Psychology of Color

Psychology of Color

Color embodies one of the most powerful tools for self-expression and visual communication – transcending the barriers of verbal language, culture, education, and socio-economic status – a universal language which all humans equally share and understand. This occurs simply because the emotional information encoded within colors remains far too abstract, intangible, and universal for any one person to control, monopolize or restrict access to its meaning; however, this does not mean that people cannot be deceived into believing that they lack the authority, education, or status to use, wear and express themselves via color, as if color itself can be owned exclusively like any other possession. Just as kings and queens of the past claimed an exclusive right to don robes dyed with the rare Tyrian purple dye – derived from the immune secretions of various sea snails (commonly mistaken as coming from their shells, rather than their bodies) – contemporary culture remains saturated with “exclusively owned” colors, belonging to specific brands, products, and individuals who purchase the right to restrict their use. In this context, color itself becomes a status symbol – such as the “Tiffany blue” box used by Tiffany’s to encase its designer jewelry, or the sterile, streamlined white of so many Apple products. Even worse, people feel that they lack the education to interpret color – and all artistic, creative, and universal gestures that normally transcend arbitrary barriers – robbing us of our shared language, and isolating us from one another indefinitely. If we can remember our universal connections to one another, then we are one step closer to erasing hate, prejudice, injustice, terrorism, and violence. Color is one of the easiest formats for exploring our shared roots, for we all share:

Red: the flicker of fire in darkness, passion, sparks, and fruit ripening seductively on a tree branch.

Orange: candlelight, more fire, citrus, warmth, honey, sunlight.

Yellow: sunshine, our first reference point in the sky – our sun- and our shared benefactor who gives us life, energy, warmth and light.

Green: lush, growing things; plant life, leaves, and moss.

Blue: water, the sky, the moon which guides us even in darkness.

Purple: the fringes of time – twilight’s glowing sky, autumn leaves, shadows, caves and the depths of the ocean.

Here we see in this spectrum our own shared spectrum, and realize how light and darkness merge, intertwine and depend upon one another for sustenance as well as continued existence. In perpetual harmony, balance and peace, they cancel one another out, and in their multiplicity, diversity and difference, they converge at a common origin.


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