That color influences moods and behavior is proven by certain research, academic studies and our own personal experience. But, exactly how color works on our psyche is still a topic of much debate.
The Principles of Color Psychology
The early work on color psychology goes back to Carl Jung who studied colors as a tool for psychotherapy. This led to these basic principles of color therapy which are generally accepted today.
Color has a specific meaning;
The meaning of color is either biological or learned;
A person perceiving a color automatically evaluates it;
The evaluation of a color causes behavior induced by the color;
Color’s influence is automatic;
The meaning of a color is affected by context.
Color and mood
Color triggers certain moods in people. However, what moods are triggered varies from one person to another and can be influenced by a person’s ancestral habitat and cultural background. Nevertheless, there are certain moods that are generally associated with colors.
Warm colors – Yellow, red and orange are considered “warm” colors. The are said to cause feelings of warmth and comfort or anger and hostility.
Cool colors – On the other hand, colors like blue, purple and green are said to induce feelings of calm and serenity or sadness.
Colors at work
Translating this into a workplace environment, studies conducted by institutions like the University of Hawaii at Hilo have identified the way these colors affect a work environment.
Green and Blue – Walls painted with these colors can create feelings of calm and relaxation in employees. Green gives eyes some rest and helps reduce anxiety. This is especially helpful where lighting is not at an optimal level, or employees spend the day staring at computer screens. Blue helps reduce stress by lowering the blood pressure and heart rates. Some studies state that people are more productive in blue rooms. However, the darker tones of these colors can evoke feelings of sadness.
Yellow and Orange – These colors, associated with the sun, make a person feel warm and happy. However, when they’re too bright, they can be associated with hunger, anger and frustration. Yellow, the color of caution, in a workplace can cause eye strain by over-stimulating the eyes. This can annoy and irritate employees.
Red – This color can stimulate and excite employees. It can increase respiration, heart rate and brain activity. But it can get a person really worked up and is best used as an accent and not as a main color. Red can stimulate feelings of love, passion and danger, and has very strong attention-getting characteristics.
Pink – A very feminine color, pink can have a relaxing effect on employees. For a professional workplace, however, the casual, cozy feelings that pink evokes are not really suitable.
White – Another highly-reflective color, white can be a cause of eye strain. However, it conveys feelings of sterility and cleanliness although it is not a very stimulating color.
Where colors are best at
The cool colors are best for workplaces where people need to be calm and relaxed. Law offices, psychiatrists’ clinics, counseling rooms and public areas will benefit most from these colors. Even for production areas, a combination of blue and green gives a feeling of space and peacefulness.
White is suited for areas like hospitals or laboratories where sterility is called for. However, since it is not a very relaxing color, in won’t do well in workplaces where green and blue work best.
Although red is recommended more as an accent, it can be used as the main color for corridors, canteens and lounges. Because red is not a comfortable color, employees will not linger in red areas.
Libraries and research rooms can benefit from olive colors. These hues stimulate concentration and are conducive to reading and studying.
Where a business deals with many customers such as banks, stores, salons and entertainment areas, the right choice of color for physical premises can be an important factor in keeping customers happy. Exactly what mood you want to evoke from your customers will dictate which colors you choose.
About the Author
Lewis Edward is one of the owners of TheOfficeProviders. He is a real estate investor with many interests in other sectors. Lewis researches and contributes various written features for TheOfficeProviders in areas regarding real estate, including office space for rent and serviced offices, and general business and economy matters. Lewis is experienced in the inner workings of both the traditional and flexible workspace industries and has developed close links with various figures in real estate circles, as well as other circles.