Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions. – Pablo Picasso

Colors often have different meanings in various cultures. Several ancient cultures, including the Egyptians and Chinese, practiced chromotherapy, or using colors to heal. Chromotherapy is also known as light therapy and is still used today as a holistic or alternative treatment.

  • Red is used to stimulate the body and mind and to increase circulation.
  • Yellow is thought to stimulate the nerves and purify the body.
  • Orange is used to heal the lungs and to increase energy levels.
  • Indigo shades are thought to alleviate skin problems.

Most traditional doctors view color therapy with great skepticism. I view it with skepticism. But some research has shown that colors can alter feelings and most people will admit to some colors affecting them. A blue room can have a calming effect, but weightlifters perform better in a blue room.  Students exposed to the color red prior to testing has been shown to have a negative impact on test performance but athletes shown red before activities can causes people to react with greater speed and force.

Artists and interior designers have used color to affect moods and emotions. But some of these associations are personal and cultural. The color white in many Western countries to represent purity and innocence, but it is seen as a symbol of mourning in many Eastern countries.

Picasso went through his “blue period.”  That is the period of paintings in which the color blue dominates which occurred between 1901 and 1904. The blue period paintings are melancholy and coincide with the suicide of his close friend Carlos Casagemas, so the paintings do express his emotional state.

Black is the color of authority and power from priestly robes to villains, but it is  popular in fashion because it makes people appear thinner.

Brides wear white to symbolize innocence and purity and doctors and nurses commonly wear white to imply sterility.

Pantone Inc. is known for its Pantone Matching System which is used in printing, colored paint, fabric, and plastics. Every year they pick a Color of the Year, trying to anticipate what the color trend of the year will be.

Tangerine Tango was their 2012 Color of the Year which they described on their website as “sophisticated, dramatic and seductive, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenalin rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy.”

“Radiant Orchid” was picked as the Color of the Year for 2014.

Are you seeing more of orchid this year? Are you having an orchid year?