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Your Body’s Response to Color: Physiological Design

Your Body’s Response to Color:

Physiological Design

DR. STACEY DENISE MOORE


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Every color you see elicits a physiological response from your brain. This can either harm you by causing anxiety, stress, fear, or even depression, or it can help you by inspiring creativity, motivation, and healing.

The physiological effects of art and design are not mere talking points; they are important realities that should shape the way we look at the world. But before we can implement color in a restorative way, we must first understand what it is and how our body responds to it.

How We See Color

Light rays bounce off of things and hit the retinas at the back of our eyes, giving us the feeling of color. Millions of rods and cones, which are light receptors, cover the retina, which sends signals to the brain about what the eyes are seeing through the optic nerve.

Researchers estimate that most humans can see around one million different colors. As for shade variation, the human eye can perceive more variations in warmer colors than cooler ones.

Light rays bounce off of things and hit the retinas at the back of our eyes, giving us the feeling of color. Millions of rods and cones, which are light receptors, cover the retina, which sends signals to the brain about what the eyes are seeing through the optic nerve.

Researchers estimate that most humans can see around one million different colors. As for shade variation, the human eye can perceive more variations in warmer colors than cooler ones.

Dr. Stacey Denise

Of course, not everyone can see the same number of shades and colors. Research shows that color impairment affects 8% of men and 1% of women. As such, most people with color deficiencies aren’t aware that the colors they see aren’t the same as what others see.

Influences of Color Preference

Some people believe that certain colors are inherently positive or negative. Most view warm colors (orange, red, and yellow) as positive and cool colors (blue, purple, and green) as negative.

However, color associations are much more complex. For instance, the warm color red might evoke aggression or express danger, but the cool color green evokes clarity and growth. Many of these elements affect a person’s physiological response to color.

A study that looked at the link between a person’s color preferences and their anxiety and depression found that a person’s color preferences depend on:

  • Their character
  • Their prevailing conditions
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Whims and desires

When it comes to color preference, there can be no one perfect, equally loved color. That’s because we’re all different. The way we see the world is individual and unique.

Dr. Stacey Denise

However, by studying color trends, we can recognize the possible connections between certain colors and emotional responses.

This can then help us create better art, color palettes, and overall design. Many have even used this knowledge to aid in spiritual healing and bodily recovery.

Color Associations

When designing, you need to think of colors as tools. They must not only complement, but they must also affect a particular feeling in the room. Below are several colors and their typical associations:

Purple:

Used heavily on beauty products, purple is associated with luxury brands. It exudes feelings of ambition, power, and royalty.

Orange:

Because this color is so powerful, it must be used in moderation. As an accent color, it can encourage optimism and energy.

Green:

Easily processed by the human eye, green calms the mind. Its association with nature also lends to its ability to renew the mind and encourage growth, luck, and new beginnings.

Red:

Its powerful presence makes this color the go-to for marketers, although it can become overused. Red shouldn’t be used much in the home because it can get people’s minds going and make them think of passion or even danger.

Blue:

A worldwide survey done in 2015 found that blue is the world’s favorite color. It is also a popular choice among corporations, designers, and artistsThe color blue has often been associated with freedom, imagination, inspiration, and openness. It’s a natural color, reminding people of the sky and the sea.

Yellow:

Like orange, this color demands attention. It works well with accent pieces to boost mood and creativity. Its associations include friendship, intellect, and energy. Yet, depending on the shade of yellow, it can also indicate illness or danger.

 

Black:

Sleek and sophisticated, black works well in modern designs to give them a sense of elegance. Much technology comes in black, and it is used extensively in communications across industries.

Grey:

Often used on walls and large furniture pieces, gray is a great neutral choice to complement black and white. Gray represents balance and neutrality and can be soothing. However, if overused, it can intensify depression due to its lack of color.

White:

This color is popular in the healthcare industry because of its association with cleanliness. It is a great conductor of light, perfect for dark rooms and spaces. White is a symbol of peace and purity.

Using Color for Purpose

With these thoughts in mind, you can better understand why you enjoy some colors and not others. Your choice could be a matter of taste, culture, or the colors themselves.

When designing, consider your body’s response to the design. Will it encourage you, inspire your creativity, and motivate action? Or will it depress and irritate you?

-Dr. Stacey Denise

Some people are perfectly comfortable existing in a black, white, and gray room, but others would feel stuffy and depressed, in need of more vibrant colors.

Consider your needs, wants, and desires. A color is a physiological tool; use it on purpose.



Stacey Denise Moore, M.D.
Author
Stacey Denise Moore, M.D.

Dr. Stacey Denise Moore is the visionary behind Ceyise Studios, serving as Chief Creative Officer, Principal Artist, and Chief Expert Color Designer. With a background in medicine, her life’s work is a harmonious blend of art and wellness, deeply influenced by a transformative personal experience. Her digital mixed-media art, rooted in color psychology, inspires individuals to embrace their authenticity and express their emotions freely. At Ceyise Studios, Dr. Stacey Denise’s expertise in color consulting and fine art photography aims not just to beautify but to evoke a sense of well-being and self-confidence in others. She believes in the transformative power of art to communicate profound emotions and advocates for living a life designed with optimism and intention.

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