As artists, there is little more important in our worlds than color, and what I find interesting is that you can so often tell who created something, based on the way they’ve used color in their work.
This kind of “signature palette” evolves over time. I know that just from looking back at my own artwork, I go through phases of being drawn to different hues. There have been times when I’ve wanted to bring neons into everything, there have been times when I’ve been all about the black and white contrast, and there have been times when I’ve actively avoided certain shades, but I’m always pulled back to my old favorites.
Color psychology is a really fascinating topic, especially for me (as an artist). I love reading up on why I am drawn toward teal drips, or my love for apple green smudges, and I also love learning what kind of feelings my work stimulates in those that view it.
Studies have shown that all humans have a series of innate color associations. For example, the color red can represent danger, and has been shown to increase our heartbeats. However, the more telling color associations tend to be those links we make in our early lives. For example, someone who has fond memories of tending a garden with a beloved grandmother, might be drawn to sunflower shades.
Although color can be really dependent on personal experience, there are still a series of universal emotions and concepts that are associated with each shade:
Pink: sweet, gentle, calm, loving, whimsical
Red: passion, fear, anger, power, desire, energy, determination, attention, warmth, intensity, excitement
Orange: action, enthusiasm, creativity, fascination, success, stimulating, change
Yellow: joyous, uplifting, open, warming,
Green: relaxed, refreshed, natural, harmony, wisdom, faith, truth, sincerity, wealth, envy
Blue: tranquil, trustworthy, strength, serenity, focus,
Purple: confidence, luxury, ambition, extravagance, magic, dignity, mystery, exotic, respect
Black: simplicity, elegance, standing out, prestigious,
White: positivity, purity, sense of space, light, perfection, neutrality
Brown: comfort, friendship,
If you want to create a particular feeling with your artwork, take a look at the lists above and pull out your symbolic colors accordingly.
As an extra fun touch, I’ve put together a quiz to help you figure out your color personality. Get started below!