Color psychology is the branch of psychology that studies how our brains perceive and process color and how color can impact our lives. While this is not a new field of research, researchers are still in the early stages of understanding why one person may have a strong preference for one color, while another person may prefer a vastly different color.
If you have never taken the time to ponder in detail what your own favorite color might reveal about your brain, your personality and your life, read on because this may be interesting to you.
There is one exception to the still-new field of color psychology research, and that is in the arena of business and marketing. Here, color researchers have already begun to make great strides in matching colors with business goals.
For example, have you ever wondered why so many restaurants feature the color red? The short answer is that red is thought to make you feel hungrier. The longer answer is that the color red is associated with boldness, assertiveness, excitement and energy, which can each translate to represent a different aspect of hunger.
Conversely, the color blue is commonly associated with competence and stability. In fact, at one point, IBM the company earned itself the nickname “Big Blue” for its stability in the industry. In marketing circles, blue denotes trustworthiness, strength and dependability. So it just makes sense that companies trying to cultivate these qualities often choose to use blue in their logos and marketing materials.
Marketing studies reveal that customers do tend to associate certain colors with certain brands and products over time, which gives insight into how the brain uses color as a part of creating and storing short- and long-term memories.
Personal Color Psychology
On the personal level, a direct parallel can be drawn between color psychology and personality. For instance, if you are a person who favors the color red, perhaps you have an energetic and bold personality with a natural excitement for new experiences.
On the other hand, if your favorite color is blue, perhaps your friends would say you are a strong, stable person who is trustworthy and dependable – all great qualities to have. Maybe you resonate with blue because this is exactly who you are!
For some people, their favorite color remains the same throughout life. For other people, they may find their favorite color changes once or more often as time passes. Some people find they have more than one favorite color at one point or another in their lives. All of this is quite normal.
Ultimately, there is no one right or wrong way to relate to color, but it can be both interesting and enlightening to pay attention to the colors that most closely resonate with you at different points in time.
The Meaning of the Colors
The use of colors as symbols of character, personality and qualities is actually quite ancient and dates back to the days when we were guided by intuition and symbolism rather than statistics and data.
As such, some of the color associations we continue to use today have been employed in the most ancient religious ceremonies and cultural rituals, including associating pink and red with romantic love and white with virtue and innocence.
Here is a list of some of the most common accepted modern color associations in use today – perhaps you can learn more about yourself and your own favorite color associations as you read through these!
What Does Your Favorite Color Reveal About You?
Red is symbolic of hunger, assertiveness, energy, health, vitality, strength and ambition.
Yellow is symbolic of sunshine, optimism, growth, mental clarity, common sense, intellectual prowess and freedom.
White is symbolic of purity, spiritual ideals, youth, innocence, idealism and virtue.
Purple is symbolic of royalty, artistry, authority, unconventionality, individualism, leadership and sensitivity.
Pink is symbolic of love, affection, delicacy, fragility, mothering, security, softness and beauty.
Blue is symbolic of spirituality, introspection, self-control, wisdom, patience and perseverance.
Orange is symbolic of drama and fun, zest for life and flamboyance, curiosity and liveliness.
Green is symbolic of new life, renewal, growth, harmony, peace, sociability, giving-ness and peacefulness.
Brown is symbolic of steadiness and solidness, stability and reliability.
Maroon is symbolic of maturity, generosity, toughness and discipline.
Gray is symbolic of caution, compromise and carefulness.
Black is symbolic of mystery, dignity, practicality, asceticism, privacy and deep ideals.
Turquoise is symbolic of complexity, imagination, originality and hard work.
Teal is symbolic of poise, discrimination, detachment, capability, intellect, refinement and attractiveness.
Lavender is symbolic of culture, nobility, worthy causes, refinement, wit and creativity.
By learning more about color symbolism and meaning, you can learn more about your own personality and also about others. The color preferences and aversions of your partner, your colleagues, your kids, your friends and others can provide helpful insights about why you click with some people and struggle to connect with others. As such, color psychology is a helpful tool to enhance your relationships with self and others.