The effect of colors

Our memory determines what a color means to us and how colors affect our thoughts and feelings. Colors determine the experience of self and environment. They influence our behaviour and control our actions, although we rarely recognize the cause of this “power of colors”. We can feel it when we eat “unappetizing colors”, wear “ugly colors” on our bodies or are expected to live in “tasteless colors”. Everyone is a color expert, as we have all felt and perceived the effects of colors since birth, as soon as we interact with the vividly visible environment. Color memory forms an important part of every person’s life experience and a reliable basis for our actions. This is precisely why we are particularly disappointed when something is not as it seems or behaves as the color promises. We don’t like it when beautiful colors don’t dress us, when delicious colors don’t taste good or when we don’t feel good in tasteful colors. We react angrily when colors demand our attention and yet have nothing to give or tell us. It is therefore important that color designers not only deal with the effects of colors on people, but also with their causes. These can be found in the life experiences and circumstances of the person or target group, which must form the basis of every successful color decision. Successful color design is applied color psychology.

Color home and color preferences

Every person develops individual color preferences in the course of their life, some of which are innate, but most of which are based on life experiences. People integrate themselves into the color world of their parents, caregivers and idols. Through the interaction of all the senses, we get to know the function and meaning of all the colors in our habitat. Natural phenomena such as seas, rivers, deserts, forests, swamps, plains and mountains are experienced with all the senses and are later present in every color event. Each person’s color home is strongly influenced by regional factors, the specific colors of nature, light and atmosphere. All environmental factors, such as climate, soil, plants and animals, can be perceived in the colors of the natural space. In an urban environment, on the other hand, the presence and significance of cultural artifacts and aesthetic practices dominate. The experienced meanings and contexts that colors convey to us in the process of perception determine our orientation, behavior and actions in our living environment. As the sensory media of our perception and imagination, colors affect our thoughts and feelings. They are the basis for the wealth of forms of aesthetic design and shape the appearance of the entire cultural area. Colors affect people because they form the fabric of our memory.

Favorite colors

Very few people can clearly answer the question about their favorite color, as their own color preferences are not usually reflected in language. If you do get an answer, it often contradicts the use of this alleged favorite color, which is in fact usually mentioned for the sake of its symbolic effect. In surveys, people most frequently name blue, as symbolic meanings such as openness and truthfulness are generally valued. They mention brown and black the least, as they don’t want to appear stuffy and conservative or be associated with the symbolism of fascism. Our favorite colors are clearly shown by their purpose in shaping our own personality and their use in the process of visual communication with society. Color preferences can be observed and clearly determined in the clothing, everyday objects and living and working spaces of individuals. They become visible in the experience and behavior that changes with the use of the freely chosen color palette. Our favorite colors are reflected in the frequency of their use. We use the repertoire of our colors specifically to achieve effects on the experience and behavior of other people. To do this, we not only use our favorite color, but also select exactly the color from the palette with which we can achieve the desired effect most effectively. Intuitively, i.e. without conscious consideration, most people choose their clothing colors to suit their intended use.

Color psychology

The results of our study should help us to understand why we do this and what influence colors actually have on people’s experience and behavior. The successful application of these findings must take place against the background of individual and group-specific worlds of experience as well as the context of the respective perceptual situation. Color psychology is used to understand the effects of colors on people’s experience and behavior. Consequences for the design and communication process can be derived from the understanding of color effects. Applied color psychology promotes the functionality of design and the effectiveness of communication.

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