Color Me Crazy: An Exploration into Psychology and Color Theory Part 3

In the last two weeks we have taken an in-depth look into the ways in which color shapes our subconscious ideas about the world around us. Companies use these strategies every day to peak our interests in certain areas or make us feel a specific emotion in relation to a product they sell. There is one extra step they can take, however, to ensure consumers get the message. Angela Wright, an expert in color theory and psychology, has published a plethora of work on the idea that different shades of a color will fall into different “color families.” Each combination of colors, as opposed to their power alone, is the most important factor when trying to convey a certain feeling or emotion. Just like a photograph of the sky will look different at dawn or dusk, different combinations of colors and different shades within the colors shown are extremely important when it comes to the psychology of color. Whether you’re trying to update your home office or rebrand your business, we’ll walk through ways to pair color for the best outcome for you.

Morninglight Personality (Spring Colors)

The first type of personality Wright recognizes is Morninglight personality. This is best used for companies, products, and people with youthful, playful characteristics. Morninglight personality is distinctively lively and light. People who fall in this personality type tend to be clever, but they can often have too many projects going at once and can be deemed frivolous or flighty. Their bubbly, lively tendencies lend them to spring-like colors with yellow undertones. These colors bring out the best in companies who focus on newness and rebirth; think marketing agencies and children’s stores. For Morninglight people, using bright, highly saturated colors and as little black as possible is sure to raise your spirits so you can kick it into high gear. If happiness and newness are important to you or your brand, stick with morning light personalities. Bright purple, green, blue, yellow, and peach colors compliment this personality best.

Dreamlight Personality (Summer Colors)

Summer is often attributed as the lightest, brightest season. However, when looking to nature for inspiration, this isn’t true. Yes, the sun may be brighter, but because of the increasing sunlight, colors tend to wash out a bit more. Softened, cooler colors with hints of blue and gray lend most effectively to this color family’s sense of calm, classic elegance rooted in relaxation. They rarely hit the extremes of the light yellows and dark blacks seen in their counterpart, Starlight Personality, which we will cover later. People who exude Dreamlight Personality are those with sensitive and collected personas. They are typically clever, but may have a hard time demonstrating humor and can sometimes seem aloof. These colors are useful in businesses in which a calming atmosphere is beneficial. Some include government work, luxury brands, and upscale clothing lines. As we mentioned, colors with blue and gray undertones work best here. From deep navy and to pale pink, dark blonde to pistachio green, any color with a demure tone should be useable.

Firelight Personality (Autumn Colors)

This personality type relates directly to the vibrance of colors experienced in autumn. Yellow, bright undertones are common, and these colors in this family should pack more punch than in any other. Think of Firelight as Morninglight Personality 2.0. Bright, punchy sunset colors are abundant in this group and while black is used in mixing colors to darken them and create a more vibrant tone, black itself does not belong in this color family. Tones can convey a sense of strength and intensity, but can be linked to bossiness or predictability if used in the wrong vein. Companies who should showcase Firelight Personality have a wide range. Anything from sports management and construction to food production and department stores can benefit from the use of firelight colors. They are typically the most universal and any long-standing industry can utilize the powerful nature of this color family. Bright oranges, reds, and yellows are the obvious choice for this color family, but shamrock greens, royal blues, and orchid purples fit the Firelight Personality type as well.

Starlight Personality (Winter Colors)

The last personality type relates back to the Dreamlight Personality type. Commanding, clear, and strong, the Starlight Personality contains blue undertones, but unlike its mid-range counterpart, Starlight tones hit only the extremes of very light and very dark. Goal-oriented, motivated people tend to like this achromatic, contrast-heavy color family. Problems occur for Starlight Personalities when they appear to uncaring or elitist. In advertising, these colors are useful for anything of high quality or glamour. State-of-the-art technology companies and chic jewelry lines could benefit from colors in the Starlight family. Contrast is key here, so pairing midnight blue and ice blue or hot pink and an intense sea foam green are classic Starlight color combinations.

Which color family speaks to you or your business? In any message you are trying to convey, you are sure to find a winning combination in one of these personality types. If you are a firelight personality, revamp your home office with a gold accent wall and orchid-colored desk decorations. If you are in the spa business, painting your walls a wolf gray from the Dreamlight color family will help create a relaxing atmosphere your clients will love. Whatever your taste, whatever the idea, these color families will help you push it to the forefront in any design project.