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
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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