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Colour Of Emotion

Do you feel nervous about being in a yellow room? Will the colour blue make you feel happy and calm? Artists and interior designers have long claimed that colour can have a profound influence on moods, emotions and thoughts. “Colours, imitate the emotional shifts,” once remarked by the artist Pablo Picasso.

Colour is a strong communication tool which can be used for signalling, controlling mood, and even influence physiological reactions. Higher blood pressure, decreased metabolism and eyestrain were correlated with some colours. And how does colour really influence all that? How is colour thought to influence mood and behaviour?

Colour 101

You have a whopping 16.8 million colours to choose from when designing a website or anything in particular. And when you start combining them to form a palette? Your array of choices instantly becomes practically infinite.

Although interpretations of colour are rather subjective, certain effects of colour have universal significance. Colours in the colour spectrum red region are known as warm colours which include red, orange, which yellow colours. Such warm colours elicit emotions ranging from warmth and comfort to rage and hostility.

Colours on the blue side of the spectrum are known as cool colours and include blue, purple, and green. Such colours are often characterized as calm, but feelings of sorrow or indifference may also be brought to mind.

Colour influence performance

Trying to boost your job performance or kick-start a novel you’d like to write? Perhaps it’s time to look at the colour of your walls or the screen saver.

Studies have also shown that certain colours can have an impact on performance. No one likes to see a graded test covered in red ink, but one study found that seeing the colour red before taking an exam actually hurt test performance. Although the colour red is frequently described as dangerous, thrilling or exciting, many early studies on the colour red’s effect were largely inconclusive. Nevertheless, the study found that exposing students to the colour red before an exam was shown to have a detrimental impact on test results.

Colour is sales

Your colour preferences why buying items might say something about the type of image you may be trying to project.

Of course, the colour choices that we make are also affected by factors that include size, variety and other practical issues. Not only this, but the tastes of colour can also change over time. A person may prefer brighter, more attentive colours when younger, but as they grow older they may find themselves drawn to more traditional colours.

As a designer, you can set your target audience just by playing with the colour palettes.

Colour as therapy

Several ancient civilizations also practised chromotherapy, like the Egyptians and the Chinese, through the use of soothing colours. Chromotherapy is often referred to as light or colour therapy and is still being used as a holistic or alternative treatment today.

Some psychologists view colour therapy with suspicion and point out that the so-called colour effects are frequently over-exaggerated. In different cultures, colours have different meanings too.

Why should you care?

There’s no denying the link between emotions and colours. Naturally, any web designer wants to harness this as well, since the right colours create the right moods and atmosphere for your site.

No one’s expecting you to be Michelangelo, but a basic understanding of colour usage is a solid prerequisite for any design.

Colour is a powerful tool to impart a specific mood or feeling to your guests and can be used to increase brand recognition. You’d probably recognize a Coca-Cola sign just by its colour alone, let alone its iconic text.

Colour is so important that franchises like Starbucks have extremely low tolerances on colour deviations for each of its franchise locations. Each franchisee has to choose from the list of approved colours. Before the doors to the cafe open, a representative from head office comes to ensure that the colour as applied on the wall fits within the strict tolerances.

Use colour correctly, and your site will feel more natural and put together. Now that you have the basics down, I encourage you to keep walking further down the path into colour theory. But most of all, make sure to look at beautiful examples of colour used right, and to practice, practice, practice.

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