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Updated on January 6, 2015

From the first dwellings of early man, he chose to beautify these places with paintings which showed the kind of lives they lived in such moments. The art of color design can be said to have thrived from humble beginnings to a more advanced stance as can be noted presently. From the beginning of the existence of humankind, the emphasis in the places where he lived was accorded much respect in terms of how it looked. For man, it was also important for him to have things which assisted him to survive in such an environment instead of making such a place appealing in the fast place. This means that matters of color were considered a nobility and evolved over time (Shui, 2013). It is therefore necessary for us to understand humanity and the history of design, plus the impact of colors on people’s mood in order to come up with the best style and architectural designs that would be deemed as the best in our settings.

Color is found everywhere, in architectural designing; it becomes important in establishing moods of a particular place. In fact, the impression is created as soon as one enters a room and notices the color choice employed. According to Azeemi and Raza, (2005) color is used to minimize the faults in architectural designs, uniting the furniture, and establishing the visual illusions of emotions, moods and even the room. Color is essential since individual moods, mind and emotions respond in a variety of ways in accordance to their experiences and personalities. Although, there are no research findings, which indicate that all individuals react in a particular way to particular colors, there is no doubt that color elicits people’s moods, physical feelings and emotions. Owing to this impact, it therefore becomes necessary for designers to choose colors that may bring out the desired effect to the immediate occupants or dwellers of the place and not just those that seem to combine well.

Use of Color in Architectural Design

The utilization of color in organizing and improving architectural designs and as a way of motivating the occupants in feeling pleasure while in the place as well as protecting them provides a good startup. Owing to the extensive use of colors in architectural designs, the crime rate is said to have gone down in many places that have employed specific colors. This is because, the designed space does not feel anonymous any longer and the occupants have become more fearless. Color has therefore, been used more effectively and in turn, it has increased security (Helander, Zhang, 2007).

Brainard, et al (2009) explains that it would be important to note that various contexts in architecture will carry different levels of color significance to different users. For example, the color requirement in an office set up may be quite different from that in a meeting room set up though, they may be all be for the purpose of administrative works. Several other examples could be provided, however, research is not explicit on how the users perceive these color senses. Apart from being considered as guides, it should also be noted that color is the space builder (Celeste, 2010).

In design of a particular place with personality in mind, color is the most crucial element one should think of. There are more than 16 million colors today, which can be used to inspire and draw people at the same time. This is so because in reality, people are psychologically wired to noticing and reacting to the colors. Specialists in the field of design can acknowledge the power of colors in changing the mood and attitude of individuals. They contain strong influences on people’s spirit and mind in different ways. Ultimately, different colors may produce moods such as cheerfulness, energetic, optimistic, safe, meditative, sensual, luxurious and so on.

There has been an increase in the use of colors over the years. Individuals are becoming more acquainted on how best to define colors to fit the different styles. This has enabled designers to implement different colors within the interior designing, architecture, installations, art elements and designing of products. The result has been a fashionable explosion of these colors (Designer, 2013, María, 2012).

Ruskin (2008) explains that color can be considered as sacred issue in visuals elements. It is also acknowledged by design specialists that color expresses the design elements. It acts as a non- verbal communicator by revealing meanings and intended messages. In addition, it works and stimulates the human sense, thoughts, and abstract concepts, expressing fantasy as well as producing aesthetic or emotional responses. Emotional responses derived from color are impulsive. This reactions may ether be positive or negative, owing to an individual’s perception.

Research has long supported the notion of people’s mood being influence by color. What has however, not come clear is which colors can be influenced to do what. For instance, sky blue is regarded as soothing, white and silver are said to be airy, leaf green is thought as calming, yellow and orange are also calming while violet is thought to be holy or royal. It has become a challenge for researchers to determine that specific colors cause specific influences or certain changes in an individual’s mood (Thapan, Arendt, Skene. 2007).

The psychology of color has continued to develop since 1970s. Many governments are painting prisons in pink color to suit prisoners and food chains are painting their food joints in orange in an attempt to make their clients eat faster. However, scientists have been defeated to know in specific which colors are related with the same emotions (Mehrabian, 2006).

