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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

The Secret Meanings of Colors

The Secret Meanings of Colors

Why do doctors wear white? Why are legal pads yellow? Colors have many meanings to many people. Throughout history, colors have had colorful interpretations, but here are some of the most widely held modern beliefs about the meanings of colors:

– White: Innocence. Purity. Fresh. Good. These are some of the meanings of white. Brides wear white (innocence), doctors and nurses (although many wear blue now) wear white (sterility), and heroes tend to wear white or ride off on a “white” horse.

– Black: Authority. Power. Evil. Elegance. Black is a popular color for clothes as many believe it’s slimming. Yet it is also associated with evil (black holes, black capes), and sometimes submission.

– Yellow: Cheerful. Attention-grabber. Youth. Fun. Energetic. Yellow is an interesting color. While it’s usually associated with upbeat and optimistic feelings, studies reveal that when a room is painted yellow, tempers are lost more and babies tend to cry more. It is supposed to encourage concentration, thus yellow legal pads, but it’s also a hard color for the human eye to take in so it shouldn’t be overused.

– Red: Intense. Love. Caution. Beware. Red is a very emotional color. It is supposed to stimulate a faster heart beat and breathing. Red is love. Red clothing gets noticed, as do red cars. Red is a good color to use for accents.

– Blue: Tranquility. Loyalty. Wisdom. Trust. This very popular color is known to have calming effects over people, thus it is a popular color for bedrooms. On the other hand blue can be cold or depressing. Looking for a job? Wearing blue is suppose to symbolize loyalty. Increase employee productivity by painting the office blue.

– Green: Nature. Growth. Money. Fertility. Safety. Green is easy on the eye and can improve vision. It has a calming effect, thus the “green rooms” where guests who are to appear on TV wait and it is often used in psychiatric wards. It’s often associated with good health too.

13 comments

1 ali { 02.17.14 at 8:45 am }

it is so interestig.

2 unknown { 09.28.13 at 6:41 am }

If mix all 6 earthly colors together u would have brown as 7th natural color

3 Dansanll { 03.20.13 at 4:37 pm }

It is rather interesting that Everyone believes that the class they took or an article that they read really qualifies them to know what emotion a color can or does invoke. I said interesting but really I meant funny.
Color will invoke feelings in a person fully dependent upon how that persons mood causes them to react. Precisely why we love a color one time we see it then totally hate it the next time. Just as productivity is not tied to a particular color! Please!
If any of the color to emotion theory was remotely true, there would only be a few colors available, instead of the thousands of variations.
Stop the madness and paint the color you or your client wants!
Our businesses have been every color imaginable. The profit line never changed. Therefore I paint the color I like and I still have happy employees and customers.
It really is more about the styling and design of color and texture the decor.

4 John { 01.16.12 at 2:48 pm }

The colors shown are the basic colors. Everything else is a combination of colors. Sadajiit, this reference came from the Farmer’s Almanac, an American Publication. It may be white means something else in your country, but the publication is not a politically correct book.. it is geared for our culture, so please understand it as such.

5 Sadaajit { 01.12.12 at 12:30 pm }

Please note that this is western idea. White in India is the color of death…. So, know the meaning of the colors for your culture!

6 Susan Zambella { 01.12.12 at 4:57 am }

But what about purple? You left it off the last time you ran this too.

7 Jan Newman { 01.11.12 at 10:31 pm }

I also think this is very interesting. I love colors

8 Cesare A. Ricci { 01.11.12 at 1:40 pm }

always fascinated by colors…was wondering if there was any corrolation between astrology signs and colors.

9 Grammy_Red { 01.11.12 at 10:57 am }

This is so funny because I just finished learning about the “meaning” of most colors in my Design Principles course and am now enrolled in a Fundamentals of Color course. Everything in the article holds true to what I have researched and learned in my first course.

It is important to remember that the value (varied lightness and darkness) of a color also has different effects on emotions and its meaning. For example, the color red can denote passion and alarm, but if the red were darkened then it may denote fear (resemblance to blood in horror movies), or if the red were lightened to a pink then it may denote charm and girlishness.

There are a lot of websites out there that can go into further depth about color, but I will answer the question asked by Nitengale “Why do restaurants decorate with red…” Red is an eye-grabber and stimulus, which is why many companies advertise with red, and perhaps restaurants want a high turnover rate by giving patrons a boost in eating more quickly with the stimuli. But red is highly notable for increasing one’s metabolism, as is so with a strong yellow in small splashes of accent in decor. Hope that helps.

The world of color is interesting and awesome. Have fun exploring!

10 Haiwa { 01.11.12 at 10:51 am }

The beauty of the color and association of Black is not just based on evil (bad) but an mystery, unknowing, powerful, sexuality, sophistication, formality, elegance, wealth, fear, unhappiness, depth, style, sadness, remorse, anger, anonymity, underground, good technical color, mourning, death (Western cultures). it more of a fear of the unknown than an evil. For example: an unknown place, a dark house without lights, a dark closet (that’s not evil) but mysteriously feared until you can see, know and understand. Just like Red, it has it evil association as well, fiery, fire, blood, hatred…

11 tom cavanaugh { 01.11.12 at 9:30 am }

make sense to me that my living room is the color of psychiatric wards

12 Susanne { 01.10.12 at 9:31 pm }

Makes sense to me

13 Nitengale { 01.10.12 at 4:53 pm }

Very interesting. Would like to learn more on the physiological response to colors. Why do restaurants decorate with red…etc. Would also like to see more colors explored…peach, kavendar, taupe etc.

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