Colors have powerful meanings. Once you learn and understand their meaning, you can use color more effectively to create your own flare and truly captivate your viewers. For years, artists, advertisers, graphic designers, and interior decorators have been using colors to enhance our environments. As an artist, it is important to learn how to use the positive/negative attributes of color to deliver the desired message.
Red is the color of passion, energy, vitality, and strength. It is also the color of assertion, impulsive, ambitious, outgoing, excitement, and romance. The deeper shades of red create an atmosphere of power and opulence. The color also elicits a straightforward nature. However, it can also mean threat or danger. Traffic lights, stop signs, and fire engines are a perfect example.
Yellow represents light and it is generally associated with sunshine. It creates a feeling of happiness, hope, and wisdom. The color radiates an optimistic sense of comfort and wellbeing. It is atmospheric, radiant, and airy. Yellow is also very effective at attracting attention. The yellow taxi cab is a perfect example of this. Apart from this, this color is also often used as a warning symbol, e.g. traffic lights, ‘yellow flag’ in football, etc. The list goes on and on.
Green is the color of security, balance, and harmony. It also has a calming effect as well as a symbolic meaning of modesty, gentleness, peace, and hope. It is refined, soothing, and civilized with great healing power. Pale green color is especially restful. Green suggests growth, endurance, and stability. However, it also sometimes denotes lack of experience, for instance a ‘green horn’ refers to a novice.
The color of the sky and sea, it has a quality of openness and cool expansiveness. Soothing, soft, loyal, trustworthy, and compassionate, blue is an introspective color. It is also a formal color that represents steady character and wisdom. But, the poetic subtlety and quiet character of blue can also be associated with resignation and melancholy.
Hidden and mysterious, black can have a morbid feeling. It gives a feeling of the unknown and negative implications. In most Western cultures, this color is also a symbol of grief. However, black can be showy and dignified with power and sophistication. It has the power to disrupt color schemes that rely on strong contrasting colors.
White is symbolic of purity, cleanliness, and safety. This color also emanates innocence, perfection, and youth. White is freshness and simplicity, but too much can give a clinical feeling. Sterility, hospitals, and doctors are associated with white. In painting, it is recommended that you use white sparingly as it can make colors lifeless and chalky.
Most successful artists understand the meaning of colors and hence, they can carefully choose and use them to their advantage. But there are many novice and aspiring artists who are not aware of the true potential of colors. This article provided an overview on the various key colors and their meaning. Hopefully, it has helped you and given you some fresh ideas for your upcoming project.
Photos by: Sharon Mccutcheon, Brennan Ehrhardt, Alexey Lin, Martin Widenka, David McEachan, Bryan Garces