I’m not sure about you, but I live in a world of colours. I love the bright hues and the happy vibes that come with it. I think it’s telling when you tend to steer toward some colours and choose them over others. It could be subconscious and something you do without thinking too much about it. Same goes with the colours you simply cannot stand and never want to be associated with.
So this got me thinking about why we have a preference for certain colours. In fact, I think colour preference doesn’t even have to be rational. It could be a totally emotional response, subjective and unique for every individual. And yet, this inexplicable preference can have a powerful influence over the choices and decisions we make.
I love white. The colours that I love can move from pink to red to yellow to gold. The colours tend to be bright, fresh, and happy (in my opinion).
The colour I tend to stay away from is brown. Brown is also quite an interesting subject for me. I really dislike it. However, I can accept accessories like shoes and bags in brown, leather goods that are in their authentic brown, and lighter shades for jackets. Perhaps I just don’t really like brown right next to my face as an outfit, I feel it just dulls my aura. So maybe I can’t say I dislike it, it’s a matter of “depends on the situation”.
It’s also interesting to see how we prefer some shades over others. I’m fine with bright shades of blue, turquoise and cyan, even denim. I even started to really like navy because when I tried on a navy trench once, I thought it had some kind of class to it, and I ended up buying it. Green, I like it rugged, like the army green, camou designs, and this, I prefer it dark and strong. Ever wonder why your friends will comment that you’re weird? That you can accept this green and yet not that green? I guess women have this innate ability to further sub-divide a colour into a hundred different hues.
Not all colours are equally favoured and that’s psychologically proven. It’s the subconscious association we have for colours that determine our preference. Some colours have feel good associations, reinforced with good experiences and so this preference self perpetuates. Brown is commonly associated with dirt but yet, chocolate elevates that same brown to another level and it is well loved.
Cultural influence also affects the way we see and like colour. In the West, the color black symbolizes mourning and sadness, red symbolizes anger and violence, white symbolizes purity and peace, and yellow symbolizes joy and luck. In different countries, colour preference vary. In China, red indicates luck, while in Nigeria and Germany it means the exact opposite.
Other interesting studies on colour… The age when infants begin showing a preference for colour is at about 12 weeks old. Colour perception of children 3–5 years of age is an indicator of their developmental stage. Colour preferences tend to change as people age.
So our preference for colour can have deeper psychological meanings than we realize, and it could have started from infancy. There is even a theory that states that our systems for ranking colours are hardwired, even if our actual colour preferences are malleable.
The next time you make your decision on your colour choice, you may be more aware of why and how you made that choice. For me, I just like to know how a decision came to be but when I’m picking out an outfit, I still let my heart decide. Subconsciously, you know what attracts you and what works for you.
Images courtesy of Jeanette Aw.