Color is an aspect of life from which we cannot escape, and influences each person’s actions and emotions, however subtle.
- Oceans, plants, rocks and animals radiate color in nature.
- Chefs pay special attention to color arrangements at gourmet restaurants.
- Marketers give products a certain image through the colors used on their packaging and in advertisements.
- In the morning, many people glance in the mirror to make sure they match (or don’t match) to give others an impression of who they are.
- Women wear makeup, finding themselves more attractive when their cheeks are rosy and their eyes are colored.
- American culture has even coined phrases relaying their emotions through color: i.e., green with envy, feeling the blues.
From the time of early infancy, the human mind begins associating colors with certain emotions and experiences, and individuals retain those throughout their life. Childhood memories are so involved with color that, like engravings etched in stone, they stay in our memory forever, whether or not we notice a conscious effect on our actions. “The tape recorders in our heads are never turned off, and into adulthood, we continue to respond to specific colors in a positive or negative way (Eiseman 14).”
Some experts believe that humans also carry an “ancient wisdom,” a sort of hereditary recollection of nature’s meaning behind each color. (They also believe humans have, through evolution, acquired this memory for space, form and patterns.) (Eiseman 15).
This theory is perhaps confirmed in the warnings that nature gives us. For instance, the red gobbler on the rooster that flames to attract females or ward off enemies serve both purposes well. Bright yellow fish and yellow diamonds on snakes many times signals to predators the animal is poisonous. Over time, we begin to recognize these colors as signs, and adhere to their message.
The emotional and psychological effects of colors on each individual and their culture has received contributions both from personal experiences and the evolutionary, instinctive nature of our beings. Each color has distinctive ideas and emotions attached to them, most ideas which have their root in history.