Like death and taxes, there is no escaping colour. It is everywhere. Yet what does it all mean? Why are people more relaxed in green rooms? Why do weightlifters do their best in blue gyms?
Colors often have different meanings in various cultures. And even in Western societies, the meanings of various colors have changed over the years. Researchers have generally found the following to be accurate:
Black is the color of authority and power. It is popular in fashion because it makes people appear thinner. It is also stylish and timeless. Black also implies submission. Priests wear black to signify submission to God. Some fashion experts say a woman wearing black implies submission to men. Black outfits can also be overpowering, or make the wearer seem aloof or evil. (That’s probably why you often see villains, such as Dracula, often wearing black).
§ The “Blackshirts” were the security troops in Hitler’s German army, also known as the S.S.
§ Black often stands for secrecy.
§ If a business is “in the black,” it is making money.
§ Black is associated with sophistication and elegance. A “black tie” event is formal.
§ A black belt in karate identifies an expert.
Brides wear white to symbolize innocence and purity. White reflects light and is considered a summer color. White is popular in decorating and in fashion because it is light, neutral, and goes with everything. However, white shows dirt and is therefore more difficult to keep clean than other colors. Doctors and nurses wear white to imply sterility.
§ A white flag is the universal symbol for truce.
§ Angels are usually depicted wearing white robes.
§ White heat is a state of intense enthusiasm, anger, devotion, or passion.
§ To whitewash is to gloss over defects or make something seem presentable that isn’t.
§ A white room is a clean room as well as a temperature-controlled, dust-free room for precision instruments.
The most emotionally intense color, red stimulates a faster heartbeat and breathing. It is also the color of love. Red clothing gets noticed and makes the wearer appear heavier. Since it is an extreme color, red clothing might not help people in negotiations or confrontations. Red cars are popular targets for thieves. In decorating, red is usually used as an accent. Decorators say that red furniture should be perfect since it will attract attention.
The most romantic color, pink, is more tranquilizing. Sports teams sometimes paint the locker rooms used by opposing teams bright pink so their opponents will lose energy.
§ For the ancient Romans, a red flag was a signal for battle.
§ Because of its visibility, stop signs, stoplights, brake lights, and fire equipment are all painted red.
§ In India, red is the symbol for a soldier.
§ In Greece, eggs are dyed red for good luck at Easter time.
§ Red is the color most commonly found in national flags.
The color of the sky and the ocean, blue is one of the most popular colors. It causes the opposite reaction as red. Peaceful, tranquil blue causes the body to produce calming chemicals, so it is often used in bedrooms. Blue can also be cold and depressing. Fashion consultants recommend wearing blue to job interviews because it symbolizes loyalty. People are more productive in blue rooms. Studies show weightlifters are able to handle heavier weights in blue gyms.
§ If you are “true blue,” you are loyal and faithful.
§ Blue stands for love, which is why a bride carries or wears something blue on her wedding day.
§ A room painted blue is said to be relaxing.
§ Something “out of the blue” is from an unknown source at an unexpected time.
§ A bluebook is a list of socially prominent people.
Currently the most popular decorating color, green symbolizes nature. It is the easiest color on the eye and can improve vision. It is a calming, refreshing color. People waiting to appear on TV sit in "green rooms" to relax. Hospitals often use green because it relaxes patients. Brides in the Middle Ages wore green to symbolize fertility. Dark green is masculine, conservative, and implies wealth. However, seamstresses often refuse to use green thread on the eve of a fashion show for fear it will bring bad luck.
§ Only one national flag is a solid color: the green flag of Libya.
§ In ancient Greece, green symbolized victory.
§ Being “green around the gills” is looking pale and sickly.
§ A person with a “green thumb” is good at making plants grow.
§ Green is a healing color, the color of nature.
Cheerful sunny yellow is an attention getter. While it is considered an optimistic color, people lose their tempers more often in yellow rooms, and babies will cry more. It is the most difficult color for the eye to take in, so it can be overpowering if overused. Yellow enhances concentration, hence its use for legal pads. It also speeds metabolism.
§ In Spain, executioners once wore yellow.
§ In tenth-century France, the doors of traitors and criminals were painted yellow.
§ A yellow ribbon is a sign of support for soldiers at the front.
§ Yellow has good visibility and is often used as a color of warning. It is also a symbol for quarantine, an area marked off because of danger.
§ “Yellow journalism” refers to irresponsible and alarmist reporting.