Myth or Reality? This is what science says about the color effect

Myth or Reality?  This is what science says about the color effect

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Feng Shui, packaging design, marketing – the areas of life in which the use of color is used to evoke a certain reaction in people could hardly be more different. This is not only about esoteric teachings, but also science now knows about the complex color effect. It is therefore interesting to take a closer look at the findings on how colors work psychologically and what differences there are between the hues. An overview.

Which color a person likes more or less is a matter of personal taste. That is why the color effect is repeatedly doubted and often the living rooms, the clothing etc. are freely designed in color as desired. A mistake, because it is now undisputed that certain colors have a certain effect on the brain. Therefore, their power can and should be used to pursue specific goals. This can be the case in a job interview in order to radiate certain competencies. But the color effect is also relevant in the living room, for example to relax or concentrate better. Also, companies are using them these days when it comes to their branding and marketing. Because the right design of products, advertising clips & Co ensures higher sales and thus more economic success. A question that also occupies many people is: Can you escape the color effect?

This is how colors affect the brain and the psyche

No. That’s the simple answer. Because the effect of colors is unconscious, i.e. it takes place directly in the brain and therefore controls, for example, our well-being or behavior without us noticing it. Nevertheless, it can help to know the color effect and, for example, to consciously pay attention to other aspects such as the ingredients or the price when making purchasing decisions. Although it is not possible to completely avoid the color effect, it can at least be reflected and thus faded out to a certain extent.

Even so, the brain always will react in a certain way, when they see a colour, be it in nature, in living spaces, on packaging or on a website. This is due to evolution, i.e. the “harmless” green, for example, has a calming effect, while warning colors such as red attract our attention. To some extent, the quick perception and classification of colors used to help with survival. Colors therefore have a direct effect on one of the most important human senses, vision, and can evoke different moods. An effect that everyone knows from their own experience, for example when a traffic light suddenly turns red.

What effect do the individual colors have?

Red is one of the primary colors along with yellow and blue. They cannot be mixed from any other color and are also often found in nature. They are therefore also among the most effective colors. As already mentioned, red is a warning color, i.e. it attracts a lot of attention. However, for the brain it primarily means danger, but also restlessness, anger or aggressiveness. The color is often associated with great emotions, such as passionate love.

Blue, on the other hand, has a calming effect. Many people feel that when they look at the sea. At the same time, a dark blue radiates seriousness and trustworthiness, which is why it is often worn in job interviews or used by insurance companies for the logo. Other associations with different shades of blue are basic trust and longing.

The last primary color, yellow, is considered the color of the sun and is therefore associated with positive feelings. Lightness, joie de vivre and energy are stimulated by yellow tones. The same goes for concentration. Even in the treatment of depression people now like to work with yellow. But colors other than the primary colors also evoke certain brain reactions:

  • Green is considered the color of hope and has a calming effect. Since it is one of the most common colors in nature, it is also said to have a harmonizing effect. Green indoor plants, for example, provide a balancing and at the same time invigorating effect.
  • Purple is considered a spiritual color and is often worn on festive occasions. In therapy, it is used to relieve pain. The violet can also stimulate creativity and calm at the same time, similar to the blue.
  • Orange is refreshing and invigorating. It is associated with summer and brightens the mood. Its color effect can therefore be compared to that of yellow. However, some people experience it as intrusive and restrictive – depending on where and how much it is used.

The color effect is therefore not always positive, but is perceived differently depending on the tone, intended use and other factors. It is interesting that cultural differences can also be identified, i.e. depending on the culture, a color is associated differently by people and can therefore also evoke different reactions. This is at least true on the conscious level, i.e. whether red is associated with love or danger, for example. The unconscious level, on the other hand, is the same in every culture, for example the distinction between warm and cold tones.

Use of colors in different areas of life

If you want to use colors in a targeted manner, for example in marketing, you have to take various aspects into account. There is the general, i.e. the unconscious color effect in the brain. There is the cultural background of the target group. There would be personal taste and there would be technical hurdles. Depending on the material, a color can appear differently, perhaps brighter or more muted. It is therefore important to define the desired color in the conception and then use tools to match it like the European color scale bring to the end product. Colors can then have a high recognition value and can be used in company branding, for example. In the meantime, real experts for colors with extensive training are at work in marketing, branding, packaging design and many other areas of the company. But the color effect also plays an important role in other areas of life:

  • Color therapy or color light therapy for the treatment of mental illnesses. Colored light is used here, for example to relax or to brighten the mood. A special form of treatment in this area is color acupuncture, in which classic acupuncture is combined with irradiation with colored light.
  • Living, for example in the form of wall paints or furnishings, because here the colors can have a long-lasting effect on particularly large areas. The Feng Shui teaching deals with this special form of the color effect. It is therefore important to think carefully about the color in which a room should be designed depending on its use. Blue walls are well suited in the bedroom and should help against insomnia. In the study, on the other hand, yellow stimulates concentration or violet creativity – depending on the job.
  • Food, because the brain is naturally trimmed to assign certain properties to the colors of food. Fruity, sweet, bitter, poisonous – such associations are made automatically, which does not mean, however, that they always correspond to the truth. Nevertheless, the colors often allow conclusions to be drawn about the food, for example green food is often particularly healthy with lots of vitamins and fiber.
  • Clothing, i.e. how a person is dressed, is directly related to his personality. Loud colors can attract more attention, others radiate seriousness or creativity, for example. Knowing this color effect and using it consciously in certain situations, such as a job interview or a date, is therefore helpful in some cases.

The list does not end there, because ultimately colors play an important role in every area of ​​life. It is therefore quite exciting to deal intensively with the effect of color in order to better use it privately and professionally in the future – and at the same time to protect yourself from unconscious decisions or misjudgments based on colors. In addition, it remains exciting to see what further insights into colors and their effects science will bring forth in the future.


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