Friday, November 2, 2018

Color Preferences of Men & Women

By Denise Turner, ASID, CID, CMG

From the moment that a baby is brought into this world and swaddled in a pink or blue blanket, his or her gender carries implications of color preferences. 
There are no hard and fast rules about what colors are exclusively feminine or masculine. However, there have been studies conducted over the past several decades that suggest some general tendencies in preferences between genders.  
A study done by Joe Hallock in 2003 on “Color Assignment” compared color preferences among various demographics. Hallock polled 232 people from 22 countries (most respondents were from Western societies).  
In general, the study revealed clear preferences in certain colors across genders. Specifically, the study showed that:  

  • Blue was the favorite color of both genders.  
  • Purple showed the greatest discrepancy in preference between genders.  
  • Our gender, environment, and cultural perception play important roles in dictating color appropriateness and ultimately influence personal choices. 
  • When it comes to shades, tints, and hues, men typically prefer bold colors, whereas women prefer softer colors.  
  • Men were more likely to select shades of colors (colors with black added) as their favorites; women were more likely to select tints of colors (colors with white added). 
These color theory findings on “perceived appropriateness” are widely discussed and debated by color marketing researchers and industry professionals. It’s quite possible that a brand or product can still succeed even if the colors don’t jive with the surveyed tastes. It’s just good information to consider.  
I forecast that as humanity continues to evolve and foster a greater acceptance of individuals who do not identify with a particular gender, these graphs will become more similar.  

Photo credit: Alexis Brown

Friday, September 21, 2018

What the Colors You're Wearing Say About You

By Denise Turner ASID, CID, CMG

When getting dressed in the morning, most people choose the clothes they’re going to wear without putting too much thought into it. But the clothes you choose, and more specifically, the choices of certain colors of clothes, are more important than you might think. 

In the morning, as you gaze at the clothes in the closet, perhaps coffee in hand, you may want to think beyond the weather and consider other segments of your day. What will I do and whom will I meet? How will others perceive me? Most importantly, what's my mood? The colors you wear affect your emotional and physical well-being, as well as how others perceive you. Which colors you wear in your work environment also matter. 

As a society, we associate colors with many different meanings that operate more deeply than mere visual stimulation. Whether we choose to use color or choose to avoid it entirely, our choices send subconscious messages about how we feel emotionally and physically, as well as about our perspective of the world.

Color affects people at the subconscious level in different ways. Research has shown that 85% of communication is nonverbal, so choosing what to wear for an important event clearly represents a significant part of your overall presentation.

We’ve covered a great deal of information about how colors can affect your health, and how you can harness the powers of the rainbow in practically every area of your life. But, did you know that the same color concepts that apply to your home also apply to your clothing? 

Yes, you can give your wardrobe some color therapy. Here are the most impactful colors, their relationships to the body’s chakra system, and how you can use them to your advantage in your wardrobe. For more in-depth information on personal colors and style, I highly recommend More Alive With Color by Leatrice Eiseman.  

WEARING RED: Powerful & Confident

Red is passionate, exciting, and energetic. 

Want to get someone’s attention? Then red is your color! It can really pack a punch; it empowers and draws attention to the wearer.

Wear red when you want to be assertive, feel a need to portray confidence, or would like to boost your self-esteem. Red has long been associated with love.

A 2014 Society for Personality and Social Psychology study found that “men perceive women wearing red, relative to other colors, as more attractive and more sexually receptive,” making red the perfect date-night color.

But wearing too much red can make a person come off a little too intimidating to others who may lack self-confidence. Also, don’t wear it when you want to evade attention.

The same 2014 study found that women consider other women wearing the hue to be sexually threatening. They assumed the women wearing the color to be more sexual, more likely to cheat, and most threatening when it came to interacting with their partners. 

Red is also an effective accessory color to project energy. Reds that lean towards maroon are not so in-your-face and can even reflect a bit of finesse. 

Red is passionate. It ignites our fight-or-flight response, gives us the inner strength to look beyond our fears, and gives us the courage to face challenges, which explains why it the color of the root chakra. 

WEARING PINK: Open Heart & Sweetness
Pink is loving, affectionate, and sincere.

The offspring of red and white, pink conveys compassion and love, for self and others.

