Update for the week of June 26, 2017
In the first of two articles on color, we explore just some of the psychological aspects of color.
Our world is ablaze with color, found in nature and people, and in the sights, sounds and smells of day-to-day life. Colors provide the bedrock and building blocks of our emotions, and are part of numerous commonplace maxims when describing different emotional states: think about ‘seeing red’ (angry), ‘feeling blue’ (sad), and ‘in the pink’ (healthy). Both consciously and unconsciously, we associate colors with cultural experiences, personal idiosyncrasies, moods and feelings.
In those early schooldays, we are typically taught about the rules and foundations of color: how mixing equal amounts of the three primary colors—red, blue and yellow—will produce three secondary colors—orange, purple and green. We learn about warm colors, cold colors and color combinations (depicted on a color wheel).
As we grow and develop, we identify the colors we derive pleasure from and those we’d rather avoid. We begin to understand the many nuances of color and how color affects our emotions and mood. We recognize the perceived meaning of color in clothing: the authority of black, the steadfastness of brown, the discipline of blue and the power of red. We see the influence of colors in action: the red traffic light signal commanding us to ‘stop’; a green political movement; the ‘yellow (golden) arches’ of a certain fast food behemoth, seductive and shining.
- Red is a physical and visceral color: one whose properties include strength and stimulation, fire and passion, energy and warmth. Too much red can appear bold, indeed overbearing. Red is the color we see first, and is used to convey caution and danger.
- Blue is a strong and emotive color. Regarded as an intellectual color, blue tends to affect us mentally as opposed to physically. A serene and calming color, blue tones can stimulate thought and promote concentration.
- Yellow is an emotional color that buoys mood and temperament; it is optimistic, outgoing, friendly and creative. A strong color, yellow should be used sparingly: too much yellow can give rise to fear and anxiety.
- Green is a mix of blue (intellectual) and yellow (emotional), and represents balance. A restful color, green is easy on the eye, and promotes harmony and reassurance.
- Pink is a color with positive virtues, from feeling rosy to reaching the pink of condition. While pink is often used to define femininity, it was once seen as a masculine color. More and more, pink is embraced as a neutral hue, and is associated with balance.
- Grey is a neutral color (other neutrals include black and white). Often mistaken as detached and unemotional, grey provides a sense of calm, its presence solid and grounding. Grey promotes stability, and a warm grey can alleviate tension and anxiety.
With nine colored timber veneers, LZF has a keen understanding of the principles of color psychology and how color affects emotion. Honed over many years, this understanding guides LZF when choosing colors for its many lighting projects.