Color Preference • Colors individuals tend to gravitate towards
Factors influencing color preference: • Learned color bias • Variations in the saturation or value of the color • Interactions between studied color and the light source or surrounding color • Contrast between colors in combination or order colors are seen • Size and placement of light sources
Luscher Color Test Dr. Max Luscher developed a color test to determine personality traits and disorders. This test is considered one of the most reliable color personality insight tools. It made results even for color-impaired individuals, and tends to work across cultures. Participants rank these colors in order of preference, with the order of the ranking determining personality traits. http://www.kahome.co.uk/cgi-bin/lschr.pl
Learned Color Bias • associations with colors that we pick up from observations in the world: we know red means stop whether we look at a stop sign in English or Arabic • Similarly, for Americans, green means GO, but this is not the case in other parts of the world • We associate pink with a girl’s color and blue for boys. In the Victorian era, pink was a boy’s color (because it was a lessened version of masculine red) and blue a girl’s color (it was associated with the Virgin Mary through art)
Attempts have been made to explain how color effect us psychologically. • Colors will effect specific individuals differently, so it is important not to over-generalize these findings • Additionally, the saturation and value of colors, as well as the situation the color is viewed in, will be as crucial to the effect colors have on us as the actual hue • A hue can seem stimulating or soothing depending on its context and saturation
School Interiors: Based on the idea that neutrals are tasteful and non-threatening, and that greens are calming.
But if pinks are stimulating, maybe we should paint schools like this, waking students’ brains
The Notre Dame Football team painted their locker room this red, to amp up their players. The visiting teams locker room was painted in lighter blues, to calm that team down. Eventually, these kinds of tricks were banned from locker rooms.
However, while certain colors may stimulate or calm inhabitants, eventually the effects even out. Patients kept in blue rooms to lower their blood pressure eventually reported higher blood pressure levels than originally tested.
Prisoner Pink • A Navy prison painted their walls this hue of pink and found that it calmed their prisoners and led to less hostility. The theory was that this color emasculated the prisoners, making them easier to control. • However, this only lasted a few weeks, as the prisoners readjusted to the wall colors, hostility returned.
Fast food colors( red, yellow, orange, etc) are more stimulating, encouraging customers, to get in, eat and leave quickly, allowing for more turn around.
Blue is a color not often seen in nature and thus unnatural as a food coloring. People are less likely to want to eat a food that looks ‘wrong’. Wrong-colored food looks gross
Kids will eat it. They have fewer color/food associations and are less likely to see wrong-colored food as potential poison
Test subjects who were given exaggeratedly colored food (extra-orange orange juice) reported that the juice tasted sweeter than identical juice with no coloring added. Subjects given lime juice colored orange claimed to be drinking orange juice.
Pink is thought to increase the sensation of sweetness, which is why many baked goods are sold in pink boxes.
Cultural Color Preferences • People from warmer climates tend to prefer brighter, more saturated colors while individuals from colder, northern climates prefer cooler, less saturated colors • It is theorized that in brighter environments, people’s eyes adapt to protect them from the bright light, so there is a physiological bias towards brighter colors
Cultural Color Associations • The following is a list of some common associations with colors. • These are LEARNED color associations, meaning we pick up the meaning of these colors from how they are used in the world, they are not inherent meanings to the colors • In fact, many potential associations for an individual color may directly contradict each other
Red: Fire, Blood, Passion and emotion, love, courage (Red Badge of Courage), Lust, crime, murder, rage, Red-Letter Days, Temper (red hair), Caught red-handed, Scarlet Women, Scarlet Letter, Red Light District, STOP! Red is a warning color, it immediately gets our attention, whether on a stop sign, or a ripe apple in a tree, we are conditioned to notice red when it exists. Adding white completely changes our read of red, more than any other color, light red is seen as a distinct color on it’s own (pink) associated with little girls, gentility, the feminine, sweetness. RED
PURPLE Luxurious, Royal, purple mountains majesty, Originally purple pigment was created from mollusks. It’s rarity meant it was limited to royalty and wealthy individuals. Dusty purples are associated with nostalgia or age. In design, purple is often associated with luxurious items. It can be associated with mysticism. In nature, purple rarely exists, most often it shows up as a flower.
Cheery, sunshine, happiness. Generally, the ‘least favorite’ color chosen. High reflexivity, first color to be noticed. Associated with citrus, butter, and cheeses. Regarded as a special color in some Asian cultures: Buddhist monks wore yellow robes because yellow was associated with the afterlife. Yellow Press, Jaundice, Yellow: coward, old, yellowed paper, Warning color: Snakes, Wasps, Radiation symbols, Yellow+black is instantly eye-catching (a learned color response) Yellow
Fire, warmth, heat, spice (cinnamon, turmeric, curry); cheer; autumn; leave change; harvest color; sunsets Brown oranges suggest comfort and security-homey colors In some cultures, orange suggests fertility, because orange trees are so prolific Visibility: Florescent orange vests, life rafts, orange jumpsuits
Browns: natural, earth, wood, Strength, hard work, no-nonsense, unadorned (Puritans) Age, nostalgia, sepia-tones, Rich, dark browns can evoke, chocolate, luxury, wealth, taste, Other browns can evoke simplicity, hardiness, Brown-noser
True-Blue, sky, water, infinity, serenity, depression, sadness, isolation, First place blue ribbon, Blue chip, Blue Blood, Blue Collar, The Blues, balance, tranquility, transcendence, Blue jeans, cursing a blue streak, blue prose, dependability, Little boy blue, America’s favorite color!
Spring, growth, rejuvenation, ‘going green’, green thumb, camouflage, little green men, green with envy, jealousy, nausea, decay, poison, mold, nature, grass, fertility
NEUTRALS: unspecific, ‘staying neutral’, unimposing, eggshell, natural hues, beige, neutrality
Maximum lightness (all light is reflected), white magic, white lies, white flag-truce, white elephant, White House, coolness, cleanliness, sanitation, hygiene, purity, innocence, Americans prefer blue or green-cast whites, Mediterraneans prefer yellow or red-cast whites. White walls, white sands, white cube, impersonal, In India, it is a color for funerals
Ominous, dark, negation of color, blacklist, blackmail, blackball, black market, black sheep, black widow black tie, black cat, sophisticated, severe, In India, a wedding color