contrast. Seen mostly in packaging for teas, grey has a earthy tone to it and can be associated with natural ingredients. Have you ever served a dish on a stone like plate? Silver on the other hand is much more so popular, as it has representation of class, cleanliness — think of those stainless steel counters. I know I have seen it more times then not of silver bottles and tin packaging.

Examples: With grey, there were a few examples that stood out mainly as mentioned in tea packages, labels and in combination with other colours on menus. Silver on the other hand is widely seen in primarily packaging alcoholic and non. High end brands with high-end print.

Psychological Properties: Stimulates innocence, clarity, purity, hope.

In relation to food: White in restaurant design happens to neutralize food colours and contributes to glare. Although white space, on the other hand is very important in menu design as this contributes to effective legibility of a menu. When used properly white can give off a sense of cleanliness or clarity and is usually most popular as a secondary or accent colour. When plating, white space can accent a dish bringing focus to the food . Just Google ‘food presentation’ and you will see what I mean. Although, if overused things can become dull and pain so always be cautious.

Examples: The Burger’s Priest is a good example accented with black and yellow to give a sense of purity. White and negative space works well to accent the a primary colour in most brands. As mentioned black and white logos are very common when the brand is giving a sense of simplicity and sophistication.

Psychological Properties: Generally associated with royalty and lavish lifestyle. Some others: wisdom, respect, power, creativity, dignity and spirituality.

In relation to food: Purple although similar to blue is more — so tolerated, but not a fan favourite by any means. Purple is not very common in food brands or restaurants, but can pop up in foods like berries, wine, fruits and legumes. Oh, and we can’t forget our good ol’ Dairy Milk by Cadbury. They even trademarked the colour to be synonymous with their brand. Yup, they literally own Pantone 2685C.

Examples: Taco Bell is probably the most prominent purple logo in regards to large chains showing a contrast in the market. However I would question why Taco Bell rebranded to purple in 1995 and steer away from a great colour palette? I’m not really sure but they have recently brought out the ‘Cantina Menu’ with what seems to be a slight steer away from purple to a fresh green hue. In my opinion, Pepsico is testing the waters with a sub-brand and getting customers to think it has a healthy side — interesting to say the least.

Psychological Properties: Captures the feeling of being grounded, sincere, reliable, wholesome, comfortable and inexpensive.

In relation to food: Brown is associated with coffee shops, pastries and chocolate. Brown can also be used for organic presence, natural farming and can stimulate appetite.

Examples: Most of the time, organic food brands use brown along side green to associate fresh and natural. Brands that are highly recognized using brown include: Godiva, Hershey’s, Balzac’s and Second Cup — although they had a ‘test’ rebrand to a full black logo — wether they discard their brown logo is TBD.

Psychological Properties: Having a transparent or clear packaging is almost a dead give-away that a brand has nothing to hide. Clear resembles transparency, honest and in some cases healthy.

In relation to food: Not only does this apply to food but when you have a large open window to your restaurant this resembles a safe space and encourages you to look inside.

Examples: Over the past 50 years plastics have become a booming packaging source and it’s not going anywhere, anytime soon. Again plastic and clear packaging shows the essence of the product which can be very successful when displaying food.

Exception to the rule: Not all food is glamorous in transparent packaging. Just imaging it, refried beans in a clear container? Maybe not the best bet as it wouldn’t be appetizing to see brown mush — thankfully it comes in a can. So of course use only when it is best suitable.

Keep in mind that the state of a colour is very important. Whether it is a saturated, darkened, intensified or brightened. These variations of a pure state colour can largely effect its perceived intention. For example a beige (muted yellow) can be commonly found in breakfast restaurants to reflect the essence of morning — sun glow or even a leisurely relaxed atmosphere. Whereas, bold primary colours are often used in fast food restaurants, to encourage quick turnover.

When using multiple colour combinations, also consider that some may resonate with their original meaning but may alter if placed with a colour that off-puts its initial profile. Always consider your primary colour and your secondary/complimentary colour. It is great if they contrast or compliment one another.

Why is colour so important? Whether your a graphic designer or a restauranteur a specific colour palette will influence your audience and create a reaction. So picking the right colour is essential to getting the right audience and the right response. And a Restaurateurs objective is to gain returning customers and customers enjoy brand recognition — which is established well through colour.

Colours can determine the dining experience and can be subtly to extremely influential. Although as Wikipedia puts it: ‘the interface between colour and environmental stimuli is a highly complex interface and one which is open to the influence of a large number of factors’ — and although these are just guidelines to go by, it is still important to do research before picking your colour scheme because as we all know colour can be very subjective, so choose wisely.

Looking for a trending colour? Pantone every year comes out with a trending colour, so have a look on their website to check it out. But be sure it fits your strategy, trending colours may not be the best choice.

