Colours are wonderful. Every colour on the rainbow has a different tune, represents a different mood, and contains unbelievable manipulation powers that most minds are susceptible to. C’est belle! Colour for me, has been very distinctive. This is especially because my two favourite colours are on opposite sides of the colour palette, or at least on opposite sides of the colour manipulation table. My first best colour is white – pure, clean, serene, white. My other favourite colour is red – blood-dangerous, fear-gripping, angry red.
These colour had always signified the two sides of me that exist. White for the phlegmatic side that would rather be alone with a book, and Red for the adrenaline junkie that is obsessed with the idea of speed and shooting ranges. While this is just a very basic example of colour psychology, these two sides, that have been known to clash every once in a while, are heightened by the power of colour. Those who understand the power of colour on the human mind, have used it to their own advantage.
In Placebo, people have been known to believe in differently coloured pills over others. Blue works as a better sedative, red makes stimulants more effective, and white is great for soothing pain. If you had a bruise on your body, what colour would you expect the cream for it to be? Exactly, White. Not red or black. Not only does colour make your mind think a pill is better than the other, it has actually been proven to make it work much better. We’ll leave that for discussions on the placebo effect, however. Colour psychology has also been used in marketing.
Many marketers see colour as an important part of marketing because colour can be used to influence consumers’ emotions and perceptions of their products and services. Of course, colour does a ton of good in branding. Even in film, colour has been used to sway the human mind with ease. You would think movie directors just chose random pretty colours for the fun of it. There is actually a very serious thought process that goes into what colours they put out. You know, colour temperature and white balance sort of stuff. More so, the colour theme varies based on the emotion the director wants to convey.
Generally, while colour may seem super obvious to the most of us, it influences our decisions on a daily basis, albeit subliminally. We might not notice it, but it stares right at us on a daily basis. Why don’t we put up blue stop signs and paint our fire equipment yellow? Why does blue mean ‘it’s a boy’ and pink mean ‘it’s a girl’? Biologically, humans use colours as metaphors for emotions. Red for anger, and blue for serenity. Red is also used to represent danger, hot, or fire. It has been proven that when people see red, they react stronger and faster. If you were going through a report and saw some letters or numbers in red, you would immediately be able to tell what they meant.
Hues of green and light blue have been known to be calming; however, a darker shade of blue would normally represent sadness. Inasmuch as there are various clear-cut ways that colour has been grouped, the truth is that colour connects to humans differently. It varies from country to country, it varies with culture, and it varies with individual perception. This is probably why the trend of #Thedress was all over the place with people seeing it as white and gold and others blue and black.
In this case, it was simply as a result of our individual brains and how it responded to light. Like white balance in cameras. Your brain figures out what colour light is bouncing off what your eyes are looking at, and then subtracts that colour from the original colour of the object. In simpler terms, it really just depends on who and where you are. The picture above just shows how light could alter the dress with ease. Personally, I see white and gold. But looking at the one on the right, I could see why people thought it was black and blue.
How then do you use colours to manipulate people if we can’t even trust that they see what we show them? We don’t. This is why we stick to basic colours that can be spotted by the mind with ease, and use them to convey our messages. Inasmuch as they are not guaranteed to always work, research has proven that some colours are just associated with some things that most people would agree on. Purple just does not ignite passion, seduction or energy. Red does. Hence, if you understand how colours work, maybe you would know what clothes to wear when going for your next business meeting. Do you want to exude confidence or force submission? Lady in red; Man in black. If you take a little extra time to study the effect of colour on people, you would be able to harness the manipulation effects of it on unsuspecting folks.