Although pink’s connotations are changing, many people have historically associated it with babies, little girls, and feminine energies. But wearing pink is more than just feeling feminine; pink conveys compassion and an open heart chakra. By wearing pink, whether you’re male or female, you’ll appear more approachable and more capable of loving others. If pastels don't suit you, try on something in bright fuchsia.

Because of its versatility, pink can be a fickle color. Its meanings are different depending on its hue and intensity.  Light pink, for instance, is sweet and innocent like a baby; or, it can also be romantic. Light pink also lowers your blood pressure, making it a very calming color, so don't wear it if you need tons of energy. Wear it when you want to feel feminine, lovable, approachable. Hot pink is energetic and youthful; sexy, fun, and exciting. 

If you’re feeling stressed, consider wearing light pink; it will calm you down. 
If you’re feeling tired, consider wearing hot pink; it will give you a boost of energy. 

WEARING ORANGE: Energetic & Creative
Orange is joyful, confident, ambitious, and associated with sensuality.

Like red, orange draws attention and exudes energy, but unlike intense red, orange is a lot more playful. Orange is perceived to be the hottest of all colors; even more so than red, because it combines the heat from two radiant sources: yellow and red. 

Because orange is a high energy color, wearing it is fun and can make you feel quite playful. Artists love dabbling with orange hues. Accessorizing yourself with an orange accent piece can add a hint of playfulness. But if you need to complete a mundane task, avoid wearing orange as it might interfere with the stick-to-it-ness required to stay on task.

Because it’s such a highly-charged color, some people can’t comfortably wear orange. In this case, softer hues such as peach and mango can be more agreeable.

Orange also gets the creative juices flowing. It heightens creativity and urges you to get out into the world and create something grand! 

Orange also screams sexual energy, which may not be surprising, since orange is associated with the sacral chakra. 

Orange is a great color if you’re feeling down; it will help to put you in a positive, energetic mood. But avoid wearing it when you feel restless or want to relax.

WEARING YELLOW: Optimistic & Happy
Yellow is cheerful and associated with sunshine and gold; it’s luminous, and reflects the happiest of all colors.  

Yellow is an attention-grabber. It’s the first color that our eye sees, and the most optimistic. Just looking at a bouquet of yellow tulips will instantly make you feel optimistic. It’s not your color if you want to relax or avoid attention.

Yellow is definitely a perky color! But a little bit of it can go a long way; too much exposure to yellow can be unsettling and cause eye fatigue.

Wearing yellow out in the world makes a statement. It shows off your sunny outlook. But again, be mindful of quantities: don’t use yellow from head to toe, or you’ll look like Big Bird. 

Yellows and golds convey the same healing qualities associated with the sun, and provide warmth, optimism, and light. So whenever you need some cheering up, reach for yellow and it will make you feel happier.

Yellow can give us the energy to transform no-action into pro-action. It’s the color of the solar plexus chakra, which helps us to meet challenges with optimism. 

WEARING GREEN - Nurturing & Balancing   
Green is secure, abundant, loving, and is associated with growth.

Green is considered to be one of the most soothing and healing colors. It’s also associated with two key elements in our lives: nature and money. 
It’s a wonderful color choice to wear anytime you are wanting to feel more in tune with Mother Nature. 

In general, green represents the Spring season and new growth. It’s the most balanced of all the colors and sits in the middle of all the 7 primary chakras; it unites the three lower chakras of matter to the three upper chakras of spirit. Along with pink, it is also a heart chakra color. Green is soothing and invites harmonious feelings, making it the go-to color to wear if you work in a stressful office. It can diffuse your anxiety and that of others you come in contact with. 

Green stimulates a variety of emotional responses. Deep forest greens project the images of conservatism and wealth. This family of hues is suitable whenever you are wanting to delve deeper into the earthy, grounding energies, and is a great resource for rejuvenation of your life energies. 

Green slows down the heart rate, which has a calming effect. If you’re feeling anxious, consider wearing forest green; it will reduce your stress and that in others whom you meet. Avoid wearing forest green if you’re pulling an all-nighter and need to stay awake.

Yellow-green (chartreuse) takes on a more youthful persona. Choose bright and lighter greens to wear whenever you are embarking on something new or wish to turn over a new leaf. It’s the least favorite color in this family. But remember, there are no bad colors, just bad uses of color. If you love it, wear it. Wear yellow-green for a lively accent color.

