Are You Blue, or do you have a Sunshine smile?

The Color Psychology Buzz is more than a pop culture mood

What’s “fun” about “functional color?”  Even though that sounds a bit dry, it’s gratifying to help create beautiful and healthy built environments of all types, inside and out. Another way color use can be functional  is  helping business people use color effectively in their marketing and products.  Part of this includes looking at current and future trends and events as they might apply to us in our homes, workplaces, and personally.

So, it seemed fitting to launch my Integral Color Blog with a few notes about a Not-New idea that is in the news from time to time, “Color Psychology.”  This subject always makes a big splash in shelter magazines and on the web.

A question: Why the currently elevated interest in colors…from intense to subtle?

dance of colors by josef.stuefer

image source: Dance of Colors, by  Josef Stuefer

It’s a fact: we crave color in our environments. Actually, this is a complex physiological and emotional experience. And it’s not just about color. Design in general always carries a lot of ‘buzz.’  One thought: could it be that the more pressure and stress there is in our lives the more we crave beautiful and aesthetically satisfying surroundings?

Most of our color choices have to do with what we see around us in fashion, furnishings, and other products. At the same time, our personal life experiences play in important role in how we make these color decisions. And, of course, our preferences can change from time to time—sometimes seemingly moment to moment! So, we wonder…  “what’s the ‘best’ color for me, to be comfortable, healthy, happy, secure, romantic…”  Well, while there is probably not one Best color for any of these things, there are ways of using color that can help.

The effects of color are everywhere. We’re influenced in ways both physical and psychological. Color use is not something that results in—or from— a definitive, simplistic equation between “color and our moods.”

What is “color psychology” and where does that idea come from? It’s much more involved than “…Blue makes you relaxed…”

Color, Environment, & Human Response—
the newest book by Frank Mahnke —provides a detailed exploration of how we are deeply affected by the colors around us.

If you like to read about color, check out our new Integral Color Design Library, with books by Faber Birren, Frank Mahnke, and others. These will give you an idea about the scope of some of the issues of concern to a color consultant.

I’ll be adding to the Design Library from time to time, with books about a variety of related subjects. I look forward to sharing these interesting color-and-design resources with you.

Until next time—enjoy your colorful experiences, wherever you are!


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“Enjoy the Process: Guidelines for Working with a Design Professional.”

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