Life is full of colour. It affects how we perceive our environment, and influences our emotions. The psychology of colour comes into play in selecting décor in hospitals, schools and correctional institutions, and also in the shades of paint we choose for our homes, although sometimes the latter is an unconscious factor. We decide on a particular paint chip because we like the colour, but don’t necessarily know why.
Although there are three primary colours on an artist’s colour wheel (red, blue and yellow), colour psychology is based on four main colours (red, blue, yellow and green), each with various positive and negative characteristics. Red relates to physical properties, blue to intellectual, yellow to emotional and green to balance. You can read more about their properties here.
The question I have is whether we give enough consideration to colour in our writing. We struggle to choose character names that reflect the era and personalities, but what does the colour of their clothing choices, home furnishings and vehicles say about them?
I wonder what the colour choices I make say about me when I select my boxes of facial tissues. I had a miserable cold when I chose this one!
RED — Physical
Positive: Physical courage, strength, warmth, energy, basic survival, ‘fight or flight’, stimulation, masculinity, excitement.
Negative: Defiance, aggression, visual impact, strain.
Do you make use of the psychological properties of colour in your writing?
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