The psychology of colour and how a colourful silk scarf can dramatically change our moods

The world is a colourful place and whether you notice it or not, colour has an huge impact on our lives and makes us feel a certain way, through the clothing we wear, the accessories we buy, the colour we paint our walls at home and in work. Artists have long believed that colour can dramatically affect our moods, feelings and emotions and is a powerful communication tool, making us feel happy or sad, energetic or lethargic, hungry or relaxed.

Colour has now become a hot topic in the world of marketing art and design and now plays a huge role in brand identity, drawing consumers to certain products again and again, stirring and playing with their emotions and has an enormous impact on brand recognition. Some colours are strongly linked to particular brands like red in the McDonalds and Coca Cola, and this can have a significant impact on a person’s colour preferences.


According to colour science researchers, our perception of colours is located in the most primitive part of our brain and that our experience of colour is closely linked to our feelings and our subconscious. However people respond to the colours in different ways and it is important to remember the psychology behind colour, depends on many different factors. 

Past and present experiences, cultural influences, personal taste and other factors can all impact how a person feels about a particular colour. Our feelings about colour are often deeply personal and rooted in your own experiences. Even a traditionally happy colour like yellow can have negative connotations if it’s connected to an unhappy memory. Most colours have both positive and negative associations and our response to colour could depend entirely on how one is feeling that day. In some cases, colour perception is different for men and women as some colours are traditionally seen as masculine or feminine.

Colours can mean different things in different cultures and a colour that is regarded as positive in the Europe might be looked down upon in other parts of the world. Red, the most popular colour in our lives, has many different meanings throughout the world. We link it with love and passion and celebrate Valentines day with an abundance of red love hearts. However in China red symbolised good fortune and India the colour red as the symbol of fertility and marriage. Black is a colour worn by everyone whatever the occasion and can be a sign of elegance and sophistication, however it can also have connections with evil, grief, magic and bad luck. It is also the traditional colour to wear at funerals.

In America and Ireland we celebrate green as a symbol of luck and prosperity, while in Mexico green is their colour of independence and is incorporated into their national flag. In China, if a man wears a green hat, it can mean that his wife cheated on him while in Islamic culture, green is the sacred colour of the prophet Muhammad and the Quran, used to describe paradise as a place full of green cushions and carpets of beauty. 

For most of us blue connects us with freedom , trust, safety and cleanliness. Blue is also a colour of Krishna’s skin in Hinduism. However in Greece and Turkey they offer blue eye souvenirs to ward off evil. In Catholic culture purple has a lot of uses and meanings, it is a symbol of faith, penitence and mourning and priests wear purple robes during Good Friday mass to symbolise the mourning of Christ’s death. While in America, purple symbolises courage, bravery and strength and is the colour of the oldest military award given to the soldiers to this day.

There are four primary colours that affect us most - green, yellow, red and blue. They are often divided into warm (red, orange and yellow) and cold colours (lilac, blue and green). Their different properties evoke specific feelings and contribute to creating a particular atmosphere in rooms and other living environments.

Colours in the red spectrum are known as warm colours and include red, yellow and orange. Red is often used in restaurant decorating schemes because it is an appetite stimulant. It is the warmest emotionally charged and intense colour of the spectrum. The colour of love that evokes a wide range of strong emotional energy and passion, warmth and comfort, happiness and optimism. Red leaves nobody cold. You can love or hate, but it is hard to stay indifferent to red. There are also negative associations with red, for example, the phrase ‘seeing red’ is linked to anger, while red can also signify danger or a warning to induce rage and panic. Red is a colour that quickly gets our attention and makes our heart beat faster. Care must be taken with the amount of red used as it can often take over and quickly dominate.

Love Red

Red is for passionate sophistication, stylish and confident

Yellow is known as one of the happiest energetic colours associated with cheerful optimism, laughter, hope and sunshine. It’s a fun colour that attracts attention, so it’s the sort of colour an outgoing person would wear. It retains alertness and promotes concentration, increases blood pressure, accelerates pulse and breathing rate and has a positive effect on our nervous system. It’s a colour that captures our attention and is said to sharpen our memory and thinking, so it’s a great colour to use in a workplace, associated with the intellect, creative or brainstorming sessions. It is a colour that gets people talking.

