Color Psychology

By Alexandra Margelu, Roxana Margelu, and Breanna Wells
MAY 18, 2021

Colors are everywhere; in the sky up above, in the outfit you’re wearing, and in the screen you’re looking at right now. They affect everything. Since Isaac Newton’s discovery of color because of light passing through a prism, there have been so many colors discovered and invented that it would seem as if there are an infinite amount, but there are only 650 colors named. Scientists continue searching for new colors, as seen from the discovery of YlnMn Blue by Mas Subramanian in 2009. Humans’ discovery of new pigments is only stopped by what their own eyes can’t see. Eyes can see one thousand shades of light and one hundred levels of red-green and another one hundred levels of yellow-blue, meaning by multiplying all these shades and levels, it can be deduced that there are ten million colors. These millions of colors all stem from 11 main colors: white, black, gray, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and pink. 

Colors are prevalent in our everyday life, but color psychology isn’t extremely developed. As researchers, Andrew Elliot and Markus Maier have stated. “Surprisingly, little theoretical or empirical work has been conducted to date on color’s influence on psychological functioning, and the work that has been done has been driven mostly by practical concerns, not scientific rigor.” Color psychology is the study of how colors impact human thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. Color is a powerful communication tool and can signal action, influence mood, and influence physiological reactions. Despite the general lack of research in this area, the concept of color psychology has become a hot topic in marketing, art, design, and other areas. 

Go Away Green: is a specific shade of green-grey that makes objects painted this color visually disappear. Disney’s main focus in formulating this color was to immerse their attendees into the magic of the park. By inventing this paint color to blend into almost anything: concrete, landscaping, the sky; objects can be practically hidden in plain sight.

Vantablack: Is one of the darkest substances known, absorbing up to 99.965% of visible light. It is a human-made pigment that, when touched, its coat becomes damaged and no longer stays the same substance.

Pantone 448 C: Is known as “the ugliest color in the world.” Market researchers determined that it was the least attractive color, and in 2012 it was selected as the color for plain tobacco and cigarette packaging in Australia. 

Baker-Miller Pink: Is said to “reduce hostile, violent or aggressive behavior.”  According to Alexander Schauss, the developer of Baker-Miller Pink, “The phenomenon affects the endocrine system, causing a tranquilizing effect on the muscle system.” Schauss conducted experiments, and one was where he showed subjects a large square pink paper which he then observed that his subjects became physically weaker. Prison cells, hospitals, psychiatric wards, youth clinics, and drunk tanks were painted this pink as an attempt to calm down their inmates and patients.