How Colour Affects our Mood

4th January 2020.

Article by Hannah Fellerman.

Happy new year! I hope you enjoyed the festive season and your new year celebrations with loved ones.

Welcome to our newly re-vamped news blog where we will be sharing consistent articles on a variety of topics. We will be sharing a mixture of light hearted, fun articles and more serious topics relating to social change.

 

If you would like to contribute to our blog, please get in touch at info@ezelle.co with the subject “guest writer” with some detail about yourself and your writing experience (all experience levels welcome).

Now let's get into our first article...

 

How colour affects your mood and why you should care about it in 2020.

 

If one of your new year's resolutions is to start bringing a bit more colour into your life, here's something which might encourage you to do so.

 

I've always known there was a link but recently discovered the extent to which colours affect our moods and I wanted to share this with you all.

 

One reason why I choose particular colours for my print designs is due to how they make me feel. I've always been drawn to certain colours, colour combinations and shades as they make me feel a sense of calmness, happiness and altogether positivity. The first print collection I launched for Ezelle has now taken on a whole new meaning for me since discovering more about the relationship between colour and our moods.

Have you ever noticed a calming effect when you enter a room with a certain colour scheme? Or perhaps a certain coloured item of clothing makes you feel happier? Maybe you are always drawn to the same set of colours? Do seeing certain colours or combinations of colours make you feel uneasy and you can't understand why?

 

There are scientific reasons which explain why this happens and there are also a spectrum of reactions to the same colours or colour groups (as no human being is psychologically wired exactly the same). There are also expert recommendations on what colour combinations work best in clothing and interiors based on how they make yourself and others feel. All fascinating stuff for colour lovers but also those interested in psychology and self improvement. We will discuss this further below.

Scientific research points us to the many ways in which colours impact us; men and women seeing colour differently, warm and cool tones tricking our minds into what temperatures we feel, our emotions and behaviours changing depending on different colours and how they affect our moods. The latter is what we will be focusing on today.

What is a "mood" first of all?
"A mood is a feeling or a person's specific state of mind at any particular time. A mood is also the prevailing emotion found not only in people but also in literature, music, and other expressive arts."

In this article I am going to discuss how the former definition of 'mood' is affected by colour.


Think of all the positive moods you've ever felt (e.g. happy, calm, relaxed, romantic, content, peaceful etc). Imagine if you could feel those moods, even just a handful of them each day, using nothing but colour, wouldn't that be amazing? You probably already do this, but I'm going to do my best to show you how it could work through utilising colour more effectively in your life.

In the last century, there has been much research dedicated to the study of colour and it's effect on human psychology. Although still very much a work in progress, we can derive some findings associated with the link between colour and mood, based on the many studies carried out.

 

In a 2014 article on the scienceofpeople.com, colour choice and mood are discussed in some detail;

 

Behavioural Investigator and also the Lead Investigator for Science Of People, Vanessa Van Edwards, is interviewed for the TV Series 'AM North West' about colour choices and how they impact ourselves and the impressions they make on others. She derives some very specific findings on how colour affects our day to day lives. See interview here.

 

Within the rest of the article, Vanessa also talks about the findings of colour specialists and researchers;

 

American born colour specialist, Leatrice Eiseman asked thousands of people about the way colour impacts them and she found many patterns that meant colours had similar impressions on different people. For example, the colour blue is mostly connected to the blues found in nature (sky, ocean etc) which is seen as positive from an early age as it is associated with playing outdoors. It also means that the weather is calm, which is why blue can remind us of stableness and feeling tranquil.

Furthermore, she is careful to note that there are no definite answers, however there are qualities which can be pulled together from her decades of research about colour. Scienceofpeople.com also note that our personalities can also influence our opinions on colour but there are some general rules which can help you choose the perfect colours to suit different moods and situations.

 

The article also points out that other research has told us that colours can not only affect our moods but also the way others around us can react. Another interesting finding which is noted is that colours can change our heart rate, blood pressure and respiration according to findings by Keith Jacobs and Frank Hustmyer (1974).

 

In a recent study entitled 'How Color Affects Mood', a variety of research has been thoughtfully gathered together and summarised in a succinct way by Kelly Rhoades. Rhoades has discovered the many moods and emotions associated with each colour and she has concluded that there are “developed” and not so developed colours which means “more centralised” and “less centralised” meanings and believes that “to benefit the community of scholars, a study to pinpoint the exact meanings of purple, pink, orange, brown and white is needed.”

 

Nevertheless, based on all the above mentioned research, here is a basic guide to colour which you can use to positively influence your moods through your clothing and interior choices.

 

BLUE

Loyalty, stability, tranquillity, comfort.

RED

Passion, aggression, intensity, excitement, self confidence.

YELLOW

Happiness, optimism, youth, cheerful, friendly, open.

GREEN

Healing, success, hope, rejuvenating, therapeutic, pride, will power.

BLACK

Power, mystery, professional, rebellious, sadness.

PINK

Sweetness, romance, gentle.

PURPLE

Royalty, spirituality, luxury, dignity.

BROWN

Stability, natural, reliability, comfort, strong roots.

ORANGE

Energy, fun, warmth, exoticism, sociability, change.

WHITE

Purity, cleanliness, innocence, peace, spirituality.

GREY

Neutral, practical, quiet.

In terms of clothing, it's also highly important to wear colours that suit your skin tone as this will also positively affect your mood, as well as effortlessly accentuate your natural features. I will be discussing this in our next article and have an exciting collaboration with a fashion colour expert, so stay tuned for that!

Until next time, keep the momentum going with your new years resolutions and let us know some of your thoughts on today's topic by commenting below. Did you learn something new?



Reference list and further reading:
 

  1. Sadie Steffens, “When It Comes to Color, Men & Women Aren't Seeing Eye to Eye” (https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/brain-babble/201504/when-it-comes-color-men-women-arent-seeing-eye-eye), April 8th, 2015, psychologytoday.com.
  2. Sally Augustin Ph.D, “The Surprising Effect of Color on your Mind and Mood” (https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/people-places-and-things/201504/the-surprising-effect-color-your-mind-and-mood), April 11th, 2015, psychologytoday.com.
  3. Allison S Gremillion, “Colors and emotions: how colors make you feel(https://99designs.co.uk/blog/tips/how-color-impacts-emotions-and-behaviors/), September 2019, 99designs.co.uk.
  4. Vanessa Van Edwards, "Color Psychology: What Colors Should You Wear and Why” (https://www.scienceofpeople.com/color-psychology/), scienceofpeople.com.
  5. Kelly Rhoades, “How Color Affects Mood” (http://kellyrhoades.weebly.com/uploads/5/7/7/0/5770751/how_color_affects_mood_literature_review.pdf), kellyrhoades.weebly.com.

 

All images used in this article are Royalty Free.