Mood Colors: Meaning and Associations of Color Psychology

Author: Disabled World - Contact Details
Published: 2018/09/12 - Updated: 2023/09/06
Peer-Reviewed: N/A - Publication Type: Charts / Graphs / Tables
On This Page: Summary - Main Article - About/Author

Synopsis: Chart showing various colors, the color meaning and what it symbolizes, for those who may be looking for ideas in designing new colored awareness bracelets and ribbons. Associations with color are defined by our senses, language, objects (or forms), and personality characteristics. A certain color can evoke a reaction in one person and can often evoke the opposite reaction in another person.


Main Digest

Color is a complex subject interwoven with many strands. Colors have the power to subliminally convey values and stories.

We are including the below color meaning chart for those people and organizations who have emailed Disabled World asking for ideas and/or suggestions on designing awareness ribbons and bracelets styles. Hopefully our basic color associations table may be of some assistance for those brainstorming ideas for designing new layouts and styles for both awareness bracelets and ribbon design.

Psychological and Subjective Use of Color

Color psychology is a well-known, yet less explored branch of the study of how our brain perceives what it visualizes. Colors provide the building blocks of our emotions. It is not for nothing that we say we are "feeling blue" or "seeing red". Colors have the power to improve our memory and attention, and even the power to convince us to make a certain decision. Knowing the meaning of colors is key to a better understanding of our behavior.

Colors act upon the body as well as the mind. Red has been shown to stimulate the senses and raise the blood pressure, while blue has the opposite effect and calms the mind. Yellow, orange and red are associated with the heat of sun and fire; blue, green and violet with the coolness of leaves, sea and the sky. A certain color can evoke a reaction in one person and can often evoke the opposite reaction in another person, due to culture, prior association, or even just personal preferences.

Associations with color are defined, in part by Faber Birren , the author of, "Color Psychology and Color Therapy", by our senses, language, objects (or forms), and personality characteristics. Color conveys various moods which attach themselves to human feelings and our psychic make-up in an almost automatic fashion. Birren's work has a strong focus on linking how humans perceive colors to how it makes them react.

According to the stylist and author of the book, Color Your Style by David Zyla:

"Even if your wardrobe is filled with clothes of a variety of colors and shades, there is always the color that you give a greater preference to because you feel more comfortable and confident in it. It is the very color that reflects your character."

There is a whole science (and art) in the meanings of different colors.

It is said there are four psychological primary colors:

Psychological Properties of the 11 Basic Colors

Mood Colors: Meaning and Associations of Color

Black is a symbol of power and authority.

Black is also used as a color of sophistication and elegance, often provoking emotions of mystery.

Black is also associated with evil, taboo.

Blue is one of the must commonly used colors. Blue is the color of the sky and is often associated with tranquility, depth, honor, trusts and productivity. Blue is also said to decrease one's appetite.

Acceptance, Authority, Balance, Calmness, Care, Caution, Cleanliness, Coolness, Cooperation, Compassion, Confidence, Contemplation, Culture, Depression, Despair, Depth, Dignity, Faith, Flexibility, Frankness, Freedom, Freshness, Goodness, Harmony, Honesty, Hope, Ice, Infinity, Intelligence, Introspection, Isolation, Law, Logic, Loyalty, Maturity, Obedience, Order, Peace, Piety, Power, Protection, Quality, Quietness, Reflection, Reliability, Responsibility, Sadness, Security, Self Control, Serenity, Sincerity, Solitude, Stability, Stiffness, Technology, Tenderness, Tradition, Tranquility, Transparency, Trust, Truth, Unity, Value, Virtue, Water.

Brown: Solid, dependable, and confident are often Traits attributed to brown. It can be though of as being both conventional and sophisticated depending on its intended use.

Nature, Outdoorsy, Reliability, Ruggedness, Security, Support, Tough.

Pure gray is the only color that has no direct psychological properties. It is, however, quite suppressive. A virtual absence of color is depressing and when the world turns gray we are instinctively conditioned to draw in and prepare for hibernation. Unless the precise tone is right, gray has a dampening effect on other colors used with it. Heavy use of grey usually indicates a lack of confidence and fear of exposure. Positive: Psychological neutrality. Negative: Lack of confidence, dampness, depression, hibernation, lack of energy.

Green: Symbolic of nature and organic materials. Green is one of the easiest colors on the eye and is often further associated with safety, optimism, growth, harmony, wealth, lucky and stress relief.

Adventure, Aspiration, Calmness, Cleanliness, Comfort, Efficiency, Environment, Equilibrium, Faith, Fertility, Foliage, Frankness, Freedom, Freshness, Friendship, Generosity, Good Luck, Grass, Growth, Harmony, Health, Hope, Laziness, Life, Open Air, Outdoors, Moist, Mucous, Nature, Neutrality, Progress, Prosperity, Quietness, Relaxation, Renewal, Reproduction, Safety, Security, Sincerity, Spring, Sympathy, Vegetation, Vigor, Wisdom, Youth.

