The Power of Color



The coat in question (with special guest appearance by Oliver the Cutie Pie.

The coat in question (with special guest appearance by Oliver the Cutie Pie.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed something strange. At the grocery store, the gas station, and even walking into restaurants, people who would usually never acknowledge me were smiling, nodding, even drumming up conversations.

I’m by nature a very introverted person, but won’t rebuff a friendly interchange, a nod, or smile. But oddly, it seemed the amount of these encounters had tripled. I couldn’t figure out what the difference was. Had I done my hair different? Was I projecting an outgoing personality? The attention was weird, but not unwelcome. I just wanted to understand why.

The winter weather in Michigan is usually a bit wacky, zero one day and forty the next. On a warm (warmer than zero anyway) day, I had to exchange my artic wear for a lighter jacket, and the extra attention stopped. Just like that. Like a faucet being turned off.

My super warm coat is a stunning shade of pink, not fuchsia, but a nice, bright pastel. Most of my outerwear is normal earthy tones, tan, gray, and brown, so this was a huge change. I fell in love with it because of the feeling I got when I saw it, happy, warm, friendly feelings.

It got me thinking of the power of color in everyday life. How appearances influence us subconsciously.

I did some Googling and found color psychology is a thing!

First, I stumbled on Bourn Creative, which defined pink as a color of universal love of oneself and of others, friendship, affection, harmony, inner peace, and approachability.

I researched on and found a slew of marketing information. There are reasons why the Golden Arches are golden and the Target bullseye is red. Red encourages excitement, and yellow/gold symbolizes warmth and optimism. Green for John Deere tractors to tie it to growing things.

Now, according to the website, The Psychology of Color, personal preference plays a role. So, if you grew up being forced to wear olive green every day, and you HATE green because of it, then you may not feel the same instant attraction to the color, even if you are a farmer or someone who adore plants.

Men tend to prefer primary shades, and blue is the universal favorite across genders. Some colors are touted to help you get dates, study, or have more energy. Orange and teal are great for non-fiction book covers, while if you are trying to attract men don’t choose purple.

I don’t think any of these are axioms that work every time, but it’s interesting to speculate that your choice of outfit could influence your creativity, your feelings of wellbeing, chances on a job, or even a date.

I still love my coat and now that I understand The Pink Coat Effect, I may wear it more often or forsake it for my old brown backup on days I just want to blend.

How does color effect you? Do you have a favorite that inspires you? What about a signature shade? Comment below!

2 thoughts on “The Power of Color

  1. smashedpicketfences

    OHHH!! My favorite topics! Psychology and colors! I’ve done a lot of research on the subject, especially where it comes to learning. I used to design a skill sheet to help kids with reading disabilities and I’d do certain vowel combinations in certain colors for the learning phase to help kids ID the sound association faster. Works like a charm!

    So for example: the long vowel thing is hard to learn. So I’d do up a skill sheet with a ton of words with “e” at the end. I’d make the “e” on the end blue and make the vowel that will sound out long in red. So blue is to signal that is will be subdued (silent) and red to remind them it will say it’s name. I had a story that went a long with it, too. My kids learned quicker than other groups. I felt like I discovered a secret power 🙂

    That jacket (and sweet Oliver) are super cute looking 🙂 No wonder you got so many smiles!

    1. Pam Post author

      That’s totally cool, or warm if it is red (ha ha). I think that the human mind is still a vastly misunderstood resource, things like color and music are not used enough to simulate kids (or adults). I mean I can’t say my gray on gray cubicle makes me feel motivated to work everyday. (Or it could be the nature of the job.) Thanks for the input, Ms. Tina! 🙂


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