Colours make the man

2015-12-08

We are constantly influenced by colours, without being aware of it. They have a greater impact on our state of mind and how we feel than we think. Feeling blue needs some yellow...

If the brain doesn’t get a bit of colour, it gets depressed. Particularly the old reptilian brain, which is the body’s main hormone producer. It controls sleep and appetite and a number of things regulated by colour. Colour is like medicine. If you are feeling blue, you need some yellow.

Our first reaction to a colour is instinctive. Example: There is a well known shade of bubblegum pink, Baker miller pink, which US prisons paint their cells with to calm aggressive inmates. Colours have a muscle relaxant effect after just three seconds. Red, on the other hand, gets us het up. A theatre’s red curtain tells us that this is a place for drama, this is a place where pulses quicken.

But colours are also culturally constructed, and we have a collective as well as a personal palette. We prefer certain colours to others and our choices say a lot about us. Extroverts prefer bright colours, while introverts are drawn to the black and white scale. We northerners are famous for our cool and sparse colour schemes. But if we think back to the functionalism of the 1930s, we preferred strong colours in our homes. This was followed by the heavy colours of the 70s mixed with brown. Now we have entered a new colourful period. Hopefully we have learned to use more colour so that we don’t feel gloomy...