What do different colors mean
Color psychology: 12 colors + their meaning and effect
Colors are not just bright. According to color psychology, they have a huge impact on us - positive as well as negative. Colors are pure emotions. They draw attention and can trigger different feelings. This applies to marketing and advertising as well as to our clothing or the colors in nature. Colors have the power to influence decisions or even improve our memories. We will show you how it works, what meaning different colors have and what color psychology reveals about you ...
➠ Content: This is what awaits you
➠ Content: This is what awaits you
Science: What is Color Psychology?
Color psychology examines whether and to what extent colors influence our thoughts and feelings. Behind this are preferences, associations, but also cultural and historical meanings. People have always used the symbolism of colors to express power or feelings. What happens in our brain and what an enormous manipulative effect colors have has only been researched more intensively for a few decades.
Blue is not just the world's favorite color. Studies in Scotland and Japan have shown that blue street lights can reduce crime and suicide rates. On the other hand, green makes you more creative at work. This is what Stephanie Lichtenfeld from the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich found out, for example. Whether as wall paint or screen background: Anyone who looked at green spaces in the studies developed more and better ideas afterwards. A Microsoft study, on the other hand, was able to prove that a certain blue (hexadecimal code: # 0044CC) is clicked particularly frequently on links on the Internet. The company has since called it the "$ 80 million blue".
Color effect and symbolism
How colors affect us depends on several factors. Some colors are known from nature as warning and signal colors: red, for example, or the combination of black and yellow (as with wasps). In addition, colors have been given certain meanings over the centuries. For example in religious contexts and ceremonies.
The cultural background also plays a role in the color symbolism. In Germany, for example, black is a typical color of mourning. White, on the other hand, symbolizes purity, which is why the bride wears white at the wedding. In China it is the other way round: there people wear white to funerals. In South Africa, on the other hand, red stands for mourning, in China it is the color for great happiness.
Color psychology: which color stands for what?
Knowing the meaning of colors not only helps you get to know yourself better. It is an essential key to being able to understand certain decisions or to be less manipulated. We'll show you which colors mean what in color psychology.
Color Psychology Yellow
Yellow is the color of the sun. It shines particularly intensely and noticeably. Yellow stands for warmth and a good mood (just think of smileys!), Development, striving for freedom, curiosity, spontaneity, openness, expectation, creativity and cheerfulness. Yellow is ideal against depressive moods and can even increase the ability to concentrate. As a particularly lively color, it is considered funny, playful and cheerful. In Japan, on the other hand, yellow stands for courage.
Typical idioms about yellow:
- "The yellow of the egg" (= the best)
Typical yellow brands: ADAC, Post, McDonald’s, Ikea
Color Psychology Orange
Orange stands for youth, energy and joie de vivre. The color looks even warmer than yellow and stands for a thirst for adventure, optimism and sociability. It helps against loss of appetite or depression. Orange is also an extravagant color. It is often worn in clothing by extroverts. But safety vests are also orange because they are particularly noticeable. At the same time, the color stands for autumn and the harvest time. So on the one hand a time of abundance without a lack (of food). At the same time, the orange of the autumn leaves heralds the approaching winter.
Typical orange brands: Hermès, Fanta, Nickelodeon
Color Psychology Red
Red is one of the strongest signal and warning colors. It stands for self-confidence, strength, vitality, activity, dynamism, passion and eroticism. Studies have shown that women in a red dress are particularly attractive and attractive to men. It is the color of life and love, but also that of rivalry, anger and aggression (“A person sees red”). Blood is red. Accordingly, the color is reminiscent of danger and war, of suffering and punishment. It is no coincidence that many prohibition signs are red. The color alerts us.
Typical phrases about red:
- "Seeing red with anger"
- "Blushing with Shame"
- "Keeping the red thread"
- "Roll out the red carpet for someone"
Typical red brands: Coca-Cola, Nike, Netflix, Lego
Color Psychology Pink
Pink is a typical pastel shade. He connects the power and love in red with the innocence in white. Accordingly, the color (unlike the stronger pink) stands for powdery delicacy, tenderness, sensitivity, delicacy and femininity. It's a typical girl and baby color. Accordingly, she is considered particularly innocent and pure. Partly also as naive. Which is reflected in some idioms.