Orange: Associated with energetic warmth and ambition. Orange is a vibrant color which often denotes new beginnings, enthusiasm and creativity: Paring hints of orange with cooler blues often creates an excited pop.

Action, Ambition, Appetite, Assurance, Celebration, Change, Charisma, Communication, Competence, Coziness, Creativity, Determination, Disorder, Domination, Dryness, Earth, Emotion, Encouragement, Endurance, Energy, Enthusiasm, Exaggeration, Excitement, Expansion, Explosion, Extravagance, Extroversion, Exuberance, Fascination, Fitness, Flavor, Flexibility, Friendship, Fun, Generosity, Happiness, Health, Heat, Humanism, Humor, Independence, Invitation, Joy, Laughter, Motivation, Practicality, Radiation, Security, Service, Society, Smile, Success, Sunset, Temptation, Tropic, Visibility, Warmth, Warning, Wisdom.

Pink is often attributed to femininity, love, romance and tenderness. Pink has also been known to produce a calming effect.

Charming, Cheerful, Feminine, Gentle, Nurturing, Sincerity, Soft, Sophistication, Tranquility, Warmth.

Purple / Violet: Historically connected to royalty, nobility, power and wealth. Purple can also be associated with spirituality but do to its rarity in nature, purple can often appear artificial.

Ambition, Aristrocracy, Art, Anxiety, Beauty, Balance, Compassion, Conflict, Contrition, Coolness, Creativity, Drama, Dream, Dignity, Enchantment, Enigma, Extravagance, Fantasy, Fashion, Femininity, Grief, Homosexuality, Independence, Individualism, Inspiration, Intelligence, Introspection, Intuition, Justice, Knowledge, Leadership, Luxury, Magic, Majesty, Meditation, Mood, Mystery, Mysticism, Nobility, Nostalgia, Passiveness, Penitence, Preciousness, Pride, Quietness, Reflection, Religious Devotion, Responsibility, Richness, Royalty, Sadness, Secrecy, Sensuality, Seriousness, Shadows, Sobriety, Solemnity, Solitude, Sophistication, Sorrow, Spirituality, Splendor, Style, Sublimation, Suffering, Superstition, Truth, Value, Wealth, Wisdom, Wit, Vanity.

Red: The most emotionally intense color of all! Red is an extreme color often associated with boldness, love, and life (blood). Red also can denote a warning (traffic lights/sign/alarm) so be careful of overuse.

Alertness, Ambition, Aggression, Battle, Beauty, Brilliance, Charity, Charm, Circulation, Communism, Compassion, Courage, Danger, Desire, Determination, Devotion, Domination, Eccentricity, Emotion, Energy, Eroticism, Excitement, Extroversion, Fashion, Fervor, Fire, Friendship, Hate, Heat, High Voltage, Intensity, Life, Love, Luck, Lust, Madness, Martyrdom, Motion, Movement, Murder, Pain, Passion, Patriotism, Power, Prohibition, Rage, Rebellion, Rescue, Revolution, Romanticism, Sacrifice, Sensuality, Sexuality, Sin, Speed, Strength, Suffering, Success, Tension, Thrill, Triumph, Urgency, Victory, Violence, Vitality, War, Warmth

White: Signifying purity, cleanliness, sterility, and youth. White is also known to project the absence of color, lending itself nicely to providing negative space in design.

Calm, Clarity, Cleanliness, Cleanness, Down-to-Earth, Happiness, Heavens, Honest, Hygiene, Innocence, Peace, Purity, Safety, Serenity, Sincerity, Soothing, Tender.

Yellow: Often portrayed as being a cheerful attention getter, and is often associated with liveliness and being energetic. Yellow is also difficult for the eye to take in heavy doses, so it can easily overpower a pallet if overused.

Activity, Aspiration, Alertness, Brightness, Caution, Communication, Confidence, Energy, Expansion, Expression, Extroversion, Fear, Forgiveness, Friendship, Gaiety, Happiness, Idealism, Ideas, Imagination, Intelligence, Innovation, Inspiration, Intuition, Joy, Knowledge, Laughter, Logic, Light, Optimism, Order, Philosophy, Playfulness, Power, Satisfaction, Signal, Spontaneity, Stimulation, Summer, Sunshine, Thought, Uncertainty, Warmth, Warning, Wisdom, Youth.

Printable version of the above table.

We also have a full feature Color Spectrum Chart showing hex color code design for better accessibility for color blind people.


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