RESOURCE The Psychology of Color

Discussion in 'REFINING WRITING' started by Sen, Jun 12, 2016.

  1. I found a list of colors associated with emotions and certain objects or events, so here it is in text form!

    Writers should use color as a form of non-verbal communication to set a mood, convey an emotion or invoke a physiological reaction! When using the right color emotion it can have a powerful effect.

    This is not a very friendly guide to themes! Some colors will not even show in the dark themes, and some will not show in the light themes.

    Deep Red - #a6093d
    Positive: rich, elegant, refined, tasty, expensive, mature, sumptuous, cultivated, robust.

    Brick Red - #76232f
    Positive: earthy, warm, strong, sturdy, established, country

    Bright Red - #c8102e
    Positive: exciting, energizing, sexy, passionate, hot, dynamic, stimulating, provocative, dramatic, powerful, courageous, magnetic, assertive, impulsive, adventurous, demanding, stirring, spontaneous, motivating

    Negative: overly aggressive, violent, warlike, temperamental, antagonistic, danger

    Bright Pink - #e0457b
    Positive: exciting, theatrical, playful, hot, attention-getting, high-energy, sensual, wild, tropical, festive, vibrant, stimulating, flirtatious

    Negative: gaudy

    Dusty Pink - #d7a3ab
    Positive: soft, subtle, cozy, dusky, gentle, composed, nostalgic

    Light Pink - #f5b6cd
    Positive: romantic, affectionate, compassionate, soft, sweet (taste and smell), tender, delicate, innocent, fragile, youthful

    Negative: too sweet, too sentimental

    Peach - #ffbe9f
    Positive: nurturing, soft, fuzzy, tactile, delicious, fruity, sweet (taste and smell),inviting, warm, physical comfort, intimate, modest, embracing

    Coral - #ff8674
    Positive: life force, energizing, flexibility, desire

    Tangerine - #f68d2e
    Positive: vital, juicy, fruitful, tangy, energizing

    Vibrant Orange - #e87722
    Positive: fun, whimsical, childlike, happy, glowing, sunset, hot, energizing, active, gregarious, friendly, good-natured, expansive, spontaneous, optimistic, communicative, jovial, sociable, self-assured, persuasive, animated

    Negative: loud, raucous, frivolous

    Ginger - #be3a34
    Positive: spicy, flavorful, tangy, pungent, exotic

    Terracotta - #b46a55
    Positive: earthy, warm, country, wholesome, welcoming, abundance

    Tan - #b58150
    Positive: rugged, outdoor, rustic, woodsy

    Chocolate - #623b2a
    Positive: delicious, rich, robust, appetizing

    Earth Brown - #584446
    Positive: earthy, grounded, steady, solid, rooted, wholesome, sheltering, warm, durable, secure, reliable, natural, traditional, supportive

    Gold - #84754e
    Positive: money, rich, glowing, divine, intuitive, opulent, expensive, radiant, valuable, prestigious

    Negative: gaudy

    Amber - #d37c32
    Positive: jewelry, multi-cultural, mellow, abundant, original, autumn

    Golden Yellow - #f2a900
    Positive: nourishing, buttery, tasty, sun-baked, wheat, hospitable, comfort, comfort food

    Bright Yellow - #ffcd00
    Positive: illuminating, joyful, hot, lively, friendly, luminous, enlightening, energetic, sunshine, stimulating, innovative, radiating, awareness, surprise, caution

    Negative: cowardice, betrayal, hazard

    Light Yellow - #f3dd6d
    Positive: cheering, happy, soft, sunny, warming, sweet, easy, pleasing, babies

    Chartreuse - #d2d755
    Positive: artsy, bold, trendy, startling, pungent

    Negative: gaudy, tacky, slimy, sickening, mold

    Light Green - #b7e394
    Positive: calm, quiet, soothing, neutral, lightweight

    Olive Green - #8a8d4a
    Positive: military, camouflage, safari, classic

    Negative: drab

    Lime - #7a9a01
    Positive: fresh, citrusy, youthful, acidic, tart, refreshing

    Dark Green - #154734
    Positive: nature, trustworthy, refreshing, cool, restful, stately, forest, hushed, woody, traditional, reliable, money, prosperity

