Environmental psychologist Sally Augustin, Ph.D., teaches individuals and businesses how to use color to help them achieve their goals. Whether you’re a supervisor looking to renovate your store, or a manager deciding what color to paint the office, color psychology can help us in our pursuits for success.
According to Augustin, the color of a wall can actually influence the way a person perceives temperature. For instance, cool colors like blue, green, and light purple have a tendency to make us believe it is colder, while warmer colors such as yellow, red, and orange can cause us to think it is warmer. Business owners can use this philosophy to their advantage by saving on heating and cooling costs. If you are based in a colder environment, painting a waiting room a warm color might cause others to think it is a few degrees warmer than it really is. While you should always keep your thermostat at a reasonable and safe temperature, it may still allow you to keep the temperature a few degrees lower.
The color green has been linked to broader thinking and creativity! I LOVE creative writing, so maybe this is one of the reasons I love this color? According to Augustin, “There is a positive association between nature and regrowth” when it comes to the color green. Likewise, Augustin argues that painting a work area green could help your employees be more productive.
Did you know that red sports cost more to insure? Forbes.com contributor Amy Morin writes, “When humans see the color red, their reactions become faster and more forceful”. Yet, this burst of energy, though powerful, is only momentary and red ultimately reduces our analytic thinking.
University of Rochester psychology professor Andrew Elliot maintains that “athletes are more likely to lose when they compete against an opponent wearing red, and students exposed to red before a test are likely to perform worse”.
Red has long been connected with concentration difficulties and feelings of defeat due to our memories of teachers using red pen to mark up our papers and tests.
While yellow usually isn’t a popular color, research surveys have shown the color blue to be the most preferred color among large groups. Historically, when our ancestors saw the color blue like a clear blue sky or a watering hole, it was a good sign. Painting an office building blue, therefore, is “likely to satisfy the majority of the people”.
What colors can you incorporate in your office to encourage excellence in others?
Click the link below to be redirected to the webpage for Sally Augustin’s business, Design with Science:
Click the link below to watch a PBS segment on the psychology of color in our business and personal lives: