Article by Rianna Last
Ever wondered why a glimpse of McDonald’s golden arches and red roof makes you hungry? It’s not just you. Commonly referred to as the Ketchup and Mustard Theory, the color combination of red and yellow is said to inspire hunger—and many fast food restaurants use this to their advantage. Notably, this use of colors to prompt certain reactions isn’t unique to just restaurants. In fact, it’s all around us. Have you noticed that you’re more likely to stay loyal to a bank that has blue in its logo, or impulse buy a dress in a pink store? Welcome to color psychology.
Different to color theory (the science behind what colors look good together), color psychology states that colors have meaning and can affect how humans behave or think. Often applied in marketing or branding, this method is all about targeting the subconscious and how certain colors make us react. The psychological effects of color on human behavior doesn’t just apply to brands, though.
In fact, color in art can be used as a powerful tool to influence its observer. Certain colors can have a big impact on your mood, and the energy of your space. Red is synonymous with energy—it’s exciting and vibrant—which is why we can feel hungry.
Blue-green, meanwhile, is tranquil and calm, and can even help lower anxiety.
Every color has its own emotional cue—and these hidden color meanings can affect our subconscious.
Achieving Your Goals Through Color
With that in mind, it is important to choose artwork that will support your goals. Environment plays a big factor when it comes to setting your goals—and achieving them. When our visual surroundings are less than ideal, this can actually be harmful to us mentally and physically. Described as visual pollution, the effects of unwanted visuals can impact our experiences and actions. This means that the art in your space does more than alter the aesthetics—it influences your thought process.
The Right Art for You
Selecting artwork that supports your goals can seem challenging, but it’s actually quite simple. It’s all about how color affects the brain. Once you understand the meaning behind certain colors, you can build up an art collection that not only appeals to you aesthetically, but also mentally. Check out our recommendations below.
For the Entrepreneur
Some of us are ambitious with lofty goals and a never-ending list to get done. If you’ve just started a business or taken on a big project, then energetic colors should be in your work space. Picking pieces that contain hues of red, yellow, or orange will help you along when you feel in a slump. Red represents ambition and courage, while orange can help with confidence. Yellow is synonymous with optimism, an important ingredient in any recipe for success.
For the Busy Bee
If you find yourself constantly on the run and in need of a reminder to slow down, artwork with calming colors will be key for relaxation. Colors that can soothe include those often found in nature, such as green, blue, indigo, and even lavender. One of our personal favorites from the Artlita gallery is Blues II by Emilee Reed, pictured below, reminiscent of the ocean.
For the Learner
Struggling to get through your PhD program, or finding it hard to keep up with the third language studying? Then motivational colors are your best bet. Yellow is not only a source of happiness, but it will also keep you feeling creative while you work. Orange and green can also help you along in your goals, as green can represent growth and security. Brenda Salamone’s The Pursuit of Happiness pictured below would be an excellent option with its optimistic hues of yellow and bursts of green, paired with the calming purity of ivory.
For the Spiritual
If you’re looking to strengthen your spiritual connections, then purple and blue’s color symbolism will work well in your home. Purple is often associated with spirituality and imagination, while blue is a common color used in meditation thanks to its calming presence. Zim Killgore’s Lazy Afternoon on the Lake works well for its calming depiction of nature, with its blue waters serene and peaceful.
Color in art is important in any space. Looking for some assistance in picking out motivational artwork for your space? Sign up here and our personal fine art advisor will help you find the right artwork for your home. Get inspired today with Artlita!