Adams and Osgood (2008) did a study to find out the specific colors, which influenced individual’s mood. The methodology involved interview with individuals from 23 cultural backgrounds and a review of 90 scientific studies. Among the findings from such studies was that black was related with the aspect of being bad and strong while red was related with activity, vitality and strength. On the other hand, gray was described as weak, or bad while blue and white were described as good. The study, which provided a 70% agreement between the respondents and secondary information, presented a framework for the present color psychology.

Different communities and cultures relate different colors in different ways. For instance, you will find mourners in Asian countries wearing white clothing. Brides and grooms in India wear red. This is quite different in places such as America where the color of mourning is usually black while brides wear white. Some cultures may also relate one color in two different aspects. For example, the Catholic Pope in most cases wears a red robe, while Satan is also depicted as wearing a red skin. In particular, if the red color makes individuals to have vitality, the feelings towards such vitality might change in relation to the context of the situation.

In the year 2000, the government of Glasgow incorporated the concept of blue street lighting on its capital city in an attempt to reduce crime. Interestingly, reduced criminal activities were reported in this area. Various media outlets picked up this report and relayed them to several countries. Japan also borrowed this concept in 2009 by installing blue lighting on all its stations to control the rising case of suicide and homicide among its citizens. Several other countries have also followed suit in incorporating this idea (Hall, 2009, Ruskin, 2008).

In separate studies, research has shown that the color wavelengths (violet associated with long waves and red associated with shortwave) relate with individual’s hormonal systems in altering their moods (Schaie, 2005). These findings have however been questioned owing to the fact that similar colors may be made in a variety of ways. This means that the wave pattern for two colors, which may seem identical, may not always be the same even if the observer feels that they might produce the same emotions

In a 2008 study termed “the effects of proper and improper color stimulus in odor differentiation” individuals who try to undertake a particular task under green or blue colors performed worse than those who did the same tasks in an environment of red, orange or white colors. Another study revealed that individuals who have been presented with green juice of strawberry or cherry in a glass did not recognize the kind of odor from this liquid. However, they could recognize the odor when the color of the liquid was red (Oaten, 2008, Dutton, 2005).

A study that was meant to find out the effects of color on people’s moods was conducted by assessing individual reactions to color and presented the findings on a scale. This study established that the effects of brightness were almost similar to achromatic and chromatic colors. On the other hand, blue green, blue, red- purple, purple-blue, and green happened to be the most pleasing for individuals, colors that were the least pleasant included, green yellow and yellow. The most arousing colors were green, blue green and green yellow while the least arousing colors were blue-purple and red yellow. Green yellow dominated the red purple ( Mehrabian, 2006).

Schaie, (2005) took her time to study the relationship of color and individual’s mood. She points out that her research is not the first of this kind and that even in 1960 literature in such topic still existed. This means that the idea of finding the relationship between these two aspects has been profound. In her assessment, she noted that specific colors went hand in hand with verbal messages describing the moods.

A research on the effects of logo by Doyle, and Bottomley, (2009) required that participants rate the appropriateness of the color in companies that were fictitious on the basis of each companies’ products. Respondents were given a choice of products, which were fictitious that were in a variety of eight colors and were asked to rate the relevance of the color with regard to the products presented. The findings were that the sequence of the appropriateness of the color logo was on the basis on the function of the product. If the respondents regarded the products as being functional, solving their problems or meeting the needs, then the most appropriate color was the most functional in this perspective. If these products were seen as sensory social, conveyed people’s perceptions, or social approval, then it resulted into a sensory social color to be perceived as more appropriate. Organizations should therefore, decide the type of goods or services they want to make and choose appropriate logo color that could align with the functions of such goods or services.

Color, combined with light affects the people’s attitudes concerning the specific environmental settings. Those perceptions, which may not be associated with color such as food palatability, may also be indirectly determined by color. Moreover, not only the food color alone but also all the objects around the eatery environment.


The choice of color in decorations can at times be intimidating if not challenging. It requires that people plan carefully concerning which colors to use and which can be suitable in a particular setting. It is clear that colors do influence emotions, though studies have not clearly affirmed the facts concerning the same. Therefore, it would be better for architectural designers to choose colors that may generate the desired affects in a particular setting. The color choice should be carefully decided upon because it will directly or indirectly affect occupants of that specific place. Research on the relations of color to mood has been along and evolving and it continues up to the present day.


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