Psychology of Color

The relationship between color and the human mind is more extensive than most people realize. Through a variety of associations and impressions that the mind has grown to make with colors, color is constantly psychological messages. On a daily basis messages are being communicated in people's choice of clothing and by the colors chosen in advertisements. The effect of color on the mind is known as the psychology of color and understanding this psychology requires an understanding of the different relationships they have with the mind. By looking at the different mental associations, direct associations, objective impressions, and subjective impressions that color impose, one can start to understand the psychology of color and how it is used by the different facets of society. It must be noted that a lot of the psychology of color is subjective and many color impressions/associations can be developed by personal experience.


The color red has a variety of associations that can be explored through the psychology of color. The human mind mentally associates red with things such as heat, fire or blood. These general mental associations are also met with direct and sometimes subjective associations that humans have been conditioned to make, such as red being associated with danger or Christmas time. The objective impression of red is one of passion and excitement, while on the subjective/cultural level it can be associated with anger or something of a particular fierce nature.


Mental associations with orange include warmth and the fall season. Direct, western conditioned associations can be with Halloween or Thanksgiving. The psychology of the color orange has a objective impression of being a lively and energetic color and on the subjective level it can associated with enthusiasm.


Yellow has a mental association with sun and sunlight. Its direct association is with that of caution. Objective impressions of yellow are cheer and inspiration and subjective impressions can be high spirit, and in some cases cowardice (e.g. yellow belly).


Green is a color that the mind generally associates with nature. A subjective, cultural association of green could possibly be St. Patrick's Day. Green has the objective impression of being refreshing and peaceful, and it has the subjective impression of disease, guilt or envy.


Blue is associated with ice, water, the sky and with cold. A cultural association could be with service workers or the United States Flag. Blue gives the objective impressions of melancholy and sometimes peace depending on the individual. A subjective impression of blue could be unhappiness or freedom depending on shade.


The mental association of purple is mist and shadow. The direct, cultural association could be with Easter. Objective impressions of purple are mystic and dignity, while subjective impressions include loneliness.


White is a color mentally associated with snow. Its direct association include cleanliness. Objective impressions of white are pure and clean, with subjective impressions being spirituality.


Black is mentally associated with night, darkness and emptiness. It is subjectively associated with mourning. Its objective impressions are death and depression. Subjectively, it can be associated with evil or negation of spirit.