Influence With Color Psychology
September 18, 2007
Think about it…you are more formal towards the person in a dark navy outfit than to the one dressed in beige! Color can affect our reactions to people. The effect is subtle but very real; color sways perception, judgment and behavior. It has the psychological power to influence emotion. Managing the impact of color on our image is smart considering that color is one of the first things noticed about a person, particularly from a distance.
Each hue has a different psychological effect. Our body’s nervous and hormonal reactions to the magnetic energies of colors (their temperatures), and the way it physically senses and interprets color visually, result in different emotional responses to the various hues. Another words, there is a specific psychological reaction to each color. Because these feelings are due to the physical effects of color on the body, everybody will have the same subconscious reaction, despite the fact that people have individual color likes and dislikes.
The emotional effects of color can be used to psychological advantage in everyday life, particularly at work to improve and manage interpersonal relationships. It can even create a persona – a desired image. One of the easiest ways to employ color psychology is through clothing color. Wearing particular colors will influence the way others relate to you.
Hear are some tips on how to dress to influence with color. If you want to…
1. Appear friendly and approachable
Wear clear earth tones, light yellow and clear colors in warmer hues:
- Clear earth tones (in particular mid-brown, beige, camel and tan) are warm, friendly and approachable.
- Light yellow is highly visible and therefore sociable, but not as demanding as bright yellow.
- Clear warm colors (such as coral, sunflower yellow, peach) are non-threatening and open, particularly if they are light.
2. Look authoritative
Wear dark colors, in particular black, charcoal, medium to dark gray, midnight-blue, navy, dark blue:
- Appear stern and reserved. The darker the shade the more powerful, intimidating and threatening the effect.
- Create the impression of seniority.
- Create the impression of being in a position to make decisions.
3. Appear less intimidating
Wear earth tones, pastels, the colors yellow and pink:
- Earth tones appear friendly and approachable.
- Pastel colors are calm, gentle and non-threatening.
- Yellow appears positive and friendly.
- Bluish-pink is calming and appears non-aggressive.
4. Look Successful
Wear rich but subtle sophisticated colors (not strong or neon colors) such as camel, butternut, burgundy, salmon and blue-gray:
- Create the impression of having social influence and clout.
- Create the impression of prosperity and economic success.
5. Appear trustworthy
Wear clear earthy colors combined with navy or medium blue:
- Clear earth tones (such as tan, camel, yellowed beige) appear warm, open and down-to-earth giving the impression of dependability and credibility.
- Navy and medium blue suggest reasonableness and professionalism.
6. Appear professional
Wear medium to dark colors, in particular men’s traditional suiting colors: navy, charcoal, gray, dark blue, gray-beige, black in Asia:
- Appear serious and are therefore business-like.
- Suggest efficiency, strength and assertiveness.
- Give the impression of commitment and capability.
7. Attract attention
Wear bright, advancing colors such as orange-red, orange, yellow and lime that are visually and psychologically compelling (but not necessarily business-like).
8. Downplay attractiveness
Wear muted colors, dark colors, neutral colors and unflattering colors:
- Muted, dulled colors (such as stone, taupe, khaki) give the feeling of a lack of openness.
- Dark colors suggest reserve and seriousness.
- Neutral colors (black, gray, brown, white) lack character when worn on their own.
9. Appear creative and forward-thinking.
Wear strong clear colors, purple:
- Strong clear colors are expressive, extroverted and positive.
- Purple is the color related to higher intellect.
10. Appear calm and reassuring
Wear pastels, green:
- Pastel colors are unassuming, quiet and diplomatic, calmly deflecting criticism.
- Green is a balanced color which gives the impression of peacefulness and orderliness.
- Muted warm colors such as earth tones are centered and down-to-earth.
Manage the impression you give. Change the way you are perceived and let others to see the positive qualities in you. Color psychology is a simple but very effective tool to create or enhance your image!
Amazingly, the right colors can naturally improve your looks, making you appear younger, healthier and more energetic ! Learn More »
The writer, Denise Ng, is a certified image consultant in Singapore. A color expert who has worked in the area of psychology, she brings her passion for color psychology into her work with her clients, offering in-depth, authoritative advice on the effects and use of color for their appearance and image. Her consultancy Imago Image specializes in personal and corporate image, offering counsel on style, the art of dressing, wardrobe, color analysis, grooming, etiquette and protocol and communication skills. She is a founding board member and ex-President of the South Asia-Singapore Chapter of AICI, a global professional association of image consultants.