    Foliage Greens - #046a38
    Positive: natural, fertile, healthy, balance, life, growth, soothing, harmony, restful, restoration, reassurance, environmental awareness, new beginnings

    Bright Green - #009a44
    Positive: fresh, grass, Irish, lively, spring, renewal, lush

    Emerald - #009775
    Positive: luxurious, jewel-like, up-scale

    Aqua - #a1d6ca

    Positive: water, refreshing, cleansing, young, babies, cool, dreamy, soft, lightweight

    Turquoise - #49c5b1
    Positive: infinity, compassionate, protective, faithful, water, coolness, sky, gemstone, tropical, oceans

    Teal - #00677f
    Positive: serene, cool, tasteful, sophisticated, confident

    Sky Blue - #71b2c9
    Positive: calming, cool, heavenly, constant, faithful, true, dependable, restful, contentment, tranquil, reassuring, trusting, serene, expansive, open, infinity, transcendent, distance

    Light Blue - #92c1e9
    Positive: calm, quiet, patient, peaceful, cool, water, clean

    Periwinkle - #8094dd
    Positive: genial, lively, sprightly, convivial, cordial

    Bright Blue - #006eb6
    Positive: electric, energy, brisk, vibrant, flags, stirring, impressive, high spirits, exhilarating

    Deep Blue - #424f90
    Positive: credible, authoritative, basic, conservative, classic, strong, reliable, traditional, uniforms, service, nautical, loyal, confident, professional, thought-provoking, introspective, concentration, clarify thoughts

    Negative: aloof, distant, melancholy

    Lavender - #bfa1e3
    Positive: romantic, nostalgic, fanciful, lightweight, lightly scented

    Mauve - #af95a6
    Positive: wistful, sentimental, thoughtful

    Amethyst - #cc99cc
    Positive: curative, protective, peace of mind

    Blue Purples - #65428a
    Positive: contemplative, meditative, spiritual, soul-searching, intuitive, mysterious, enchanting

    Red Purples - #87189d
    Positive: sensual, thrilling, intensely exciting, dramatic, creative, witty, expressive

    Deep Purple - #3c1053
    Positive: visionary, rich, royal, prestigious, subduing, distance, introspective

    Negative: aloof

    Neutral Gray - #898d8d
    Positive: classic, sober, corporate, practical, timeless, qualify, quiet, neutrality, logical, unobtrusive, deliberate, reserved, fundamental, basic, modest, efficient, dutiful, methodical

    Charcoal Gray - #54585a
    Positive: steadfast, responsible, staunch, accountable, conscientious, resolute, restrained, conservative, professional, classic, sophisticated, solid, enduring, mature, business-like

    Negative: dull, conformist, detached

    Taupe - #a69f88
    Positive: classic, neutral, practical, timeless, quality, basic, authentic, organic, versatile, inconspicuous, understated, discreet, compromising, modest

    Negative: bland, tasteless

    Ivory - #f5e1a4
    Positive: classic, neutral, soft, warm, comforting, good taste, creamy, smooth, subtle, neutral, bridal

    Silver - #8a8d8f
    Positive: sleek, classy, stylish, modern, cool

    Black - #000000
    Positive: powerful, empowering, elegant, sophisticated, mysterious, heavy, bold, basic, classic, strong, expensive, invulnerable, magical, nighttime, sober, prestigious, stylish, modern

    Negative: depression, death, mourning, underworld, evil, oppression, suppression, menacing

    White - #FFFFFF
    Positive: pure, clean, pristine, virginal, spotless, innocent, silent, lightweight, airy, bright, bridal, ethereal, clarity, simplicity, arctic, efficient

    Negative: sterile, cold, clinical
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  2. Now that's a list of archetypes right there, with colors to go with them. Extremely useful!
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  3. I did a lot of research on what colors were best to paint a creative workspace and most sites agreed that blue and green helped creativity. Pretty nifty!
  4. I don't mean to necro this as I'm not sure if it's stickied, but this weird fiction nerd had something to add about the color yellow and its symbology. Yellow is not always a bright, sunny, happy color and in fact, could be seen as negative depending on the time period a character comes from.

