ELTWeekly Vol. 4 Issue#13 | March 26, 2012 | ISSN 0975-3036
This paper is submitted by Dr. Neena Sharma, Asst. Professor of English (Applied Sciences & Humanities), Raj Kumar Goel Institute of Technology, Ghaziabad (UP), India.
Color plays a vitally important role in the world in which we live. Color can sway thinking, change actions, and cause reactions. It can irritate or soothe your eyes, raise your blood pressure or suppress your appetite. When used in the right ways, color can even save on energy consumption. As a powerful form of communication, color is irreplaceable. Red means “stop” and green means “go.” Traffic lights send this universal message. This paper focuses on influence of the color of an individual’s feelings, culture and attitudes of others.
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Color is a powerful and important communication tool, and it is tied to religious, cultural, political and social influences. Much of the human reaction to color is subliminal and a person is generally unaware of the pervasive and persuasive effects of color. The psychological effect is instantaneous.
Color adds tremendous meaning to communication as it vitalizes the visual message, delivering an instant impression that is, most often, universally understood. This is especially important in conveying a mood or idea where verbiage is not used or understood. Color is a universal language that crosses cultural boundaries.
Most of us have a favorite color or prefer some colors over others. This is because can affect our moods so we surround ourselves in the colors that have a positive impact on our mood. Red can boost your energy, yellow often makes people feel happier, and blue is proven to bring down blood pressure and slow your heart rate which is why it is often associated with being relaxing. If you combine the happiness of yellow and the relaxing feel of blue you get green, a very pleasing color for many people.
Different colors mean different things in different places. This is extremely important for designers to know because without an awareness of the cultural significance of a particular color, you risk offending your entire target audience. Purple for example is a color of mourning in Thailand. In western culture however, it is associated with royalty, luxury, wealth and sometimes magic. The brand color for Thai Airways is purple. On first glance this seems like a huge error on their part because as mentioned above, purple is a color of mourning in Thailand.
What exactly is color psychology?
It is the effects of the electro-magnetic radiation of light on human mood and behavior – a universal, psychophysical reaction, which is not as heavily influenced by culture, age and gender as is generally thought.
It is important to understand that there is a great difference between color psychology and color symbolism. Historically, what is often described as color psychology is actually color symbolism – the conscious associations that we are conditioned to make. Cultural responses to color derive from a variety of causes: for example, green is the sacred color throughout Islam, being the color of the Prophet’s robe; in Ireland it is considered lucky, perhaps because when the world around us contains plenty of green this indicates the presence of water and therefore little danger of famine; in England it is considered unlucky, possibly because of its association with decay and disease.
There are many examples of color symbolism: purple is associated with royalty for the simple reason that, until relatively recently in our history, it was an extremely expensive dye and only royalty could afford it; red is the color of blood and has associations with war.
Color is Nature’s own powerful signaling 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.
You are born with an attraction for particular colors. What you feel about them will probably last throughout your lifetime. Like you, your color choice is the result of your genes, early childhood memories, education, parent’s beliefs, cultural training, political leanings, and other aspects of living.
Little children who cannot yet speak whole sentences will often express themselves eloquently with a set of crayons. Children usually love bright colors.
And so it is with adults. Preferences for one color over another reveals your true personality; the characteristics of your “self” and of the eye with which you see from within.
Marketing psychologists advise that a lasting color impression is made within ninety seconds and accounts for 60 percent of the acceptance or rejection of an object, place, individual, or circumstance. Because color impressions are both quickly made and long-held, decisions regarding color can be highly important to success.
About 80% of the information which we assimilate through the senses is visual. However, color does more than just give us objective information about our world. It affects how we feel. The presence of color becomes more important in the interior environment, since most people spend more time inside than outside.
As an educator and an educational facilities planner, it’s important to know how color influences learning and what colors are best for specific age levels and environments.
Color affects the totality of our being, the whole quality of our life each day. Colors can bring on illness or promote wellness; they can cause us to experience an uplift of spirit, a conditioned response to familiar surroundings, a slow boost into psychological well being and various other reactions based on the following eight significant factors.
Invisibility of colors
There are the qualities of different colors in different manner in the life of human being.
White – Peace, cleanliness, purity, simplicity
Black – Melancholy, dark, glamour, security
Red – passionate, confidence, alive, energy
Blue – supernatural, trust, coolness, reflection
Orange – healthy, serious, abundance, fun
Yellow – exciting, happy, joyful, Optimism, emotional strength
Green – nature, balance, refreshment, environmental awareness
Use of color to create ambiance
Color has long been used to create feelings of coziness or spaciousness. However, how people are affected by different color stimuli varies from person to person. The hues in the blue range have been shown to have the highest preference amongst people. There is evidence that suggests that people tend to prefer certain colors depending on the ambient temperature. People who are cold prefer warm colors like red and yellow while people who are hot prefer cool colors like blue and green. Studies have shown that colors have an effect on people’s moods and emotions. One problem that exists is that these studies are inconsistent on determining which colors bring out or reflect specific moods and emotions. In other words, the relationship between color and behavioral response exists but there hasn’t been any consistency as to how it exists. Some research has concluded that women tend to feel pleasant seeing “warm” colors while men tend to feel pleasant seeing “cool” colors. A few studies have shown that cultural background has a strong influence on color preference. These studies have shown that people from the same region regardless of race will have the same color preferences. Also, one region may have different preferences than another region regardless of race. Children’s preferences for colors they find to be pleasant and comforting can be changed and can vary, while adult color preference is usually non-malleable.
Significance of colors on culture
Colors have different meanings in different cultures. A certain color may closely be related to the internal worlds of some people, while it may symbolize a moral enlightenment for the others. The clarification of the role of colors in everyday life entails a comprehensive study. However, it is certain that they have different meanings according to the nation, region or culture involved
Color has symbolic meaning that change amongst different culture. People absorbs the symbolism of color, develop preference and reaction to them from reference inherent in their own culture. In the United States, the color red is often associated with passion love or emotions. If someone were to come to a funeral dress in red, immediately gossip would take place and the person would be criticized. Nobody would consider that perhaps this person has roots in South Africa in which red is a color of mourning. Red is representative of joy and happiness and is the traditional color of bride. Yellow is a symbol of power in Chinese culture, where it indicates evil and disease for the Turks. Colors closely affect the feeling of people. People may have experience of feelings such as sorrow, happiness and stimulation through the usage of colors
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