Feeling down? Consider wearing yellow-green; it will give you a boost of energy. 

WEARING BLUE: Trust & Calm
Blue is dependable, loyal, serene, and represents authority and communication.

Blue is practically everyone’s favorite color, which makes sense because it can be both peaceful and calming. Wearing blue ensures that you’ll be calm and serene.

Like green, blue is associated with a calming effect, along with a reduction of blood pressure and heart rate. It’s also shown to reduce headache symptoms. Wear blue when you want to exude power or mental focus, appear conservative or respected, or convey an important message. 

Pastel or lighter colored blues can be wonderfully uplifting if you are feeling a bit nervous or edgy. 

Ocean blue-green hues are especially calming. Wearing them can provide the effect of swimming in a bay of warm tropical water.

Blue-gray can sometimes project an image of coldness or standoffish-ness. It’s a great backdrop for more playful accessory colors.

Wearing darker blues can offer more of a comfort zone. Perhaps they remind us of our favorite pair of well-worn denim jeans? Now, that's simply relaxing.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and closed in, consider wearing blue; it has been shown to alleviate claustrophobia. 

If you’re feeling nervous about doing a presentation at work, then blue is your color. It’s calming and promotes intellectual thought; it also happens to be the color of the throat chakra, and supports communication.  

WEARING PURPLE: Uniqueness & Mystery 
Purple is spiritual, luxurious, sophisticated, and magical. 

Wear dark purple to project wisdom, or a regal and intellectual air; wear lighter purples when you want to project romance and light-spirited fun. Red-purples are passionate and take on more of red’s traits of strength and excitement. These shades will give you an energy boost if you’re feeling tired. 

Wearing purple shows others that you want to be noticed. But it may not be the best color choice if you are wanting to blend in among others, as you go about your business.

Darker purples such as eggplant and burgundy are associated with royalty, and are safe for the workplace. Lighter violets can work as accessory colors.

Lavenders (lighter purples) are loftier in nature and may help you feel more in touch with your spiritual and intuitive side. 

When you need to complete important analytical tasks, violet may not be your best color, as it tends to make some people feel spacey and ungrounded. 

Lavenders, like pink, help to draw out the softer, more feminine sides, in both men and women. YES! This is a good thing!  Masculine and feminine natures coexist in both men and women, and it’s good to keep them in balance. 

If you’re looking to tap into your intuition, reach in your closet for indigo (bluish purple). It’s the color of the third eye chakra, which connects us to our inner guidance.  

Having a creative block? Then consider wearing violet purple. It’s the color of the crown chakra, which helps to connect you to the higher source. Tapping into this chakra will help to get your creative juices flowing again. 
WEARING WHITE: Fresh Outlook & Clarity 
White is pure, clean, safe, and symbolizes new beginnings, completion, and neutrality.

Missing the warm summer on a cold spring day? Then wear white! It reflects light and reminds us of sunnier days. But don’t go overboard. Too much white, especially pure white, can feel clinical, or project coldness and isolation. Also, since white reflects light and all colors, it can be glaring on the eyes. Warm white is more comforting. 

White is a blank canvas. Wearing a white blouse can feel like giving your day a fresh start.

Feeling overwhelmed? Consider wearing white; it sets the tone for harmony and balance, and provides personal solace while reviving weary minds.

White is most effective as part of an ensemble. If you want to accentuate any other colors you're wearing, try adding white. It livens up anything you pair with it. Wear white to feel peaceful, or convey a well-balanced and optimistic nature.

If you have a photo shoot or a TV interview, avoid wearing stark white, as it tends to reflect light on camera.

WEARING BLACK: Powerful & Formal
Black is elegant, sexy, classic, mysterious, and is the ultimate power color. 

Let's face it, black is one of the eternal fashion basics. We all have the basic black suit or black dress slacks that are a must-wear for different business and social settings. Most of us choose to wear black because it goes with everything and is the most forgiving color when traveling.

While white reflects all colors, black absorbs all colors. Since color is energy, black physically drains us faster than any other color. For this reason, black isn’t on the chakra color healing chart. 

