colors to communicate

How to Use Colors to Communicate

When you need to communicate, colors can be a great tool. You can use them to make a statement or to have a psychological effect. Get your feelings out by taking advantage of the powerful representations of color.

The importance of acknowledging your feelings

It is important to recognize your emotions. Therefore, don’t try to suppress your feelings. You need to recognize them and accept them. Above all, if you hold down your feelings, they will grow like a snowball. Then it will be harder to interpret them.

The use of colors to communicate is a great tool because you don’t need to put words to your feelings. You just have to listen to yourself, and later, explore your feelings with the use of colors.

There are two main ways you can do this. The first one is by using colors in a nonrepresentational form. You can read everything about this method here.

The second one is by using the psychological effect of colors. This means that you can use colors either to evoke or express feelings. So when you don’t know how to express your anger, frustration, happiness, or excitement, choose colors. Also, when you want to highlight your motivation use colors! Let’s look at these two concepts in detail.

How can colors affect your perceptions:

  1. Colors to express feelings
  2. Colors to evoke feelings.
use colors to communicate
Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

1. Colors to express feelings

When you want to express something in detail, the use of colors to communicate can help you make a stronger statement. You can have a clearer picture of what is going on in your head by helping you express your feelings.

Think about the association of feelings with colors. Look at the following list which will help you determine the color you want to choose. It will also help you highlight the feeling you want to express.

  • Compassionate: pink
  • Elegant: black
  • Emotional: orange
  • Energetic: red
  • Happy: yellow
  • Optimistic: orange, yellow
  • Passionate: red
  • Practical: grey
  • Protective: black
  • Responsible: blue
  • Safe: green

Look at this poster with all the emotions associated with colors. It’s a great piece to have in your house whenever you want to express something!

2. Colors to evoke feelings

Colors influence judgments. If you don’t know the word for a particular feeling, consider choosing first the color. Pick a color because you feel like it. You can interpret it later, or you can start feeling something because of the color you chose.

Below is a list of some colors and the feelings associated with them. Remember, you can choose the color to communicate, and you can discover more in the process.

red to motivate

RED: Motivates, stimulates.

Common things: red carpet, love, lips, blood, and strawberries.

yellow to clarify

Yellow: clarifies, inspires.

Common things: the sun, raincoat, school bus, yellow pages, and bananas.

blue to relax

Blue: relaxes, supports.

Common things: ice, ocean, and the sky.

communicate with green

Green: balances, relaxes.

Common things: clover (luck), emeralds, nature, and trees.

Orange: stimulates, encourages.

Common things: basketball, traffic cone, life vests, prescription bottles.

Orange is the happiest color.

Frank Sinatra
pink for comfort

Pink: nurtures, comforts.

Common things: ballet, cotton candy, piglets, and flamingos.

grey to communicate

Grey: soothes, stabilizes.

Common things: fog, silver, dust, granite, wolves, and mice.

black intimidates

Black: seduces, intimidates.

Common things: bats, black holes, pirates, charcoal, and black panthers.

white to communicate

White: simplifies, purifies.

Common things: paper, snow, cotton, clouds.

How to use colors to communicate

You might probably choose red and paint with strong strokes to express your anger on a piece of paper. This way, you are making a statement and highlighting that which you are feeling inside.

With this process, you might discover where the anger is coming from. Hence, you might associate that anger with sadness. Later, you might look for a color that represents this feeling, for example, blue. With this process, you will have a clearer picture of your feelings.

If everything was clear from the beginning, you can also find how to resolve or accept that feeling. The colors you used to communicate were a tool to have a clearer path or to accept the feeling. You have to acknowledge the feeling for you to learn from it.

Consider not only the color but also its shade

For instance, think about your feelings towards dark green versus pale green. For example, look at the following image. The background is light green and the plant has a darker shade of green. Do you feel the same towards both colors?

green shades
Photo by Runze She on Unsplash

Think about whether or not the light green gives you a sense of calmness. Also, consider if perhaps the darker green is more encouraging.

Why is this property so powerful to help you express your feelings?

Brighter colors are energetic while darker are relaxed. Saturation also diminishes the sense of comfort. For instance, light green is more comfortable and suited for a relaxed state than dark green.

Examples to use colors to communicate

Stressed: blue and green

I was feeling stressed so I decided to express myself with colors. I chose blue mixed with green. Blue because it creates calmness, and green because it relaxes.

green and blue to express
Green and Blue to Relieve Stress by Sepia Flora

Towards the middle, you can see my frustration. Notice how the shade changes there. Also, think about how you can play with the shades to relieve or highlight some feelings.

After the exercise, I came to realize where my stress was coming from. While I was making the strokes I wanted to draw more and more in the middle. I wanted to have some relief from the frustration. Consequently, I noticed I was overwhelmed by my job. With a lot of things to do, I can see now that I need to organize them better. I need to break down my tasks and work on them one by one.

Compassion: pink and yellow

With the second drawing, I decided to show compassion to my loved ones. Compassion because my family is going through a difficult time. I also wanted to express positivity, that all things will pass. We don’t control the outcome, but we can choose the way we face adversities.

Pink and Yellow for Compassion by Sepia Flora

For this reason, I chose pink combined with yellow. Above all, I am feeling enthusiastic and I believe that we can see life’s experiences as opportunities for growth.

Don’t hold on to your feelings, explode, and show what you feel. Either to yourself (choose colors to communicate with just feelings, don’t think!) or to others (consider what certain colors evoke).

Remember that colors are very powerful. For instance, if you want to make a statement, consider the feelings they evoke. If you want to communicate your feelings, express choosing the right color and shade.

Cherish the experience and express what is inside you. Therefore, take advantage of the way colors evoke your feelings.

Do you think when using colors? How do you evoke your feelings? Do you have any associations with any colors in particular? How do you choose which colors to wear or paint with? Leave your comments below.

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