The Basic Psychology of Color
Yellow - is the most visible color and is the first color the human eye notices! Yellow, the color nearest to "light" leaves a warm and satisfying impression, lively and stimulating and in many cultures symbolizes deity. Dark yellow can be oppressive while light yellow is breezy. Yellow's stimulating nature and high visibility to the eye is the reason why many road signs are bold yellow (contrasted by black text). Yellow birds, flowers and skies are sure to be eye-catchers just because of the way the mind and eye works!
Orange - is a good balance between the passionate red and the "yellow of wisdom." Orange is symbolic of endurance, strength and ambition. It can represent the fire and flame of the sun. Orange is said to also have the cheerful effect of yellow, but is intensified in its closeness to the color red.
Red - is a bold color that commands attention! Red gives the impression of seriousness and dignity, represents heat, fire and rage, it is known to escalate the body's metabolism. Red can also signify passion and love. Red promotes excitement and action. It is a bold color that signifies danger, which is why it's used on stop signs. Using too much red should be done with caution because of its domineering qualities. Red is the most powerful of colors.
Pink - is the most gender specific. Pink represents femininity and has a gentle nature (which is not a bad thing). Pink is associated with sweets like candy and bubble gum. It also symbolizes softness. Because it's so "feminine," use of pinks should be well planned. Pink and blue color combos are most associated with babies, soaps and detergents.
Purple - is a mixture of somber blue and active red. It can represent coolness, mist and shadows. It symbolizes royalty and dignity and can be mournful, yet soft and lonely. Purple is described as an "unquiet color" being mysterious and mystic in a cultural sort of way. A study revealed that purple, the color of mourning among many peoples, meets with disapproval in six Asian countries.
Blue - represents temperature, sky, water and ice. It is the second most powerful color. It obviously represents coolness, mist and shadows. In some applications it can represent peacefulness and calmness. And as pink represents femininity, blue represents masculinity. Blue is often associated with somber emotions like sadness, gloom and fear. Blue is a contemplative color, meaning intelligence and strength. It is one of the most politically correct colors there is with no negative connotations of it anywhere on the globe.
Green - is the most restful color for the human eye. It's the universal color of nature as well as represents fertility, rebirth and freedom. (That answers the question why it's the best background for birds.) Bright green can be uplifting while dark green evokes a mental picture of a pine forest. Street signs are painted a metallic green background contrasted with white letters because the combination is believed to be the easiest to read and recognize for the human brain. However, as with most colors, green also brings forth some negative connotations. The phrase "green with envy" also gives way to guilt, ghastliness, sickness and disease.
Brown - is associated with nature, trees and wood. It represents conservancy and humility. Next to gray, brown, in one of its many shades, is one of the most neutral of the colors. It is useful in balancing out stronger colors, and because it is one of the most predominant hues in nature, it gives a sense of familiarity. Light brown confers genuineness while dark brown is reminiscent of fine wood and leather.
Gray - gives the stamp of exclusivity. It's the color "around which creative people are most creative." Gray is a neutral color that can enhance and intensify any other color it surrounds. It can enhance the psychological response of the other colors it supports.
Black - is associated with elegance and class (black-tie affair). It is the traditional color of fear, death and mourning. Look at the many terms using the word black to understand how it is perceived: "black sheep," "black heart," "black and blue" and "black mark." Despite the negative imagery that black brings, it is a preferred color in many designs since it contrasts with most colors quite well. If used correctly, it promotes distinction and clarity in your images.
White - symbolizes purity, innocence and birth. It's closely associated with winter and can also represent surrender or truth. In the color spectrum, white is the union of all the colors. Its neutrality and conservative nature is widely accepted. Its simplicity and subtle quality makes it an ideal color for establishing clarity and contrast in your images.
If you're like most folks, you've probably never thought about color in this way. That's partly why it's called the psychology of color. It is truly a powerful part of communicating, which is used on a daily basis in selling products.