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What is Colour Psychology?

Colour is a powerful force that influences our perceptions and decisions on a moment-by-moment basis, yet we often dismiss its importance and take its powerful properties for granted. Many people lack an understanding of how to fully use colour to nurture and heal themselves and others. We interpret this knowledge with the study of Colour Psychology.

According to Wikipedia, "Colour Psychology is the study of hues as a determinant of human behaviour. Colour influences perceptions that are not obvious, such as the taste of food. Colours can also enhance the effectiveness of placebos (in medical trials). Factors such as gender, age, and culture can influence how an individual perceives colour."

Colour Psychology examines colour as it relates to human emotions. While studying Colour Psychology we learn about the emotional energy that each colour holds. We put words to these emotions so that we can better understand them. We see and feel and hear how colour has affected each of us individually. We share these experiences and, in doing so, we can uncover hidden blocks or biases.


Opening Up To Colour

As design professionals using Colour Psychology, we use colour in a different way. We start off by using it to nurture and nourish ourselves. We begin to see the relationship we have with colour as a natural and obvious connection. We learn to harness its power in a different way. We no longer take colour for granted. No more is it hidden in the back of the underwear drawer only to be pulled out on special occasions. We no longer proclaim that we don't 'do' colour and instead, we comfortably sit at the table as people of colour. And the couleur-du-jour, or combination of colours of the day, is whatever we damn well please at any given moment.

We no longer ask, "Does this colour suit me?" We know that it suits me just fine for right now. We use colour like chocolate to soothe our savage emotions and evoke joy. Our individual connection to colour is deeper and clearer and the message of each colour is unique and unmistakable for every one of us. Respect for each other's individuality and personal preferences is established through our understanding of Colour Psychology.

It is liberating! Like archaeologists, we uncover the hidden treasures of colour buried deep within us. Its where probability and potential sit silently in a monochrome landscape, waiting patiently for discovery.


Culture of Colour

The colour meanings in Colour Psychology are universal, while the interpretations are individual. Colour has an energy vibration that everyone emotionally reacts to whether they realise it or not. Within each colour’s vibrational field there is positive and negative energy, and everyone has a reaction to this energy. Our reactions and reasons for liking or disliking a certain colour are unique to each of us and this is influenced by our life experience.

Culture, as in our ethnic background and where or how we grew up, can impact our positive and negative responses to colour. The stuff of good memories can be seen in the explosion of colour as the Hindus celebrate Rangwali Holi as part of the larger Holi festival. It is a free-for-all festival of colour. People take to the streets in good humour and good grace and cover each other with colour. Water-filled balloons and water pistols are used to saturate each other. No one comes out unbathed from this streetscape of colour.

Everyone is fair game, regardless of caste or creed. Child, elder, rich or poor; stranger, friend, male or female all take part as equals. They frolic and fling colours in the open streets and parks, outside temples and public buildings. They sway and swirl as musicians move from place to place to spark singing and dancing in this joyous celebration of community. People visit friends and family to laughingly lob the coloured powders at each other and celebrate spring, love, and colour. It is a time to forgive and forget; to heal and be healed. The festival, which started on the Indian sub-continent, can now be found in many communities around the world. (Source: Wikipedia)


Colour Is Connection

This is the secret truth behind colour. It opens us up to the hidden depths that bring us together as equals in celebrating life and individuality. It is an invitation that is open to all of us - to heal and be healed. 

Colour Psychology is the study of human activity through the analysis of colour as a meaningful communication tool. The Colour Psychology student's toolkit consists of 51 colours based on the traditional colour wheel. Colours are organised in a circle in relation to each other and follow the order of the rainbow. Like archaeology, it could be considered a social science which examines and explains human beings; as well as the humanities, a study that analyses how people process and document the human experience. 

Colour Psychology is a deeply insightful tool for assessing human behaviour. It also gives us permission to have a whole lot of fun! Imagine having a Holi festival in every city and town worldwide where all are invited as equals and all sins are forgiven simply by celebrating with colour? Now that's something wonderful and worthwhile to celebrate!



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