Have you ever walked into a room and felt just instantly pissed off? Or stood in certain lighting and just got a general weird vibe? Shout out pretty much ALL fitting rooms ever. On the flip side, you might have seen a stranger wearing a certain colour and instantly wanted to hang out. That’s pretty much the basis of colour psychology, which says that certain hues make us really *feel* stuff, whether we realise it or not.
Every colour has a frequency, making it a kind of energy, and if that sounds too woo-woo for you, look around you right now and notice how you’re drawn to something specific in your vicinity. Describe it. Did you notice the colour of it? Thought so. There’s a reason certain cultures believe in chronotherapy AKA the use of colour to heal.
We’ve come a long way since the Ancient Greeks were convinced all colour was celestial light being sent from the heavens, made up of the weirdly vague components of “lightness or darkness.” Today, our understanding of colour’s impact and perception is rooted in biology. Human’s take in a LOT of other variables when they’re considering a colour and every person will have a different reaction to the same stimulus. Throwback to the white and gold/blue and black dress fiasco that took the internet by STORM circa 2k15.
For some, the concept of wearing colour is just a hard no, and let’s face it the all black everythaaang look is a LOOK, and if that’s a hill you’re prepared to die on that is a-okay. However, there are some seriously promising studies that show that colour can boost your mind and body just by being near you, and everyone from UX designers to prison officials are considering how to use colour to their advantage.
For the colour shy, think a more vibey, subtle pop than rainbow head-to-toe. Here’s some benefits if you still need convincing.
The right colour can get you in the mood
There’s a reason so many people look so goddamn rocking in red. It can stimulate your adrenal glands, produce adrenaline and feelings of invigoration as well as reducing your reaction times. Read between the lines with that one ;)
It can improve your memory performance
Studies show that you’re more likely to remember something’s colour over its shape. According to one performed at University of British Columbia, certain colours can help with concentration and attention span, making it far easier to remember things. Don’t want to forget something? Write it in red.
It can give you a massive hit of serotonin
Ever wondered why so many kids TV presenters wear yellow? Because it’s generally considered to be the colour with the best vibes. For a lot of people, yellow reminds them of sunshine, and who doesn’t love a shot of vit D once in a while? It’s not just kids TV shows, it’s also used in a lot of marketing and commercials because it quite literally sparks joy. If you journal, try using a yellow one and see how it affects your mood.
It can make your creative juices run WILD
Various studies have shown that people are more open to create when surrounded by certain colours. Although it varies for everyone, green seems to score *really* highly on the scale. It can intensify positive thinking, which in turn can make you live a little and try something new. Amen to lime green being IN right now.
Yes to blue walls, no to blue screens
Blue has one of the shortest wavelengths on the spectrum and sits on the opposite end to red. Medium to light tones of blue can induce calm and leave you feeling chill AF. On the flip side, blue light in brighter shades and close proximity can cause confusion in our brain, tricking it into thinking it’s sunlight. Our natural response is to increase cortisol and decrease melatonin, which basically totally f*cks up our sleep cycle. Think pale blue walls and no phone in bed.
The bottom line? There’s no definitive interpretation for the impact of colour. There’s no colour queen telling you what, when or how. It’s all open to interpretation, especially across different cultures. If you’re not willing to ditch your all dark ensemble or whitewash apartment, start small. Kick off with a scrunchie, and build up to a feature rug when you’re ready to get wild. Life’s meant for living in technicolour, baby.
Article written by Ianthe Jacob
Article Image credit @oaknarrow