Color Meaning & Psychology


se·mi·ot·ics (sēmēˈätiks): the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation.


Below are a few links on the semiotics of color. These resources are helpful when trying to understand the complexities of the meaning of colors and the messages they have the potential to convey.

  • COLORS & SYMBOLS - A Kinetic Typography comparing the different meanings of colours within different cultures.



Color Psychology & Purchasing Influence  - Color psychology can increase website conversions since it has a huge influence on our mood and emotions and eventually impacts our behavior. This research showed that 90% of all product assessments have to do with color, meaning that businesses can use the psychology to influence how consumers form an opinion about a product. Lissette Padilla and Mark Sovel discuss how to use the right color in the right way in order to impact human behavior, in this clip from the Lip News.

Artist Liz West Captures a Rainbow Inside the Bristol Biennial


"Liz West is no stranger to multi-colored environments, previously covering the floor of an historic UK church with dazzling reflective orbs. Her latest project, Our Colour, is located at this year’s Bristol Biennial and gives the audience the feeling of being dropped into the center of a rainbow by flooding a long hallway with a series of gel-filtered lights. The work changes from a deep violet to an ecstatic red, allowing one to traverse through an immersive collection of colors.

The installation was designed with a human’s psychological and emotional response to color in mind, as West consulted experts in human perception during the development of the work. While observing the audience’s reaction to the piece she has learned that often after traveling through the spectrum of colors they return to the color they find most comfortable—pausing a moment to absorb their favorite shade."

IV. AESTHETIC SCIENCE OF COLOR (October 16, 2009) Stephen Palmer, UC Berkeley Psychology, discusses his research on how humans think about, associate and react to color to demonstrate that it is possible to study the science of aesthetics.


How do you explain color to someone without sight? It’s a challenge that renders all the normal visual frames of reference completely useless — you can’t say that green is the color of grass, or blue is the color of water, because they haven’t seen those things. ('The Science of Us' explains at this link)

V. COLOR ME BEAUTIFUL - This video is funny, awkward, and kinda wonderful too! Enjoy discovering your color season as you assess your skin's overtones, and hair color. As usual, I am not sure how helpful this really is, but it is a good discussion of warm/cool contrasts. Watch to the end to discover your clothing personality too!

VI. THE DEER HUNTER Spectrum Songs: This band did a project a few years back, creating songs to sound like colors! Listen on Youtube

VII. 1966 Chromophobia: animation by Raoul Servais. Saturated color is used here didactically and persuasively as freedom, innocence, expression, diversity, individuality and music, against the conformity, violence and fascist power of the black-white-gray.