Typical phrases about pink:
- "Float on pink clouds"
- "Looking at something through rose-colored glasses"
Typical pink brands: Barbie, Cosmopolitan
Color Psychology Pink
Pink is much stronger and more expressive than pink. It rather stands for fascination, joie de vivre, devotion. But also for romance, extraversion and the desire to attract attention.
Typical pink brands: Telekom, LG, Lyft, Dunkin ‘Donuts
Color Psychology Violet
Violet was previously reserved for the nobility and high-ranking clergy. It therefore symbolizes power and magic. Color is one of the most contradicting in color psychology. On the one hand, purple is an expression of high standards, mental autonomy and sovereignty, which is why the color is often used in connection with religion, sexuality or luxury. But it also stands for mysticism, fantasy and nostalgia. Sometimes it is associated with vanity and ambition. For most people, purple has a calming to concentration effect.
Typical purple brands: Milka, Yahoo, Twitch, Monster
Color Psychology Blue
Blue is the color of the sea and sky. It symbolizes depth (ocean) as well as breadth (horizon), inner calm as well as harmony, balance and contentment. Blue stands for comfort and truth, seriousness, honesty and creativity. It is the most popular color worldwide - for both men and women. Because many associate it with loyalty, reliability, empathy and trust, it is particularly often used in marketing and company logos. However, blue can appear cool and distant.
Typical expressions about blue:
- "Promise someone the blue of the sky"
- "To skip work"
- "Be blue"
Typical blue brands: Facebook, Pfizer, Ford, Deutsche Bank, Linkedin
Color psychology turquoise
In color psychology, turquoise stands for clarity (of thoughts) and friendliness. Like blue, the color symbolizes openness and seriousness. At the same time, it stands for emotional balance and someone who is in balance and enjoys life. The harmony of the blue, the growth of the green or the energy of the yellow are mixed in the color. Turquoise is a particularly “witty” color that can inspire ideas and strengthen concentration. She radiates positive energy without being intrusive. She remains gentle and at the same time maintains control.
Typical turquoise brands: Intel, OB, Hasbro, Dacia
Color Psychology Green
Green is the color of nature: lush grass and fresh leaves are green. The color is therefore a symbol for life itself, for naturalness, fertility, hope and harmony. In marketing, green is often used as a symbol of freshness and health. A pronounced environmental awareness is also reflected in the green. Likewise perseverance, authority and autonomy. Personally, the color stands for self-respect and a high claim or dignity. It combines the joy in the yellow with the calm in the blue. The color relaxes and calms us. Many people associate greenery with prosperity, freedom and security: emergency exits are indicated with green signs. Green traffic lights, on the other hand, indicate that we can travel freely and safely. However, there are also negative symbols in the color: envy as well as poison ("poison green").
Typical expressions about green:
- "Be green with envy"
- "Be green behind the ears"
- "Don't come across a green branch"
- "The same in green"
Typical green brands: Android, Heineken, Starbucks, Spotify, Vorwerk
Color Psychology Brown
Brown is the color of the earth and wood. Accordingly, Braun symbolizes down-to-earthness, stability, warmth, security and security. Wood-paneled rooms immediately make us feel comfortable and calming. Although the color is one of the dark tones, it exudes pleasure, comfort, gentleness and sensuality. It is, however, another ambivalent color. It is also associated with ease and unimagination. It is not uncommon for it to be considered old-fashioned and boring. Spoiled things turn brown. Likewise digested. Brown therefore also stands for dirt or bad. In Germany it is also associated with Nazis. Brown is therefore one of the most unpopular colors.
Typical brown brands: UPS, M & M’s, baked goods
Color Psychology White
White is the color of purity and innocence. She is a powerful symbol of truth, cleanliness, peace, perfection and perfection. Nothing shines brighter than white light. Therefore the color is often associated with the divine. The color also stands for a new beginning: snow is white, milk (which babies drink) too. Because of its purity and flawlessness, white is used by doctors in hospitals as well as by professional chefs in the kitchen. It indicates: Everything is clean and sterile!
Typical idioms about white:
- "Like a white, blank slate"
- "Have a clean slate"
- "Have something in black and white"
- "A white spot on the map"
Typical white brands: Apple, Marc Jacobs
Color Psychology Black
Black stands for night and darkness. It is - at least in this country - a symbol of mourning and death. But also for the unknown, the mysterious and the threatening. Black cats, for example, symbolize bad luck soon. It is one of the strongest colors around. It therefore not only emanates power - it also signals this: high dignitaries and statesmen often wear black and drive up in black limousines. Therefore, black can also exude aloofness, elegance and dignity.
