1. Color Symbolism

Color conveys meanings in two primary ways - natural associations and psychological symbolism. No, itís not mind control. The truth of the matter is that people are comfortable when colors remind them of similar things. For example, a soft shade of blue triggers associations with the sky and a psychological sense of calm.

Successful design requires an awareness of how and why colors communicate meaning. The source of these meanings can be quite conspicuous, such as those found in nature ó red is the color of blazing fire and blood, blue the color of cooling waters and the sky. Other meanings may be more complex and not universal.

As a starting point, the communicative properties of a color can be defined by two categories: natural associations and psychological (or cultural) associations.

Occurrences of colors in nature are universal and timeless. For example, the fact that green is the color of vegetation can be considered a universal and timeless association

Color may generate another level of meaning in the mind. This symbolism arises from cultural and contemporary contexts. As such, it is not universal and may be unrelated to its natural associations. For example, greenís associations with nature communicate growth, fruitfulness, freshness and ecology. On the other hand, green may also be symbolic of good luck, seasickness, money and greed ó all of which have nothing to do with green plants. These associations arise from a complex assortment of sources.


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