Wear yellow and #behappy

Let the colour wrap you in sunshine

Orange is a warm, fun, autumnal colour combination of yellow and red and it shares many of the positive associations enjoyed by those colours. While yellow makes you think of the sun, orange is the colour of sunrises and sunsets, also delicious fruits such as apricots, mandarins, oranges. Orange enhances our feelings of vitality and happiness and portrays inviting friendly energy.

Positive vibes

Orange enhances feelings of vitality and happiness

Whereas Red can sometimes come across as being aggressive and harsh, pink is softer can represent innocence, and loud pink can evoke ideas of sexiness, boldness, raunchiness. Pink, a derivative of red mixed with white, can be associated with love, happiness, stimulating compassion kindness and femininity and can also be deemed a calming colour. Pink makes you think of summer flowers while hot pink is vivacious and joyous and worn by a person full of life vitality, energy and a passion for life. Pink will arouse memories of Valentines and Mothers day.

Pink for people with a passion for life

Energetic and vivacious

Cold Colours 

Colours in the blue spectrum are known as cool colours and include blue, purple, and green. Blue is a non-threatening relaxing colour and its association with the sea and the skyline.They say it is the colour of peace and rest with psychological associations with clarity, freshness, light, transparency, airy, distant, quiet. A lot of health and beauty products would use blue to display health and youthful beauty. Seeing the colour blue causes the body to create chemicals that are calming. It is believed that we're more productive in blue rooms since blue evokes a feeling of calm. After all, we focus more easily when we're relaxed and that boosts our productivity. Dark blues are great for corporate designs because it develops a professional feel. Light blues give a more relaxing, friendly feel. Great examples are social sites like Facebook and Twitter who use blue. Often described as calming and soothing however we often times are “feeling blue” which also derives from feelings of sadness or indifferen

Blue is the new you

Feel relaxed calm and comfortable in blue

Purple is associated with creativity, royalty, wealth, sophistication and loyalty. It is a feminine romantic mysterious colour, hence why it is used in beauty products. Purple is a colour that doesn’t occur much in nature, so it can be seen to be exotic, mysterious and even spiritual. It’s thought to be a sign of luxury, quality and creativity.

Exotic and luxurious

wrap yourself in sheer sophistication

Green is a harmonious colour that we associate with nature, health, youth, security and environmental awareness. It can make you feel more at one with the world, connecting you with refreshing soothing stress relieving properties. People wait in TV "green rooms" to relax before going on a TV show. Green can help cure hysteria and nervous fatigue, has a calming influence on nervous system and is effective for depression. However there are also less positive links to green like jealousy, thanks to the phrase ‘green with envy’, which is the feeling you get when someone else has all the things you want and it also has connections with wealth and greed.

Calming and stylish

Positivity comes in the colour green

Other interesting colours include Black, the colour of authority and power. It is popular in fashion because it makes people appear thinner. It is also stylish and timeless colour however it can also  take on the appearance of submission. Priests wear black to signify submission to God or women wearing black can imply a submission to men. Black outfits can be overpowering or make the wearer seem aloof or evil such as villains like Dracula who often wear black.

Chic is black

Raunchiness and sexy

White is the colour for brides to symbolise innocence and purity. White reflects light and is considered a summer colour. Some see white as calming and serene colour, while for others may think it stark, cold and clinical, associated with hospitals. Doctors and nurses wear white to imply sterility. Either way it is clear that colour plays a huge part in our lives. It impacts on our moods, feelings and behaviours. What I do know is that without colour in our lives, the world would be a very sad place. So why not brighten up your day with the prefect colourful accessory, the silk scarf and add that pop of essential colour to your day, your outfit, your mood and make it your every day style essential.

The silk scarf is the perfect complexion booster and mood enhancer. When you wear one of the silk scarves form the DM collection you literally will feel a million dollars. Choose a colour to boost your skin tone, a colour that is significant to you and one that you know will enhance your mood, help you feel confident, sophisticated and beautiful. Remember silk is for everyday, from morning , noon until night , its an all rounder. Your silk scarf literally can take you to work and back , to the the tennis court for that all important match and out for evening drinks. Dressed up or down it will go with whatever the occasion. My tip for today is never leave home without your silk scarf. Make it your handbag essential.

Debbie Millington