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Color psychology: What does your favorite color say about your personality?

Your favorite color can be linked to various personality traits, motivation, and productivity levels in your life.

Image via moibalkon on Shutterstock
  • Color psychology has been used in marketing and branding for years, but research in the last decade has taken color psychology and applied it to human personality traits.
  • Colors aren't merely associated with various feelings but can actually shape our perceptions and personalities.
  • Various studies across multiple years have given us insight into what each color represents in regards to our personality, work ethic, and motivation levels.

    What is color psychology?

    The Logo Company color marketing infographic

    Colors have been used strategically in branding for years.

    Image by The Logo Company

    Many people are unaware of the impact colors have on our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in everyday life.

    It's extremely likely that you have purchased something in a store or chosen one product over another due to what brands call color marketing: targeting brands, colors, and adverts based on colors that will influence you to buy.

    You can see in the infographic above that companies that want to be associated with dependability (Dell, HP, IBM) use the color blue. Companies that want to be known for being exciting and fun (Fanta, Amazon, Nickelodeon) use a splash or orange.

    Color psychology is being used around us every single day and not only in what brands we buy, but also in how we react to our environment. Extending color psychology into the realm of personalities is about proving that colors aren't just about what looks the best, but about what meaning we subconsciously attach to those colors, and how to use that to benefit our lives.

    What your favorite color says about your personality

    child holding crayons

    Photo by Kristin Brown on Unsplash

    Various studies and experiments across multiple years (2010, 2014, 2015 and more recently in 2019) have given us more insight into color personality based on color psychology.

    Red

    Red is a bold color choice that's been associated with excitement, passion, danger, thrill, energy, and action. You may notice that some brands use red for their "call to action" buttons ("order now," "shop now," etc.). This is because red is an intense color that is able to provoke strong emotions which can encourage you to buy things.

    Personality traits of red:

    • Bold
    • Thrill-seeker
    • Adventure-lover
    • Can be a little impulsive
    • Can be perceived as intimidating

    Orange

    Orange is often representative of creativity, happiness, freedom, success, and the balance that brings it all together. Marketers may use this color to draw your attention to a catchy heading or important note on their website (many "alerts" are orange to catch your eye) —but orange isn't nearly as bold and enticing as red.

    Personality traits of orange:

    • Fun and playful energy that people admire
    • Social, perhaps an extrovert
    • You nurture things
    • Enjoys deep conversation
    • Cheerful
    • Loves to play the host at parties or events
    • In regards to productivity, you like to dive right into work and get things done

    Yellow

    Happiness, positivity, and warm summer sun is what yellow reminds us of. Brands may use a splash of yellow in their logo to make you feel happy when you see their products. Many "free shipping" icons on websites may be yellow to attract you to something that is cheerful and positive.

    Personality traits of yellow:

    • A positive spirit
    • Optimistic
    • Cheerful
    • Adventurous
    • Calming for those around them
    • Infectious smiles and happiness that spreads to each person they encounter

    Blue

    Blue is stable, harmonious, peaceful, and trustworthy. Brands who want to be most well-known for their durability, strength, or reliability will use blue in their logos. Many popular computer companies (Dell and HP) and websites (Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo) are known for their predominately blue and white logos.

    Personality traits of blue:

    • Dependable
    • Trustworthy
    • Gentle
    • Compassionate
    • Peaceful
    • Loyal
    • Strong
    • In regards to productivity, you like to strategize the best way to handle a task and can adapt when obstacles arise

    Green

    Two of the things that make the world go 'round are associated with the color green: nature and money. Green can signify growth, fertility, health, wealth, wellness, or generosity. Green can also be associated with negative connotations such as jealousy or envy.

    Personality traits of green:

    • Practical
    • Down-to-earth
    • Loves to give advice
    • Loves to help others
    • Enjoys the outdoors and finds balance in life important
    • In regards to productivity, you like to analyze the situation before diving in, you're a problem solver and you can find inventive ways to think outside the box

    Purple

    Purple can be connected to royalty, power, privilege, wisdom, and spirituality. Purple can be something of a frustrating color as well, as it can cause feelings of frustration or be perceived as arrogant - this is why websites and brands (Hallmark, Yahoo) will use a splash of purple or mix purple with a warmer tone such as white.

    Personality traits of purple:

    • Quick-witted
    • Craves own identity
    • Loves unique things and wants to stand out from the pack
    • Dances to the music no one else can hear
    • You thrive on creativity and inspiration strikes you randomly, allowing you to tune out the world and focus on it

    Pink

    Pink is often associated with femininity, playfulness, and love, but pink can also be perceived as a somewhat immature color. You will notice a lot of pink in a child's toy packaging or brands to signal playful, whimsical fun. Other brands (Victoria Secret for example) have signified the color to mean something cute, fun, playful and sexy.

    Personality traits of pink:

    • Fun
    • Playful
    • Maybe a little naive
    • You wear your heart on your sleeve and aren't afraid to express your emotions
    • Love and family are important to you

    White

    White is often associated with purity - in Western cultures, white is for weddings and hospitals, often signifying purity, cleanliness, and order. Brands will often add a splash of white or use white to offset more intense colors (such as red).

    Personality traits of white:

    • Calm
    • Peaceful
    • Innocent
    • Perhaps a bit naive
    • You like things clean and orderly
    • You like the thought of a "fresh start" or a blank canvas

    Black

    Black can mean so many different things: boldness, uniqueness, mystery, intrigue, and power. But it can also mean unhappiness, darkness, sadness, pain, or grief. Black is associated with death and mourning, but can also be associated with strength, luxury, and intensity.

    Personality traits of black:

    • Bold
    • Risk-taker
    • Perhaps a little impulsive at times
    • Serious (maybe a little too serious)
    • You're strong and command a sense of respect from your peers
    • You're trustworthy
    • Perhaps a little intimidating

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