The Influence of Colors on Mood

The influence of colors on mood is often subtle, but nonetheless apparent. People have known for hundreds of years the effect that tones and hues of colors can have on how we feel and the mood we are in, how vibrant colors can help energise us whilst subtle tones can calm our moods.

Taking cues from the visual things around us, our minds create psychological associations for each color, eventually handing the color itself the ability to bring out certain emotions and moods within us. Although there are exceptions, due to people’s personal tastes, the moods associated with the colors below are ones which most people will recognise within themselves.

Blue – the color of skies and clear oceans, blue is associated with a calm and relaxed mood. Mentally soothing, the color blue can influence our mood to subdue and calm our senses, promoting creativity. Pale blue colors are often used in the walls of correctional facilities to encourage a soothing effect and calm tension.

Red – A powerful color, red has many associations thanks to the distinct forms it takes in nature. Red is the color of blood and danger, influencing a mood of excitement and passion as well as being a warning color. Associated with lust and sexuality, as opposed to true romance, which is typically thought of as being pink in color, red is passionate and stimulating. Wearing red can convey a whole host of emotions, but regardless of the situation, this color shows you mean business.

Pink – A more gentle color than it’s neighbour red, pink is usually reserved for females, and in particular younger girls. It has a youthful feel to it, and being so feminine can help create moods of gentle, innocent and sweet romance. Delicate and inviting, pink is the color to wear if you would like to create a romantic atmosphere without resorting to the more provocative and dangerous red.

Green – The color of many backstage television areas, green is a natural color, putting us in a calming, nurturing mood. The color of grass, trees and Springtime, green also represents rebirth, fertility and healing, with medical uniforms often being this color. Research by Washington State University discovered medical patients who are in a room surrounded by greenery can tolerate more pain, recover quicker from surgery, and need fewer drugs to heal than those without the green around them.

Yellow – Although not as intense as red in power, the color yellow can promote a range of moods. Yellow, depending on the tone, can be soothing and mellow, creating a feeling of warmth and happiness. Alternatively, overly bright yellow, particularly combined with other colors such as black can signal danger and encourage caution. It’s a color that can warm moods and also ‘burn’ depending on it’s brightness. Generally optimistic, yellow can also promote self confidence

Purple – Rarely appearing in nature, exotic purple is the color of royalty, wealth, power and elevated station. Purple also influences our imagination, intuitive moods, and encourages spiritual insight. Being a mix of cold blue and hot red, purple has a relatively well balanced nature. According to research by the American Medical Association, purple light has proved to have a very positive effect on jaundice, and this color is also associated with healing.

Black – In the West, as opposed to countries in the East which can have very different associations with this color, black is associated with death and the unknown, creating a mood of darkness and mystery. Traditionally worn at funerals and for serious events, black is a powerful color that is no-nonsense. The color of the occult and the clergy, black can also influence a mood of spiritual mystery and enchantment.

White – The color white has a positive influence, being associated with purity, goodness and cleanliness. Just as the bad guy in Western movies wears the black cowboy hat, his good, kind opponent will wear the white hat to signify his positive merits. White can create a heavenly, peaceful and spiritual mood in many people in the West, but further East, it is white, not black which is seen as the color of funerals.