The Theory of Color-Psychology in a nutshell.

In ‘A Brief History of Color’, we learn and acknowledge the contribution made to the study of color by Newton and Goethe, however, it is still difficult to pinpoint the origins of color psychology as a subject of academic study. Within the field of psychology, it is universally accepted that we humans all have the capacity to analyze our own inner world, and that includes the world of color. Without thinking about it, we innately know which colors make us feel good and which make us feel bad.

In the energetic and spiritual world, our bodies possess several “chakras”, or fields of spiritual energy, whose unrestricted flow is considered essential for good health and emotional well-being. Each chakra has its own color and each color is intended to represent an emotion, reflective of the core strength or quality found within this chakra.

From a medical point of view, color is a matter of visual perception. As colored light enters our eyes, it passes through our retinas, which then sends information to the brain. This enables us to perceive the color whilst at the same time, triggers the thalamus, – the primary player of the endocrine system. The thalamus activates the associations that this color has created in our sub-conscious mind, and sets off a chain reaction of hormonal messages that pulse through our blood and brain, triggering emotions. This emotional reaction is unique. It is as individual as is a fingerprint. The memories, feelings, and ideas we each associate with a given color are specific to the lives we have lived and the experiences we have been through.

Not everything about color perception is unique. In our modern world, where marketing is so important, we are now seeing a trend toward the use of certain colors to elicit particular effects. Food is packaged in carefully chosen colors. Bread, for example is typically presented in a golden or brown container, in order to remind shoppers of home-baked goods, and of food just taken out of the oven.

In the world of sales, color plays a huge role. ‘Cooler’ colors, are said to put the mind at ease, and have their own role to play in marketing. Green for example is used in stores to relax customers and promote harmony in our brains, leading to a more calculated purchase. Blue is said to be the most common color used by conservative brands looking to promote trust in their product. Red, which creates a sense of urgency, is good for clearance sales.

Warm’ colors, on the other hand such as orange and yellow can trigger caution and optimism on the one hand and anxiety on the other. These colors are said to be successful when used in a window display because they are said to attract more spontaneous purchasers who might feel anxious that if they do not make this purchase now – in a cautiously optomistic manner – it might not be available the next time they come to look at this product.
Even in the world of sports color plays a huge role on the psyche. As we know red is used in stop lights throughout the world, and is therefore associated with halting, both symbolically and psychologically. It has been noted that players taking penalty kicks in soccer matches performed worse when the goalkeeper wore a red uniform. This was understood as an indication that players perceived the red and were less able to shake off the sub-conscious message of ‘HALT’ that was triggered in their brain.

Colors are powerful. Colors are energy, emotion, and feeling. Our attention to color is an indispensable, deeply rooted part of how we engage with the world around us. My great hope is that Eden and Ethan’s adventures will share the world of color with their young readers, and so make all our days a little brighter.

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