Colour associations in Western culture

There are four psychological primary colours – red, blue, yellow and green. They relate respectively to the body, the mind, the emotions and the essential balance between these three.

What exactly is colour psychology?

It is the effects of the electro-magnetic radiation of light on human mood and behaviour – a universal, psychophysical reaction, which is not as heavily influenced by culture, age and gender as is generally thought.

Colour is energy and the fact that it has a physical effect on us has been proved time and again in experiments – most notably when blind people were asked to identify colours with their fingertips and were all able to do so easily. The shorter the wavelength, the stronger the underlying physical effect.

Colour is Nature’s own powerful signalling system – the universal, non-verbal language. Scientifically, it is the first thing we register when we are assessing anything: a very simple and obvious example of that is our reaction to a fly in our home: if it is black or navy blue, we will probably find it a minor irritation, but if it has yellow stripes our reaction will be different – most of us will recoil. The same instinct tells us when food is unsafe to eat and throughout the animal kingdom colour is widely used to signal sexual availability.

On a wider level, the colours of our environment affect our behaviour and mood. When yellow daffodils, bluebells and colourful crocuses appear, we immediately begin to feel livelier; when grey skies and rain or snow surround us we instinctively draw in and tend to hibernate.

Colour Associated with Colour Associated with
Red Passion, Anger, Vigor, Love, Danger Yellow Knowledge, Energy, Joy, Intellect, Youth
Green Fertility, Wealth, Healing, Success, Growth White Purity, Healing, Perfection, Clean, Virtue
Blue Knowledge, Trust, Tranquility, Calm, Peace, Cool Black Fear, Secrecy, Formal, Luxury
Purple Royalty, Wisdom, Spirituality, Imagination Orange Creativity, Invigoration, Unique, Stimulation
Gray Passion, Anger, Vigor, Love, Danger Yellow Knowledge, Energy, Joy, Intellect, Youth
Green Balance, Sophistication, Neutrality, Uncommitted White Purity, Healing, Perfection, Clean, Virtue
Ideas in Motion 😉