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Colors & Emotions

People from all walks of life, country or age have one thing in common. They associate a particular kind of feeling with a colour. In most languages and cultures, colours have significance beyond just the shade representation. Green is envy, red in anger, love or luck, purple is royalty and blue is sadness.

The concept of colour theory and colour psychology has existed since businesses and markets realised that just like we use colour to refer to emotion, certain colours could be used to instil an emotion in us. Through research and surveys, we have explored how colours can help convey certain moods, influence decision making, and even set up certain moods. It also plays a huge role in our snap judgements.

Unfortunately, there has not been enough research to generalise colours and their respective emotional connections, nonetheless, we are moving in the right direction. An International Colour Survey (2018) has been established to allow people from a varied population to share their understanding of colours and emotions to find out how we are looking at this connection in the 21st century.

Beyond our collective outlook, we also have personal connections with colours. Our childhood memories play an important role in determining that connection. If your grandmother knitted your sweaters in shades of red, you will not see it as the colour of anger, but a colour that makes you feel warm and loved. It is fascinating how these tiny details seep into our lives and gives us more depth in perception. What is your favourite colour and where did it come from? Think about it!

Even a shade of colour has its own impact on your day. Let’s say you picked up the colour yellow in clothes for the day, it could mean:

  • You feel happy,

  • Ready to take control,

  • Feeling creative, etc

Even though the western population has a generalised understanding of colour, in the Indian, or even South East Asian context the interpretations are very different and not much research done in this area. Hopefully, that changes in the coming years. Art therapy, which is seeing a surge in children, thoroughly enjoying using colours and art to express themselves better. Art is one of the easiest ways to express nonverbally and hence, you can see why researchers would want to understand colours better.

Now, here are a few reflective questions for you to assess your own connection with colours:

  • when you’re feeling calm, which colour(s) come to your mind?

  • Which colour would you wear on a date night?

  • Your school tiffin box has always had a variety of colours, but which colour would you not like to see your food in?

  • When you’re angry which colour represents your anger best?

Think about it.

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