In 1666, English scientist Sir Isaac Newton discovered that when pure white light is passed through a prism, it separates into all of the visible colors. Newton also found that each color is comprised of a single wavelength and cannot be separated any further into other colors.
Further experiments demonstrated that light could be combined to form other colors. For example, red light mixed with yellow light creates an orange color. A color resulting from a mix of two other colors is known as a metamer. Some colors, such as yellow and purple, cancel each other out when mixed and result in a white light. These competing colors are known as complements.
While perceptions of color are somewhat subjective, there are some color effects that have universal meaning. Colors in the red area of the color spectrum are known as warm colors and include red, orange, and yellow. These warm colors evoke emotions ranging from feelings of warmth and comfort to feelings of anger and hostility.
Colors on the blue side of the spectrum are known as cool colors and include blue, purple, and green. These colors are often described as calm, but can also call to mind feelings of sadness or indifference.
Our reaction to color is almost instantaneous and has a profound impact on the choices we make everyday.
Meaning of the Color Blue
Blue is the overwhelming "favorite color." Blue is seen as trustworthy, dependable and committed. The color of sky and the ocean, blue is perceived as a constant in our lives. As the collective color of the spirit, it invokes rest and can cause the body to produce chemicals that are calming; however not all blues are serene and sedate. Electric or brilliant blues become dynamic and dramatic, an engaging color that expresses exhilaration. Some shades or the overuse of blue may come across as cold or uncaring. Blue is the least "gender specific" color, having equal appeal to both men and women.
How the color blue effects us physically and mentally:
keywords: Seas, men, productive(interior) skies, peace, unity, harmony, tranquillity, calmness, coolness, confidence, conservatism, water, ice, loyalty, dependability, cleanliness, technology, winter, depression, coldness, idealism, obscenity, tackiness, air, wisdom, royalty, nobility, Earth (planet), Virgo (light blue), Pisces (pale blue) and Aquarius (dark blue) (star sign), strength, steadfastness, light, friendliness, July (sky blue), February (deep blue), peace, mourning (Iran), truthfulness, love, sadness, aloofness, the Virgin Mary. In many diverse cultures blue is significant in religious beliefs, believed to keep the bad spirits away.
Meaning of the Color Green
Green occupies more space in the spectrum visible to the human eye and is second only to blue as a favorite color. Green is the pervasive color in the natural world that is an ideal backdrop in interior design because we are so used to seeing it everywhere. The natural greens, from forest to lime, are seen as tranquil and refreshing, with a natural balance of cool and warm (blue and yellow) undertones. Green is considered the color of peace and ecology. However, there is an "institutional" side to green, associated with illness or Government-issued that conjure up negative emotions as do the "slimy" or bilious greens.
How the color green effects us physically and mentally:
Keywords: Great intelligence, nature, bad spirits, spring, fertility, youth, environment, wealth, money (US), good luck, vigor, generosity, go, grass, aggression, inexperience, envy, misfortune, coldness, jealousy, disgrace (China), illness, greed, corruption (North Africa), life eternal, air, earth (classical element), sincerity, hope, Cancer (bright green, star sign), renewal, natural abundance, growth, health, August, balance, harmony, stability, calming, creative intelligence, Islam, the ordinary. During the Middle Ages, both green and yellow were used to symbolize the devil. Green is believed to be the luckiest of colors in some western countries including, Britain, Ireland, and the U.S.
Meaning of the Color Yellow
Yellow shines with optimism, enlightenment, and happiness. Shades of golden yellow carry the promise of a positive future. Yellow will advance from surrounding colors and instill optimism and energy as well as spark creative thoughts.
How the color yellow effects us mentally and physically:
Keywords: Sunlight, joy, happiness, earth, optimism, intelligence, idealism, wealth (gold), summer, hope, air, liberalism, cowardice, illness (quarantine), hazards, dishonesty, avarice, weakness, greed, femininity, gladness, sociability, summer, friendship, Gemini, Taurus, Leo (golden yellow, star signs), April, September, deceit, hazard signs, death (Middle Ages), mourning (Egypt), courage (Japan), God (gold). Yellow ribbons were worn during times of warfare as a sign of hope as women waited for their men to return. During the Middle Ages, both green and yellow were used to symbolize the devil.
Meaning of the Color Orange
Orange, a close relative of red, sparks more controversy than any other hue. There is usually strong positive or negative association to orange and true orange generally elicits a stronger "love it" or "hate it" response than other colors. Fun and flamboyant orange radiates warmth and energy. Interestingly, some of the tones of orange such as terra cotta, peach or rust have very broad appeal.