I’m not suggesting you ditch your cute little black dress or power suit, because I won’t do it either. But I am suggesting you change it up. If you’re depression-prone and your wardrobe mostly consists of black, add some color, and I mean pronto

Darth Vader-ish, head-to-toe black signals power and authority. This can overwhelm some people. So, if you want to establish rapport with others, add some color. 

It used to be that black was the color of mourning. You only wore black while you were grieving. Thankfully, that trend is over. Most people don't wear black at funerals anymore; it’s just too dreary. In fact, the new trend for funerals is to wear the favorite color of the deceased. My friends Michael and Stephanie recently lost their daughter Bella to an illness. Bella was pure love and as you’d suspect, her favorite color was pink. We were all asked to wear pink at her memorial service. It was incredibly healing to be surrounded by that much pink during such a difficult time. 

WEARING GRAY: Blending in & Neutrality
Gray is practical, timeless, successful, solid, and conservative.

Gray is the marriage between black and white. The blend of black’s power and white’s purity, it’s inherently calm and sophisticated.

Gray is also the color of indecision and uncertainty; it’s neither black nor white. Being in the “gray area” defies direct action. 

Like black, gray is a must-have in everyone’s wardrobe. Also like black, gray absorbs all colors, especially the darker grays. 

Feel like flying under the radar? Slip into something gray. Wearing gray will allow you to keep a low-profile in social settings, if that’s your intention. Gray is subtle without being overly conservative, and elegant yet unassuming. It gives you the ability to keep an office-friendly persona without reverting to black.

WEARING BROWN: Stable & Harmonious
Brown is honest, practical, grounded, and dependable.

Brown is a solid and confident color that provides security, but it’s never the center of attention. In fact, brown doesn’t seek attention or fame at all. It prefers to stay in the background, so other colors can shine.

Wear brown when you want to portray yourself as someone who’s mindful of the environment or of finances. Brown is typically associated with frugality, efficiency, and conservation. Wearing it will show that you value quality above all else, and everything in moderation. From a negative perspective, brown may also give the impression of stinginess.

Brown is the color of the earth. When someone wears brown, we think they’re stable and dependable, like the UPS driver.

When you need to roll up your sleeves and be a team player, brown is your color. While we all agree that black is the easiest color to wear, brown can be just as versatile. Plus, it's a lot less predictable. Brown feels more approachable than black and exudes physical comfort, simplicity, and quality. 

When paired with other hues, brown looks sophisticated, making it a great replacement for your standard issue black.

Denise Turner-masterfully navigates two worlds of color. As an international, award-winning interior designer and colorist, she helps businesses to drive sales with color. As a ColorTherapy expert and Energy Medicine healer, she utilizes color to empower others to heal themselves and their families. Turner is an ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) professional member, Certified Interior Designer, CMG (Color Marketing Group) Board of Director, former ASID chapter president, and UCLA graduate.

Go check out the pre-order section of our website for our upcoming book entitled, COLOR "THERAPY" FOR KIDS

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Color & School: Color and Energy to Promote Learning

By Denise Turner, ASID, CID, CMG

Ask any teacher what influences a child’s ability to learn and you’ll get a variety of responses. Most teachers will cite teaching techniques, parental involvement, and curriculum. But it’s highly unlikely that they will mention color, let alone the colors in their classrooms. 

While color’s impact is often overlooked, it is an inseparable part of our everyday lives. It’s inherent in everything we see and do. In fact, studies in color psychology indicate that color plays a major role in productivity, emotions, communication, and learning. 

Can color help learning? You bet it can! The educational environment is a clear example of how color shapes our behaviors and personal experiences. Plus, a well-designed color palette can enhance the absorption of information and facilitate the thinking process. Color can also help to define a room’s purpose: i.e. whether it is for quiet study, relaxation, or collaboration. 

Color is part of many fields of study, such as color theory, physics, architecture, and art, and it can be established in many ways. The artist, interior designer, architect, physicists, and psychologists all have different approaches to and thoughts regarding the use of color. Interestingly, the artist is closer to the psychologist than you might suspect. 
Psychologist Ulrich Beer describes the far-reaching emotional and psychological effects of color: “Seldom, surely, is the psychological part of an appearance in nature so great as it is in the case of color. No one can encounter it and stay neutral. We are immediately, instinctively, and emotionally moved. We have sympathy or antipathy, pleasure or disapproval within us as soon as we perceive colors” (Beer 1992, p.11).

