Introduction to Colors Meanings
Colors meanings are closely related to cultural associations with various colors. The study of color psychology, color therapy and color symbolism reveals an in-depth perspective on both society and individuals. Find information below on the following topics:
Links to additional articles on color symbolism, color meaning, healing with colors and colors psychology can be found at the end of this page.
The basic colors of the spectrum are the most fundamental colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. These colors combine with each other and with white and black to create all of the other colors that we can see. The information below is based on Western colors meanings unless otherwise noted. The color meanings of the basic light spectrum are summarized below.
There is an infinite array of colors that are variations on the basic colors of the spectrum. Yellow, blue and red are primary colors and are mixed to create secondary colors: green, orange and purple. From there, tertiary colors are created that are combinations of the secondary colors: yellow-green, orange-yellow, orange-red, etc.
Each of these colors have slightly different meanings. These secondary and tertiary colors are usually colors that appeal to adults, as they tend to be more sophisticated colors. The meanings of tertiary colors and complex colors are usually based on the colors from which they have been mixed.
Additional colors can be also created by adding white to make a tint or black to make a shade. These colors also have their own generally accepted meanings in color symbolism. Black, for example, symbolizes death and grieving
Pink is related to warmth and love, gentleness, beauty, and an outward orientation. White means purity, inner illumination and spirituality. White softens the sometimes harsh impact of red. Pink is a more sophisticated color than red, which often makes it more appealing to most adults than pure red. Pink is also gentler and more appropriate for healing. Variations of pink can be used to relieve depression. As the color of warmth and love, pink is a comforting color meaning gentleness and beauty while encouraging motion and an outward orientation.
Designers like to give variations of these colors attractive names of their own rather than calling them "orange-red" and so forth. Thus, colors are named fuchsia, aqua and turquoise. For consumer appeal, complex colors are often given even longer names: light sea green, deep royal blue and rich chocolate brown.
Heraldry scholars can sometimes disagree on the subtle meanings for colors used in coats of arms and other decorations related to heraldry. The colors meanings below are the most commonly accepted meanings.
Gold or Yellow Heraldry Color Meanings:
Red Heraldry Color Meanings:
White or Silver Heraldry Color Meaning:
Blue Heraldry Color Meaning:
Green Heraldry Color Meaning:
Black Heraldry Color Meaning:
Purple Heraldry Color Meaning:
Orange Heraldry Color Meaning:
More Information About Color Symbolism
For more information about color symbolism, please see the following recommended Amazon books:
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Andrews, Ted. How to Heal with Color. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2006.
Chiazzari, Suzy. The Complete Book of Color. New York: Barnes and Noble Books, 1998.
Sloane, Patricia. The Visual Nature of Color. Blue Ridge Summit, PA: TAB Books, 1989.
Chevreul, M.E. The Principles of Harmony and Contrast of Colors and Their Applications to the Arts. New York: Reinhold Puyblishing Corporation, 1967.