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Psychological Properties Of Colours

Thinking of what to write a blog on, I came across this article about colors. It states that there are four psychological primary colors, red, blue, yellow, and green.  They relate respectively to the body, the mind, the emotions and the essential balance between these three.

Here are some examples they give on the colors:

RED. Physical
Positive: Physical courage, strength, warmth, energy, basic survival, ‘fight or flight’, stimulation, masculinity, excitement.
Negative: Defiance, aggression, visual impact, strain. 

Being the longest wavelength, red is a powerful colour. Although not technically the most visible, it has the property of appearing to be nearer than it is and therefore it grabs our attention first. Hence its effectiveness in traffic lights the world over. Its effect is physical; it stimulates us and raises the pulse rate, giving the impression that time is passing faster than it is. It relates to the masculine principle and can activate the “fight or flight” instinct. Red is strong, and very basic. Pure red is the simplest colour, with no subtlety. It is stimulating and lively, very friendly. At the same time, it can be perceived as demanding and aggressive.

YELLOW. Emotional
Positive: Optimism, confidence, self-esteem, extraversion, emotional strength, friendliness, creativity.
Negative: Irrationality, fear, emotional fragility, depression, anxiety, suicide. 

The yellow wavelength is relatively long and essentially stimulating. In this case the stimulus is emotional, therefore yellow is the strongest colour, psychologically. The right yellow will lift our spirits and our self-esteem; it is the colour of confidence and optimism. Too much of it, or the wrong tone in relation to the other tones in a colour scheme, can cause self-esteem to plummet, giving rise to fear and anxiety. Our “yellow streak” can surface.

Positive: Sophistication, glamour, security, emotional safety, efficiency, substance.
Negative: Oppression, coldness, menace, heaviness.

Black is all colours, totally absorbed. The psychological implications of that are considerable. It creates protective barriers, as it absorbs all the energy coming towards you, and it enshrouds the personality. Black is essentially an absence of light, since no wavelengths are reflected and it can, therefore be menacing; many people are afraid of the dark. Positively, it communicates absolute clarity, with no fine nuances. It communicates sophistication and uncompromising excellence and it works particularly well with white. Black creates a perception of weight and seriousness.
It is a myth that black clothes are slimming:

Which of these boxes do you think is bigger/heavier?



– I find these psychological properties stated, to be quite true about the colors themselves. This is especially for the black. I find it funny that although it is said that black makes you look slimmer, when put next to something the same size in a different color, the black is the one that looks bigger.. To me, yellow represents excitement and happiness. Giving a feel of brightness in my day. While red gives a sense of warmth but also danger.



  1. Golden Ninja wrote:

    Dear Kmikolon,

    I’d rather read about your own observations on color than something you
    simply copy and pasted from a website.

    What your doing is illegal and is considered copyright infringement.

    Here’s a great post on how to stop and prevent copyright theft.


    Monday, February 20, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Permalink
  2. meltherobot wrote:

    I found it interesting too much of each color had some sort of negative effect. In a world so immersed in the importance of color, it is ironic that the same colors that can cause a person happiness, can alternatively cause pain or fear when seen in abundance.

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Permalink
  3. kwalter wrote:

    Though I think it’s cool that they focused specifically on the positive and negative of each color, I think it would be much more interesting if there was a psychological study that talked about how certain color combinations effect us. Such as if by combining colors we can eliminate or greatly decrees the negative aspects of a color, or if by combining colors we project an even more negative effect.

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Permalink