Why do different people like different colours?
Colours are a very important factor of our daily lives. Colours are used very carefully in marketing in order to increase sales. It is definitely proven that different colours have different effects on us.
But what is the exact mechanism for it?
There are few explanations for it.
- One explanation is that we usually tend to like colours that indicate freshness and are important for our survival. Therefore, we like colours of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as blue and green that stand for an open sky and clear water. This may be the reason why not many people’s favorite color is brown as it may stand for rotten foods or faeces.
- However, when colours are associated with objects, then people report liking even brown, because it stands for chocolate, an object they like. Therefore, colour liking is not random. Often, we like colours because of what they signify or represent in our minds.
- Studies have found that colours are associated with, and provoked by certain moods and states of mind. This is related to the wavelength that the colour induces and how much the brain has to process to see the colour. For example, red is usually an alerting, stimulating colour. That’s why we have red lights and red public transport.
- Red is an emotionally stimulating colour and is used to garner sales for materials like Valentine’s Day cards and the like. Red is also found to stimulate appetite and may be used in décor of restaurants.
- Some colours like blue are associated with a low or depressed mood state. If someone likes blue a lot, it’s not necessary that they are depressed though. It could just mean that they are reflective and think a lot. But it could also be that the jersey of the team they support is blue, and therefore they like blue. Therefore, even though certain moods and personality traits are associated with colours, research is still going on to say anything clear. But there is not just one meaning for colour liking. For example, yellow-orange spectrum colours signify outgoing, lively and extrovert nature, but everyone who wears clothes of these colours may not feel that way.
- There are also cultural differences in what colours people like. For example white is the colour of purity and is worn by brides in western cultures, whereas in India, widows wear white. Therefore, the culture one grows up in also has a major influence on colour preference.
Therefore, what all these findings indicate is that universally, in all humans, certain colours evoke certain reactions by stimulating the brain, and so they are thus used in marketing and advertising. But individual colour preference is highly unique and depends from person to person, on their culture, objects of their liking and their personality traits and mood.