    Depending on time period a roleplay is set in, yellow can also have another meaning - decadence, quarantine, and even insanity depending on the genre. See, in the late Victorian era and early 1900's yellow was perceived as a color of decadence and excess. It also became a very commonly used color for advertising. Unfortunately, yellow paper fades easily in the sunlight, so it soon also came to symbolize tarnished and faded potential or glory. Diseases like Spanish Flu, whooping cough, polio, and typhoid fever were also widespread and very deadly during this period, crippling or killing thousands - and guess what color the quarantine posters they put on houses were? What color do you cough up when you have a lung infection, and what color is the pus from an infected wound? That's right, yellow - sickly, chartreuse to light-creamy, ugly, blotchy yellow. Is it any wonder the Victorians associated it with grotesque, awful things?

    The color yellow was so pervasively negative and common that several books published during the time period focusing on or associated with themes of decadence, mental downfall, and disease also drew on these ideas. As they say, you write what you know, and if that's the case then yellow might be one of the least pleasant colors to know in the entire rainbow. There was a London literary journal entitled "The Yellow Book" which was mentioned as a corrupting influence on the title character of The Picture of Dorian Grey. A story called The Yellow Wallpaper, about a woman whose husband keeps her locked up in a room with barred windows and luridly patterned, blotchy yellow wallpaper, has the protagonist go insane and become just as tarnished as the wallpaper as a result. And, most notably for those of a cosmic or Lovecraftian/weird horror bent, there is Robert W. Chambers' The King in Yellow, a short story collection about a cursed play said to bring madness and despair to those who are unfortunate enough to read it.

    On The King in Yellow itself, there's four stories related to the play. The first, The Repairer of Reputations, involves an insane man who thinks he will become King of America after reading the play, an eerie old man with a strange cat, and unreliable narrators all set in an alternative 1920's setting. The second, The Mask, is about three 20-somethings whose sculptor friend experiences great misfortune soon after reading the play. The third, In the Court of the Dragon, is about a man who has read the play and intends to find solace at church, but instead is harassed by a spooky organist. The fourth, The Yellow Sign, is about a young Bohemian couple who, after the girlfriend finds a mysterious brooch with a strange symbol on it, starts to be stalked by an incredibly creepy man who appears to be a risen corpse. All four have a common theme of insanity, downfall, and paranoia associated with the color yellow, encapsulating some of the Victorian ideas about the color at the time very well. Also, it's really damn good and is available open-source on Project Gutenberg, and you should read it if you're into stuff like the Silent Hill games or Lovecraft's works. In fact, this short story collection was part of Lovecraft's literary inspiration! More recently, The King in Yellow became a source of inspiration for the first season of hit HBO series True Detective, which IMHO is also excellent viewing even if you're not familiar with Lovecraftian horror. It too uses yellow, or yellow-tinged scenes/areas, to lend an uncomfortable feeling to scenes, and it's quite effective.

    So, long story short? Yellow can, and often is, bad news - especially pale, blotchy, or faded-looking yellow. A character who is set in an 1800's-1900's roleplay setting would probably see the color yellow as vile, gaudy, or at the very least, cheap and tacky. You could use it to imply that a character is a decadent and sickening person, that someone is not who they seem to be, or that someone is rotten/festering at heart. You could also use it for a character suffering from some form of madness or for someone who is ill and/or fallen from grace in some way - faded, washed up, cheap, like a celebrity well past their prime.
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  5. //bows down at your feet

    this is hella frickin useful and I thank you for this. will be going into my bookmarks ♥
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  6. I agree, great resource Sen. ^w^
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