Color psychology

Via Lifehack, I found a link to a brief discussion of color psychology. When I was in design school, I took a class in color psychology and found it utterly fascinating. Little did I know then that the class would prevent my becoming a rape victim -the man outside my door was wearing a green tie so I didn’t let him in. Green -in a business context- can mean one is not trustworthy (there’s a reason green business suits are rare), blue is its opposite. If you read the psychology of color, you’ll learn why this site’s colors are red, white and blue. My color selection wasn’t based on my personal color preferences; it was deliberate and intentional. Hopefully I continue to portray the values represented by the colors I chose. You can find more on color psychology here.

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  1. Josh says:

    However, seamstresses often refuse to use green thread on the eve of a fashion show for fear it will bring bad luck.

    That is weird, I’ve never heard that one.

    My shop walls are a bubble gum purple. My bedroom walls are a light palmetto green.

  2. Anne says:

    Nice refresher on color psychology, Kathleen! I’ve just started a blog and chose green for my scheme…as I read, I started to worry that it’d make me appear un-trustworthy! However, since it’s a distinctly non-business blog (about sewing for community service…which is very relaxing and refreshing) I’m now reassured that green is the right choice. Thanks for a fun read! I’ll refer to some of your thoughts at

  3. Michael says:

    I think there is a strong cultural aspect to color psychology. In Western culture, white is symbolic of innocence, while in many Eastern cultures it’s associated with mourning/death. It’s kind of funny/different. Here in the US wearing a black armband to a funeral would be acceptable, but wearing a black armband to a wedding would be an insult.

    I took a beginning art class in college and we had to do some abstract work. This one girl was from Asia and she had a reddish-pink phallic shape on her painting, and some other girl jokingly commented on it. The Asian girl was slightly embarassed since this wasn’t her intent. She explained that in her part of the world red stood for…something that I forgot. Innocence, I think.

    Of course, I wrote that, then looked at the Wikipedia article.

  4. Bill Waddell says:

    A note of caution – I wouldn’t spend too much money or devote too much of your marketing message to color, especially if you are trying to target men. Better than 25% of us are color blind to some extent, and the message is lost on us. Kathleen’s site could be Green, White and Purple for all I know. Wrapping yourself up too much in your color scheme is like advertising exclusively on the radio, and wondering why no deaf folks buy from you. get your color scheme right, but then give some thought to how it would look in an old black and white photo and you’ll see how a big percentage of people will see it.

  5. deerskin says:

    There’s a little rhyme that’s part of costume shop folklore:
    Baste in black–it will be back
    baste in green–it won’t be seen
    baste in red–better to be dead
    baste in white–always right
    There’s variations of course.
    The “it will be back” means it will come back to the shop for alterations or repairs or something.
    “It won’t be seen” means that that costume will be cut from the show so the public will never see it.
    Basically basting is best in white because some colored dyes are fugitive and will mark the fabric they are basted with, particularly red.
    So perhaps the fashion show stitchers fear relates to this.

  6. moss says:

    Yes, I agree with the cultural aspect of color choices. My Korean friend told me that he never thought that wearing pink would be less than masculine. Apparently Korean dudes wear pink all the time. And white is a funeral color in China. So I think this psychology stuff is mostly bs, at least outside Western white middle class culture.

  7. Katie says:

    i read a bit about the colors used for the site. It is in my opinion your site is a bit hard to read due to the light grey you are using, so i dont know about the psycology about it but it kinda sucks, although your site is great information wise, the colors chosen are hard to deal with reading wise

  8. christy fisher says:

    Katie: I,personally, think the colors are very soothing..A friend of mine had a site for photography that I complained about the colors and he showed me how to adjust the brightness/gauss stuff on the screen. I’ll bet your screen needs a bit of a tweak if the grey looks too light for you.

  9. Kathleen says:

    It is in my opinion your site is a bit hard to read due to the light grey you are using, so i dont know about the psycology about it but it kinda sucks, although your site is great information wise, the colors chosen are hard to deal with reading wise
    I think “sucks” is a little harsh. You’re sitting in my living room and I’ve never met you before. Now, you say the “light grey” sucks, it’s easy for me to agree with Christy and say you need your screen adjusted but I think it’s your browser. You’re running Internet Explorer I’ll bet. This site was not optimally designed for IE. This site is best viewed in Firefox. This site is designed to be viewed in Firefox. Everyone should have it. The only thing you’ll regret about getting it is that you’ll wish you’d gotten it sooner.

    Now, I don’t have IE. I don’t run it. Too many pop ups and viruses. Forget it. And this site is not a democracy. I’d worry about catering to the browser masses if they were paying me for it but they’re not.

    I’m glad I provide a public service but I can only do it under my conditions. Those conditions are that I run in such a way that I can be comfortable with it because if I can’t be comfortable with it, I’m not going to do it anymore. It’s not as tho I make money on it so I don’t have to do it. I can stop anytime I want and you know what? I’d be making more money, not less.

    Anyway, while I regret you may dislike how the information is displayed because you won’t use Firefox for your browser, all I can say is that I won’t use anything but Firefox, and if there weren’t Firefox, there would be no site to read. It wouldn’t exist. It exists at my pleasure, not my necessity.

    And next time, be a little more polite. Although you’re new here, this is personal space. We’re all friends here. Would you talk like that in person?

  10. mc says:

    “My color selection…was deliberate and intentional”–KF
    I must say that until I read the colour psych link, I thought the site’s colours conveyed a feeling of earnestness. It still does, but that’s besides the point. How can I say this without sounding like an utter freak… it almost makes me want to cry because I realize what else you’ve done to call out to me… to me and the other DEs trying to find you.

    I strongly believe that colours induce psychosomatic messages. For both the sender and the receiver. I have a hard time utilizing them, however.

  11. So you are saying you didn’t let someone- who you didn’t know was a rapist- into your room because he was wearing a green tie? Are you [expletive deleted] kidding me? Yes colors have a big impact in clothing but just because someone wore a color that could be untrustworthy doesn’t mean you should consider them rapists or murderers. Take this [expletive deleted] article off the internet and educate yourself before writing another one.

  12. Kathleen says:

    Stacey: you lose me with your logic. There are two competing ideas here (emphasis is mine):

    you are saying you didn’t let someone- who you didn’t know was a rapist- doesn’t mean you should consider them rapists or murderers

    If I didn’t know X was a rapist, how could I also have considered X a rapist? GIGO, does not compute for me but feel free to expound.

    As far as suggesting I remove content that doesn’t align with your opinions, your options are to not read material that annoys you or to offer logical well-formed counter arguments. What is not acceptable is to be less than civil about it.

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