When I say blue what do you think? Water? The sky? Red, Apple? Blood? Orange, An orange? The visual perception we have of any living thing or inanimate object is made of multiple shades and nuances of colors. We don’t analyze them individually as we live our daily lives and yet they affect us in many invisible ways. Colors can play a role in the choices we make, in our purchases, clothing, how we perceive other people around us and even in the way we’re feeling right now!
Colors affect our Mood…
Our brain is constantly analyzing everything around and inside us. Colors are part of the lot and can unconsciously and immediately affect the perception of our environment, our emotions and behaviors. For example when you feel down on a grey day or happy under the warm light of the sun (✼yeah I’m picturing it right now and it feels sooo good✼).
Some of you girls might have heard of or applied the “lucky red underwear trick” that would supposedly attract a man to you on New Years Eve (I know I did under the advice of a great girlfriend and I’m pretty sure it played a role in my now long term/serious relationship, ✼haha✼).
Well, back to the main subject: It might not just be a myth!
Apparently, it’s very common for heterosexual men to experience higher levels of attraction for women wearing the color red. Red is unconsciously perceived as a strong and active color. Researchers have even shown that it’s related to our primal instincts! Red would be associated by our brain with health and testosterone. It is our unconscious and natural way to evaluate anger or arousal in sexual partners or enemies by the look of their skin (do you ever notice how red people get when they’re excited, angry or aroused?). This could also explain why many sports teams that wear red have performed better and even won more games than teams wearing cool colors. It’s partly related to our unconscious perceptions and is an effect of the color itself!
Similarly, warm lights have shown to make the time seem to pass slower and cool lights quicker. Again: it’s related to our unconscious. While you’re shopping or playing at the casino, your brain is there in the background, quietly analyzing your environment and associating it with a learned meaning or biological meaning. So, next time you enter a shop or a casino, think about that because it’s a very common trick used on customers to keep them longer or affect their emotions and choices.
Another example of light use would be in Japan, where certain railway companies use blue lights to try and reduce suicide attempts. Blue lights have a potentially calming effect that could help in these dramatic situations. Certain areas of England also use these lights to try and reduce crimes.
…and our choices:
The use of colors in marketing and branding is anything but not thought of carefully. Many big brands use color psychology to trick our brains into feeling certain emotions. Of course, their goal is to affect our judgment and choices about the product they’re trying to sell but did you know it’s not only used in logos or shop displays?
A lot of these brands “color target” their customers by country, age and customer type. Warm lights are used in shops that want to encourage unplanned/impulsive purchases however cool and neutral lights target more planned purchases and customers by enhancing the feeling of security and seriousness of the place which promotes this weird unfounded “feeling” of quality about the product inside the customer (a pretty easy and obvious example of brand using this method would be Apple).
These little manipulations go as far as using the names of the actual colors to affect our choices. I’m sure most of us have done it, at least once, consciously or not: Purchasing a lipstick or makeup item, because of its fabulous color of course but also because of it’s “super fancy” and “unusual” name? The first recent example that comes into my mind is the Fenty Beauty “typhoon” that hit the makeup scene a few weeks ago. Do you think the “Trophy Wife” highlighter would have gotten as much hysterical enthusiasm if it had been called “Bright Golden-Yellow” (don’t get me wrong, I love this thing and was part of the Fenty Beauty “hysteria” ✼I may be like 30% ashamed of myself, haha✼). I’m just pointing at the fact that research shows that most customers are unconsciously attracted to fancy unusual color names and are more likely to purchase these products than those named after everyday colors.
It’s all about the perception your brain has of the color:
As interesting and semi-useful as it can be (don’t forget to wear red at the next ladies night ✼wink✼), color psychology isn’t an accurate science. An individual’s perception of any color can be affected by its culture, gender, past experiences, religion, environment, age, etc.
If you’d like to know more about the associated meanings of each color around the world, I invite you to read this very interesting page listing most of them:
References and interesting related links: