The Power of Color: Three Colors to Think About

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It’s no stranger to us, the idea that colors play a big part in our lives. It helps us to express ourselves, brightens our surroundings, and even makes us feel

heart and wheel
Image source: inoc

It’s no stranger to us, the idea that colors play a big part in our lives. It helps us to express ourselves, brightens our surroundings, and even makes us feel good. Color psychology is the study of color and how colors can have certain effects on certain people. In the spectrum of colors, there are three which serve particularly well in altering one’s perceptions and emotions. These colors are blue, red, and pink. Not only do these colors have a psychological effect on us but they seem to affect us physiologically as well.


Blue Christmas lights through a frosted window
Image source: ahisgett

Blue reminds us of wide open spaces, of freedom, of the sky. Blue is used as a word to connote loneliness. But more often than not, blue has a calming effect on people. In fact, it has been noted that the color blue has actually prevented people from killing themselves. Police in Glasgow, Scotland found in 2000 that crime has dropped by 9% in high risk areas after they installed blue streetlights. Japanese railway companies switched to using blue lights at railroad crossings and found that this practically obliterated suicides by train! Infant jaundice is treated by blue light. Blue also tends to lower blood pressure and pulse rate, thus the calming effect.


red on black (mosaic)
Image source: -Merce-

The color red reminds us of passion, aggression, and intensity. Little wonder it has been revealed to lead to heightened respiratory and cardiovascular rates. This color is more likely to encourage a person to act on impulses which is why it is a color commonly found in bars and restaurants, as well as brothels – red light district isn’t just a name after all. Elevated heart and breathing rates also keeps people focused and as a study by the University of British Columbia has proven, red can help to focus attention and increase performance in detail-oriented tasks.


Image source: Ginny Sanderson

Pink isn’t considered the most masculine of colors. Guys who wear pink do not walk, they sashay…or at least that’s what stereotypical patriarchal machismo says. And as usual, it’s wrong. Guys who wear pink are not girly–it’s the guys who are around the guy wearing pink who are.  It used to be a common practice that high school football teams would often paint the visiting team’s locker room pink. Surprisingly enough, the teams that did it won, and they won a lot. The NCAA’s Western Athletic Conference banned the pink visitor’s locker room like it was a performance-enhancing drug.

The sheriff’s office in Mason County, Texas, converted all its inmates’ uniforms to pink, including shoes, socks, and even underwear and not only did theft rates drop to zero after the switch, but overall repeat-offender imprisonment rates went down to 68 percent. The director of the American Institute for Biosocial Research in Tacoma, Washington, Dr. Alexander Schauss, has suggested that pink also has neurological effects on physical abilities. Despite a person being angry or aggressive, their body would be less likely to respond in the presence of pink. Pink limits heart rates and makes the adrenaline surge needed for most violent actions nearly impossible. I guess there’s a reason why we seldom hear about ballerinas brawling.

Laura Brentley is a senior sales manager at Cardprinting US. She has extensive experience in working with plastic cards, color and color designs geared towards marketing large and small scale businesses. She believes that color is an advantage when it comes to advertising and gears her company’s card designs towards that end. See her latest post on the 5 Ways Of Percieving The Color Red.