If your interested in the psychology design for your restaurant? What are you waiting for — sign up for the newsletter here or bookmark the www.acgd.ca/blog to read more on design tips & tricks for your restaurant.

#Colour #Color #Design #Marketing #Restaurant #Hospitality #Psychology


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How To Use Color Psychology To Give Your Business An Edge

Whether you’re wondering what color to paint the office, or you’re looking to redesign your retail space, the colors you choose can increase your chance of reaching your goals. Color greatly influences human emotion and behavior. If you’re hoping to make your workers more productive, or you want to encourage shoppers to spend money, understanding the basics of color psychology can help you design a space that will maximize your potential.

I interviewed Sally Augustin, Ph.D., to find out more about color psychology. Augustin is an environmental psychologist and internationally recognized expert on person-centered design. Augustin operates Design With Science, where she teaches individuals and businesses how to use color to their advantage.

English: Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Change People’s Perception of Temperature

The color of a wall can actually change how a person perceives the temperature, according to Augustin. Warm colors, such as orange, red and yellow can cause people to think the temperature in the room is warmer than it actually is. Cool colors, such as blue, green and light purple cause people to estimate the temperature is colder.

Business owners can use this to their advantage by saving on heating and cooling costs. For example, if you live in a cold environment, painting an entryway a warm color may cause people to think your establishment is a few degrees warmer than actually is. This may allow you to keep the temperature at a slightly lower setting.

Evoke Emotional Responses

Augustin states that color evokes similar emotional responses in most people. However, there aren’t always universal truths about color. People of different cultures may have different thoughts and emotions about certain colors. Also, a person’s past experience can affect feelings about a certain color. Augustin notes that she dislikes a particular shade of blue for example, because it reminds her of an allergy medicine she had to take as a child. Despite the exceptions, there are some basic generalities about how certain colors evoke specific emotional and behavioral responses.

Green Sparks Creativity

Research has linked green with broader thinking and more creative thought. People generally like green. “There seems to be a positive association between nature and regrowth,” notes Augustin. So if you want your employees to be more productive, consider painting work areas green.

Red Reduces Analytical Thinking

There’s a reason why red sports cars cost more to insure. When humans see the color red, their reactions become faster and more forceful. However, that boost of energy is likely to be short-lived and ultimately, red reduces analytical thinking. Augustin cites research conducted by Andrew Elliot, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, that shows athletes are more likely to lose when they compete against an opponent wearing red and students exposed to red before a test are likely to perform worse.

Although the research indicates that red can be helpful if you’re trying to attract a mate, it isn’t helpful if you need to stay on task. One possible reason why red makes it hard to concentrate, may be tied to a cultural-specific issue, says Augustin. Those of us who got a lot of answers wrong as children, may associate the color red with the red ink our teachers used to mark up our papers.

Blue is Most Accepted

When asked what their favorite color is, the most common answer around the world is blue. This may be because when our ancestors used to see blue – like a clear blue sky or a watering hole – it was a good sign, according to Augustin. Painting a common area of an office building blue is likely to satisfy the majority of people.

Yellow isn’t Usually a Hit

Avoid painting public spaces yellow because most people aren’t a fan of the color. However, the people who do like yellow, seem to have a huge preference for it, whereas most people only slightly favor one color over another. Overall, yellow remains the least likely favorite color for most people, so pick a different color if you want to appeal to the masses.

Orange is Associated with Good Value

People associate the color orange with a good value. The orange color in the Home Depot logo for example, helps customers view them as a low cost provider of valuable goods. Some high-end retailers have been able to overcome this association with orange and they’ve successfully incorporated orange into their brand.

There’s a reason some sports teams paint the opposing team's locker room pink – it’s known for draining people of their energy. Baker-Miller pink (the same color of Pepto-Bismol) calms people down for about 30 minutes, according to Augustin. Once people have remained calm for that time frame, they’re often able to remain in a calm state. This could be a great color for lawyers who are conducting mediation or a board room where conversations may get heated.

White May Lead to Boredom

White has a modern appeal. Apple , for example, has used white to brand their clean, sleek look. However, too much of a monochromatic look can cause people to reflect on their own thoughts, warns Augustin. A person shopping in a monochromatic store may become distracted from the task at-hand when their mind begins to wander because of the lack of stimulation.

One of the best things about color is that you can change wall color often. Think carefully before you paint your space about how you want people to feel and perform. Although the wall color can’t perform miracles, it can certainly give you a boost in the right direction.

Amy Morin is a psychotherapist and the author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, a bestselling book that is being translated into more than 20 languages.


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Watch the video: Color Psychology - How Colors Influence Your Choices and Feelings (August 2022).