Unfortunately, when it comes to color choices in the learning environment, cost-cutting and ease of cleaning trump aesthetics. The majority of public school color choices are generally made by well-meaning teachers, administrative and maintenance staff. Many times, colors are selected based on administrators’ personal tastes and not on scientific principles. Schools rarely employ professional consultants. This explains why so many campuses end up falling into ho-hum institutional colors like gray and beige. 
Let’s face it, in recent years, schools have been in the news for some scary events. Schools should convey the feeling of safety and reflect a place that cares about students. 

Why Color Matters
Have you ever wondered why color is one of the first things we learn in school? Why not our phone number or street address? Why not letters and numbers? Why not animals? Here’s why! 

According to the article “Why Colors and Shapes Matter” by Ellen Booth Church, former Associate Professor of Early Childhood at SUNY Farmingdale, we learn about color from such an early age because: color and shape are two very noticeable attributes of the world around us. When you look out your window, you may not be saying it... but your mind is noticing and identifying the green trees, brown rectangle buildings, square windows, and blue sky. Color and shape are ways children observe and categorize what they see. These very recognizable characteristics encourage children to define and organize the diverse world around them.Church also says: “Color is one of the first ways your preschooler makes distinctions among things she sees; color words are some of the first words she uses to describe these things.” 

Studies on emotion and color have demonstrated correlations between color and positive and negative feelings. The 2004 study “Relationship Between Color and Emotion,” conducted by researchers Kaya & Epps on color associations among college students, found the following:
Green- is associated with relaxation and calmness, followed by happiness, comfort, peace, hope, and excitement.
Yellow- is associated with positive, lively, and energetic emotions, as well as with the sun and summertime.
Gray- is associated with negative emotions, including sadness, depression, boredom, confusion, tiredness, loneliness, anger, and fear.

Color Learning Tools
Many children spend most of their day in school, dealing with a black and white world, with few sprinkles of color. Their textbooks, worksheets, and workbooks are printed mostly in black and white, and they use black lead pencil or dark colored pens to complete their assignments. For the analytical, left-brained child, this might be perfectly fine for temporarily focusing on the task at hand. The artistic right-brained child, however, who may see the world primarily in color and pictures, often requires more color for their academic success. 

Here are some simple color tips to help your child learn better, regardless of what side of the brain they favor.

  • If s/he is having difficulty learning sight words, have him or her write them in colored pencils. 
  • If your child isn’t retaining facts using the traditional white flash cards with black ink, try this! Use colored flash cards or write the questions and facts in different colors. Write them in your child’s favorite color.
  • Sometimes kids need other clues to help them memorize. This is where color comes in. Tell them colorful stories and pictures to support the lesson. 
  • Have your child use a colored pencil on math homework. Here’s your job! On a separate sheet of blank paper, model the correct math steps in a colored pencil. Use a different color for each step.
  • For memorizing subjects that can be subdivided, such as the times tables, use a different colored flash card for each set. For example: 1s times tables in red, 2s times tables in green, 3s in blue and so on. Also, dividing big assignments into smaller ones makes them psychologically less daunting. It’s less intimidating, for instance, to memorize say, 12 times tables cards at a time. 
  • For memorizing information, such as spelling words, science terms, or geography terms such as state capitals, your child can make his own study aids. Have him draw a colorful picture to prompt his memory and create a story to go with it. Then, in color, write the facts that need to be memorized on the picture or include them in the story. Your child will enjoy learning and memorizing much more than we did with those painful traditional methods that we endured. Most importantly, he’ll retain the information.
Children with ADD, ADHD or on the autism spectrum tend to be sensitive to color stimuli. You know your child best. So, 
create their learning aids in colors that support, rather than hinder, their learning. For more information that support 
children with these specific needs, please read our article on Color and Autism.  

Denise Turner-masterfully navigates two worlds of color. As an international, award-winning interior designer and colorist, she helps businesses to drive sales with color. As a ColorTherapy expert and Energy Medicine healer, she utilizes color to empower others to heal themselves and their families. Turner is an ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) professional member, Certified Interior Designer, CMG (Color Marketing Group) Board of Director, former ASID chapter president, and UCLA graduate.