Typical black idioms:
- "See black"
- "Black as the night"
- "To be the black sheep"
Typical black brands: Amazon, Chanel, Dior, James Bond
Color psychology gray
Nothing symbolizes neutrality and sobriety as much as gray. It's the color of age. But also the color of maximum restraint or even sadness. Gray is inconspicuous, indifferent, distant. Many associate it with loneliness, worry, or sadness. At the same time, simple gray can express elegance, understatement and modesty. Therefore, the color is also a sign of a serious and stable person.
Typical expressions about gray:
- "Everyday gray"
- "Be a gray mouse"
- "Grow gray hair"
- "Paint everything gray in gray"
Typical gray brands: Swarovski, Nintendo (until 2016)
What your favorite color reveals about you
Speaking of favorite colors: the preferences even allow conclusions to be drawn about a person's personality. The most famous color test for this is the so-called "Lüscher test". It was developed in 1947 by the Swiss psychology professor Max Lüscher (who also developed the red for the Bild newspaper). The "Lüscher-Color-Diagnostik" has been revised, modified and improved over and over again and today supposedly enables insights into the characteristics and emotions of a person. Do not you believe? Then take a quick test here and now!
Take a look at the following colors and put them in a mental order - starting with their absolute favorite color. Please do not ponder for long! That falsifies the result.
Resolution to the color test
According to Lüscher, the ranking of the colors reveals the following:
- The colors in the first and second position represent your goals in life.
- Positions 3 and 4 represent your current life situation.
- Places 5 and 6 show displaced inclinations.
- The last two positions represent feelings that you reject.
Which colors have a positive effect on people?
Colors are used everywhere. In marketing as well as in living or our clothing. Warm colors (yellow, orange, red) have been shown to stimulate the appetite. They are therefore often used on food packaging. The cooler blue and green, on the other hand, stand for freshness and are therefore increasingly found on hygiene and frozen products. The so-called “Cocktail Party Study” showed that people prefer bars with red rooms, but stay longer in blue rooms. And when researchers at the British Durham University examined the effect of jersey colors on Olympic athletes, they came to the conclusion: The red-clad wrestlers won 60 percent of the cases over the blue-clad wrestlers. Explanation: Red radiates more dominance.
The saying "Clothes make the man" is true in two ways: Shape, cut and design express status and power. But colors too. An effect that many people take advantage of in their professional lives, for example by wearing clothes and colors for negotiations or job interviews that appear serious and trustworthy and at the same time express high status or dominance.
Use color psychology in professional life
The findings of color psychology can easily be transferred to professional life. Be it in the design of offices and wall colors or in the drafting of logos and company colors, the so-called corporate design and image. Many logos and lettering of strong brands have a high recognition value and at the same time reflect the values or history of the company in their color symbolism.
The choice of colors and where and how we use them, also has a major impact on how we are perceived by others.
- Applicants For example, you can use colors subtly in your application by (discreetly) reflecting the colors of the desired company in the application documents and thus signal a high level of identification or even affiliation.
- Creative in turn, their clothing can express individuality and a wealth of ideas as well as belonging to the industry. For a while, black was extremely popular among advertisers, architects and designers. It was very much in vogue to only wear black.
Applying Color Psychology: Tips for Everyday Life
Colors can be used to set effective accents and influence the effect on other people. Use this more consciously in everyday life and for your success. For example like this:
Due to the symbolism described above, you should choose colors carefully. Depending on which values, character traits or mood you want to express. Conversely, you shouldn't be surprised if your choice of color triggers associations or is culturally interpreted differently.
Colors should be chosen according to the occasion: muted colors are better for official occasions and in the evening, bright colors for festivals or parties. White clothing is considered to be particularly clean. But it is also particularly prone to stains. White is therefore just as unsuitable for strenuous activities as it is for working with a lot of dirt.
- Favorite colors
We all have color preferences. However, your personal favorite color is not always the best choice when it comes to clothing. Either because fashion is currently specifying a different color as “trendy”. Or because we don't look particularly advantageous in it due to our skin type or our figure.
Not all colors harmonize with each other. So-called complementary colors have a particularly balanced effect. Based on the three basic colors red, yellow and blue, the complementary color is always mixed from the other two. So red harmonizes with green, blue with orange, yellow with purple. When it comes to clothing, on the other hand, it looks particularly stylish if no more than two colors are used in total.
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