If you could describe your life in colors, which ones would you use to draw it? Each color has a special and unique significance in our environment, from giving us that vital energy that excites us, to that peaceful tranquility that invites us to relax.
All colors are related to the different emotions we can feel, so our brain associates a hue with a specific mood, both in its expression in the environment, as well as in our subjective representation.
Now, if you could find a color that transmits calmness, what would it be? Surely, you would have chosen blue, because it reminds us of the peacefulness of the sea and the sky. Although this meaning goes unnoticed, since we are not aware of it, the impact it produces in our emotional sphere is still present and it is what causes us all those sensations.
- You may be interested in: “Color theory: what colors make up the chromatic circle?”
But… why the peaceful meaning of the color blue? where does it come from? If you want to find out, then don’t miss the following article where we will talk about the color blue in psychology and its meaning.
The psychology of color and its influence on our psyche
Color psychology is that discipline of psychology that studies the influence of color on human emotions. But where does this study come from? The answer is, from the visual perception we have of the colors that are around us and the symbolic interpretation that our mind assigns to them. So, the use of colors in our daily life is conditioned by our own state of mind.
So that there are colors that make us happy, irritate us, make us sad, angry or can relax us. This is the reason why art techniques can be used in psychological interventions, because sometimes people are not able to describe their emotions or their problematic situations, but they can give color to their affections, as well as use them to make catharsis and to express emotions in everyday life.
Blue color in psychology: discover its meaning
Let’s remember the question at the beginning of this article, if you think of a color that transmits calm, would it be blue? This color is one of those that most transmit tranquility and relaxation. Fair, as we mentioned before, because it reminds us of the peacefulness of the sky or the clear and undisturbed ocean. But it is also associated with intellectuality and intelligence, because its hue is from the range of cold gradients, so it is easily related to logic.
However, did you know that the color blue has 110 different shades? And even more shocking, these shades have different meanings according to psychology. Among the emotions that the color blue awakens in us are serenity and confidence, and it is also associated with a taste for pleasure.It is also associated with a taste for technology. We will see them in more depth below.
1. The visual impact of blue
All humans have photosensitive cells inside our eye sockets that are responsible for perceiving the light waves refracted in objects or as we commonly know, the colors. So that then the brain gives it its own interpretation. However, we only have 3 cones, one for each primary color (yellow, blue and red).
So it is one of the few colors to which we are more sensitive and we can perceive how it is reflected in nature. Although we must clarify that natural blue objects are not of this color as such, but it is what we interpret in our brain. As is the case with the sea, which is actually colorless, but the reflection of light makes it appear a beautiful bright blue of different shades.
2. Blue in different cultures
Just as it has many different shades, it also has different meanings in different cultures around the world. Many cultures converge on a very similar concept in reference to blue, which is spirituality, serenity and harmony, as it has a direct association with both the sky and the sea.
For example, for the millenary Chinese culture, the lighter shades of blue are associated with healing, harmony and good fortune for a peaceful and prosperous life, as it is linked to the element of wood. While in the Muslim and Christian religion it is taken as a protective mantle of heaven. Similarly, Egyptian and Hindu cultures took it as a sacred color used only by the gods.
However, not everything is so pure and serene. For, in the same Chinese tradition, the strongest and most striking blue color is often linked to perversions and evil. Just as in the Korean religion, where blue is the color of mourning.
4. The disappearance of blue in antiquity
We may have the idea that this color has been present since the beginning of our history, after all it is the characteristic color of the sky and the sea. But you will surely be surprised to learn that blue did not really exist in ancient times. Since the Greeks, the Romans and the ancient Asian civilization, this color went completely unnoticed.
Could people not see blue? According to historian and color expert Michel Pastoureau, this was not the case; they simply did not associate the color with anything. In Greek times, the most representative colors used were white, black and red, and only occasionally did they also use green and brownish tones. The same happened in ancient Rome, where white, red and gold were predominant. As well as in Eastern cultures.
Only the ancient Egyptians had a slight knowledge of blue and its use can be seen in their hieroglyphs and some paintings on sarcophagi or statues. Also the barbarian, Celtic and Germanic cultures, so the use of this color was almost forbidden in ancient Rome, as they considered them as lower class. Such was their repulsion to this color that they considered people with blue eyes as an abomination.
It was not until approximately the XII and XIV centuries, according to Pastoureau, that blue began to take relevance, thanks to the Christian influence and the new social order.
5. Blue as the color of tranquility
So how does blue come to be considered a color of tranquility? This is because it is associated with cold weather and therefore with the serenity, passivity and calmness that this climate brings. Where we tend to be more calm and sheltered from the cold.
Similarly, in the marketing world, taking into account its synonym of tranquility, this color has been used to express confidence, quality and freshness of the products, the same sensation that the sea gives us.
6. Technology and communication
With the arrival of technological evolution, blue has been used almost as a flag of distinction, since it alludes to intelligence and wisdom, as well as to novelty and avant-garde. Everything that can be related to logic and creativity at mathematical levels.
It is also used to represent communication, as a fun connection of the sea and the sky, which can connect people around the world. This is why we can see it in communication applications such as Twitter, Facebook, Skype or Telegram.
7. Intellectuality of the color blue
Another area where we can find blue represented is in diplomatic and intellectual matters. So it is common to find it in the logos of the UN, UNICEF or even in the flag of the European Union. This is due to the character of knowledge that comes from the human mind and our ability to turn teachings into wisdoms to benefit others.
8. The illusion behind the blue
The meaning of illusion, impression and fantasy that blue represents for some people (especially for artistic or fashion creations) comes from the idea of the crystalline sea, which creates a mirage effect, just like the sky that transforms from a pure light blue to a dark and rich one. Therefore, it is also given the interpretation of immensity and eternity.
It is also a color that fuels creativity and achieving that which is impossible. So we can take it as inspiration to create fantasy, fictional or futuristic works and paintings.
Another characteristic of blue is attributed to royalty, where those belonging to the nobility were categorized as ‘blue blood’ because their skin was so white, blue veins could be seen through their skin.
9. The dark side of blue
However, not all the meanings of blue are of prosperity and calm, but it also has darker meanings in some Eastern and even Western cultures, especially in Europe. For example, it is attributed with characteristics of sadness and uneasiness, due to the fact that it is a cold color. Another factor attributed to it is that of perversions, prostitution, bad language, black humor and affective distancing.
Blue is a clear representation that we all have both positive and negative characteristics. The important thing is that we can coexist with these and maintain a healthy balance.