How the color orange effects us mentally and physically:
Keywords: Hinduism, Buddhism, happiness energy, balance, heat, fire, enthusiasm, flamboyance, playfulness, aggression, arrogance, gaudiness, overemotion, warning, danger, autumn, desire, Sagittarius (star sign), September. Orange has less intensity or aggression than red and is calmed by the cheerfulness of yellow. Orange is the Royal family of the Netherlands. As such in the Netherlands Orange symbolises royalty and as William of Orange was a Calvinist orange symbolises protestantism particularly in Ireland (Orange Irish).
Meaning of the Color Red
Red has more personal associations than any other color. Recognized as a stimulant red is inherently exciting and the amount of red is directly related to the level of energy perceived. Red draws attention and a keen use of red as an accent can immediately focus attention on a particular element.
How the color red effects us mentally and physically:
Keywords: Passion, strength, energy, fire, love, sex, excitement, speed, heat, arrogance, ambition, leadership, masculinity, power, danger, gaudiness, blood, war, anger, revolution, radicalism, socialism, communism, aggression, summer, autumn, stop, Mars (planet), respect, Aries (star sign), December, the Roman Catholic Church, martyrs, the Holy Spirit. Studies show that red can have a physical effect, increasing the rate of respiration and raising blood pressure; red also is said to make people hungry; the red ruby is the traditional 40th wedding anniversary gift.
Meaning of the Color Purple
Purple embodies the balance of red simulation and blue calm. This dichotomy can cause unrest or uneasiness unless the undertone is clearly defined at which point the purple takes on the characteristics of its undertone. A sense of mystic and royal qualities, purple is a color often well liked by very creative or eccentric types and is the favorite color of adolescent girls.
How the color purple effects us mentally and physically:
Keywords: Envy, Sensuality, bisexuality, spirituality, creativity, wealth, royalty, nobility, ceremony, mystery, wisdom, enlightenment, arrogance, flamboyance, gaudiness, mourning, profanity, exaggeration, confusion, homosexuality, pride, Scorpio (violet, star sign), May, November, riches, romanticism (light purple), delicacy (light purple), penance. Purple is the color of mourning for widows in Thailand, favorite color of Egypt's Cleopatra, and the purple heart - given to soldiers who have been wounded during warfare.
Meaning of the Color Brown
Brown says stability, reliability, and approachability. It is the color of our earth and is associated with all things natural or organic.
How the color brown effects us physically and mentally:
Keywords: Calm, boldness, depth, natural organisms, nature, richness, rusticism, stability, tradition, anachronism, boorishness, dirt, dullness, filth, heaviness, poverty, roughness, earth (classical element), October, Capricorn, Scorpio (reddish brown, star signs), down-to-earth. Brown can stimulate the appetite, wholesomeness, steadfastness, simplicity, friendliness, and dependability.
Meaning of the Color White
White projects purity, cleanliness, and neutrality. Doctors don white coats, brides traditionally were white gowns and a white picket fence surrounds a safe and happy home.
How the color white effects us mentally and physically:
Keywords: Light, Reverence, purity, snow, peace, innocence, cleanliness, simplicity, security, humility, sterility, winter, coldness, criticism, surrender, cowardice, fearfulness, unimaginative, air, fire, death (Eastern cultures), hope, Aries, Pisces (star signs), bland, empty and unfriendly (interior), January, celebration.
Meaning of the Color Gray
Gray is timeless, practical, and solid. A longstanding favorite suit color, gray can mix well with any color. Although well like and often worn, people rarely name gray as a favorite color possibly because Gray also is associated with loss or depression.
How the color gray effects us physically and mentally:
Keywords: Elegance, humility, respect, reverence, stability, subtlety, wisdom, anachronism, boredom, decay, decrepitude, dullness, dust, entanglement, pollution, urban sprawl, strong emotions, balance, neutrality, mourning, formality, March.
Meaning of the Color Black
Black is authoritative and powerful; because black can evoke strong emotions too much can be overwhelming. A classic color for clothing possibly because it makes the wearer appear thinner and more sophisticated.
How the color black effects us physically and mentally:
Keywords: Absence, modernity, power, sophistication, formality, elegance, wealth, mystery, style, evil, death (Western cultures), fear, anonymity, anger, sadness, remorse, mourning, unhappiness, sex, seriousness, conventionality, rebellion, unity, sorrow, life, rebirth (ancient Egypt), slimming quality (fashion) January.
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