Colours with Kalyani- Part 6

How culture, symbolism and emotion plays an important part in colour psychology.
 We have seen till now the physical properties of colour and how it is seen in nature and how some of the colours were produced.

We now step into some of the intangibles of the impact of colour on how they might impact or inform human life.

Colour is not, an only an object but a subjective creation too. When light hits an object, the object absorbs some of the light and reflects the rest out. The absorbable and reflection of the colour happens due to the properties of the object. The wave lengths which are reflected hit the retina of the eye and that reflects light.

Colour has been one of the commonly used ways in many cultures for communication, information and creating emotions. Each colour can generate a specific emotion in a given time and another with respect to an event.

What is colour psychology:

It is the study of hues as a mode to human behaviour. Colour influences perceptions that are not obvious. As an example the taste of food through the colour of the food served.

It’s now a popular and time tested theory, that a person’s mood can be influenced by the colour, light and the environment.

There is no doubt that the colours can stimulate our brain chemistry and create emotions according to them. The effect can be both physical and emotional

The colour green and blue is mostly seen in nature and provide a better healing to a stressed out mind.

The colour blue is widely used in mental therapy to reduce stress. And so to with other colours that can help in other ways.

How culture has an indict on colour:

Culture is the very foundation of life and our lifestyles. The behaviour of a human has a direct impact and reflects cultural aspects.

Asian, Middle East, European, American apart from other indigenous cultures have great communicative and emotional values to colour that at times sets them apart and yet expresses the power of colour.

Added to this the beliefs of each culture through its religion and understanding of life is portrayed in many ways through the use of colour to much of what happens through life and events. These then influence the young and become ways of expression within each culture.
This image is colours and culture - a wheel that’s been developed by; source: informationisbeautiful.
How colour has an impact on symbolism:

Symbols are a powerful representation of cultures, organisations, a mixed group of people, belief systems or even cults.

Colour as we know represents nations and helps the citizens create a common identity. The symbolism goes from the national flag to dress, crafts etc. It now pervades the corporate and other organisations  to create their own brand identity and help in marketing their goods. There are many examples that would spring up in each of your minds.We have seen organisations of various sizes coming up with logos supported by a strong colour to give them a unique identity and easy recall. The choice of colour then is very important to their messaging.
Comic books and colour:
Emotional experiences and colour:
Colours create the effect and the hue chosen is the emotional experience. The hues of a colour give it a myriad of emotions and options to message.

As discussed before blue and it’s multitude of hues is universally used in many designs as it is commonly associated with the sky, reflection on the sea, the environment, water as nurturing and one can go on.
So today in a global world where the world is a market, universal attitude to colour has become a norm. And so, one sees so much of the same everywhere.

But every singular culture in its physical and emotional domain still has its own values to colours and how it needs to be used and the symbols that it represents.

It might be interesting to explore so much that is out there to see and understand the impact of colour in our personal lives, in our community and of course in so much we do every day.

With this information hopefully one can gain an advantage in creating applications using colour. A product should always reflect what is it about and how it’s going to get represented.
First of all, one needs to identify who is the customer, users and focus groups emotions are. As a designer we have to create assumptions on the emotions that a person would make on a product.
To understand your user and to use the proper colour one should follow the following points.
  • Collect data on the behaviour of the target audience.
  •  One should be able to understand which area of the world the users comes from so it becomes easy to determine the culture of the targeted groups.
  • The different age groups who will be interacting with the products and who are interacting with the product at the moment.
  • What are the devices and what are the languages that the target groups are more commonly used when interacting with the product .

Earlier episodes of 'Colours with Kalyani':

Part 5: Dyeing with Natural dyes: part 2

Part 4: Dyeing with Natural dyes: part 1

Part 3: Colours in Poetry & Literature

Part 2: Colours & birds

Part 1: Colours in nature

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