Color psychology is a phrase used to describe the effect that "color" has on human behavior. The psychology of color is certainly not a new concept. In fact, it has been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Colors tend to carry non-verbal and subliminal messages, and the color spectrum evokes different emotions and physiological responses in people. The reactions people have to specific colors may be influenced by many factors, including their culture, location, gender, or even their age.
The emotions that are evoked by various colors are not always gender-specific. The same colors may generate one emotion in men, while producing a completely different emotion in women. Colors may also have different psychological impacts in different cultures. In eastern cultures, white might represent death; whereas in western cultures, white can represent life, marriage, or rebirth. Colors may also have a different impact on people in different age groups.
In addition to psychological effects, individuals can also have a physiological response to different colors. Studies show that some colors, red for example, can increase blood pressure, and the human body can actually experience physical changes as a result of color stimulus.
As a website designer, it is important to consider the effects that certain colors might have on your potential customers. The following chart describes some common color and emotion associations that are common in the western world. Keep in mind that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to color -- the same color may be perceived differently by different individuals. You must use your own judgment with your design palette.
Gray -- unsettling, moody, dull.
Yellow -- cheerful, happiness, optimism, playful, sunny, warm.
Black -- authority, power, somber, evil, easy to overwhelm, bold, empty.
Red -- energy, excitement, symbol of life, aggressive, passionate, vigor.
Green -- conservative, wealth, nature, good luck, fertility, generosity, sickly.
White -- purity, clean, sterile.
Pink -- calming, gentle, delicate, feminine, tranquil.
Blue -- cold, uncaring, focused, dependable, loyal, serene, sedate, trustworthy.
Purple -- royalty, religious, superficial, spiritual.
Brown -- reliable, stable, earthy.
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds, and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for RecordForAll, audio recording and editing software.© 2012 Sharon Housley
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