Psychology of Color | Part 2: Cool Colors

Sep 30, 2022 at 12:00 pm by Barbara Din

Psychology of Color | Part 2: Cool Colors

As we saw in the first part of Psychology of Color, there are elements in art that help convey an idea, a sensation, a message, color being one of the most important.

Each color has positive and negative connotations, depending on the context and its relation with other elements. Both can be used to make your pieces say what you intend. For instance, you can use a negative connotation of a color along with other elements to communicate a specific emotion.

 

Cool Colors

In the first part we learned about warm colors. This time we’ll tackle cool colors. They recede and objects in these colors may appear smaller and farther away. Let’s take a look at each one.

 

 

Blue

Blue is the color of the sky. It is a mind color. Also the color of water, although in truth it is the sky reflected which gives oceans their color. It’s the color of winter. It slows down heart rates and lowers body temperature. It reduces sleepiness and helps us focus, but it’s soothing rather than stimulating. If strong, it will bring clear thoughts. If light and soft, it will bring calm and help concentration. It’s the favorite color of many people and the most preferred by men. It’s seen as a non-threatening color, so it’s considered conservative and traditional.

Positive

It’s related to intelligence and logic since it will help our minds focus. It gives serenity, so it’s also good for reflection. It’s described as peaceful, secure and orderly. Also gives the idea of stability and reliability. Many tech and other companies use it in their logos to convey intellectuality and trustworthiness. It’s often used in offices and studios because it makes people more productive in environments where mental skills are needed.

Negative

It can be seen as cold, icy and even distant. “Feeling blue” describes it all. It can give feelings of sadness and loneliness. It’s the least appetizing of the colors. It can also be seen as unemotional and even unfriendly.

 


 

Green

Green is the color of nature. Plants, trees, jungles and forests come to mind automatically. Refreshing and tranquil. The color of luck, money, health. Also the color of envy. Green has one of the widest hue spectrums, so it can relate to different things depending on its hue, saturation and lightness characteristics.

Positive

Since its hue is so wide, it’s considered the color of balance. Its positive association it’s biological: where green is found (plants), it means there is water and food nearby. For this reason, we perceive anything green as being more “natural” even if it’s not (green labels in food products, for instance, are linked to healthier alternatives). Depending on its hue, it can be relaxing (closer to blue) or stimulating (closer to yellow). It’s optimistic, and in many places directly related to hope.

Negative

On its negative connotations, it is related to envy (“green with envy”). It can also indicate physical illness and some body fluids when someone is sick. Mostly yellowish green, it can give signs of danger by being related to poison and radiation.

 


 

Violet | Purple

It is the color of spirituality. It became associated with royalty and wealth because dye in this color was rare and extremely expensive. Since its occurrence in nature is somewhat rare, it can be seen as exotic and other-worldly. It might be one of the reasons why it’s related to spirituality, magic and wisdom and be connected to the unknown, supernatural and divine. It is the last visible wavelength on the high side, so it’s related to space, time and the universe.

Positive

It’s associated with wisdom, creativity, magic, enlightenment and intuition. It’s introvertive and can help contemplation or meditation. Since it’s rare in nature, it might seem mysterious and intriguing. It’s linked to royalty, power, ambition and luxury (I’m not sure I want to place these in the positive, but I’ll follow cultural views in this case, not my own). It conveys the highest possible quality.

Negative

It may be associated with extravagance and pride. Introversion, decadence, suppression. Darker shades may represent sadness and frustration. In some places its linked with death and mourning. Too much of it can convey excess of what it represents and become cheap and nasty.

 

Next time, we’ll talk about neutral colors and some extras. Stay tuned!

 

 


 

Barbara Din is a visual artist, graphic designer, painter, interior designer, crafter, musician and writer living in Argentina.





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