Discover What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Medically reviewed by Laura Angers Maddox, NCC, LPC
Updated January 31, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Have you ever wondered why most stop signs are red? Or why colors like orange and yellow can make us feel warm? Color can have a significant impact on the way we think, feel, and act. Depending on the context, it can indicate something about our personality and provide insights into what drives us, how we are feeling, or how we wish to be perceived. The important role color often plays in our lives is the basis of color psychology—a growing area of study that examines the connection between color and human behavior. Below, we’re going to discuss color psychology, its importance, and what your favorite color may say about you. 

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The Psychology Of Color

Color psychology is a study based on the various ways that colors can influence our behavior. It is a relatively new field that is backed by a growing body of scientific research. Color psychology has wide-ranging applications, including in health, advertising, urban design, and a myriad of other arenas. 

In everyday life, hues may seem interesting, but not necessarily important. But research shows that color can have a significant effect on our perceptions, feelings, and behaviors.

Researchers have found that the color of medication impacts how effective patients think it will be. Other studies have analyzed phenomena like which hues have a proven track record of increasing image distribution via social media, how a corporation’s use of blue can increase our trust in it, and how color use in architecture and interior design can impact our mood. 

In reviewing research in the area of color psychology, Andrew Elliot, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, points to "considerable promise in research on color and psychological functioning." Like many others, however, he cautions that while it is an intriguing concept, the study of the relationship between color and psychology is still in the developmental stages. It may be hard to prove how your favorite color affects you and your personality, but this doesn’t mean there isn’t a link. 

One important aspect of color psychology is that any analysis of color is going to depend on the context in which it is presented. For example, in many Western cultures, brides wear white as a sign of innocence and purity; but in some Eastern cultures, white is associated with death and mourning. Brides in those regions would more likely select outfits in a brilliant red. 

Marketers often use color to help influence behavior in consumers. Businesses have routinely based their choice of brand colors on how they want to be perceived as a company. They tend to rely on studies that look at how our preference for and response to a particular color can be used as a way to produce varying responses in humans. For example, fast-food restaurants often use red-and-yellow color schemes because they’re thought to induce hunger.  

In marketing, the color green is typically used with natural, clean products. Similarly, the color blue can represent water, purity, and cleanliness, while black is often associated with darkness, edginess, and an element of mystery.

In general, we tend to associate shades of blue, green, and purple with being cool and inviting. These shades can convey a sense of professionalism and help those viewing them feel more confident in the efficacy of an organization. On the other hand, shades of warmer colors like red, orange, and yellow suggest creativity and are often associated with high energy and intense emotions, such as love and anger. Yellow is one of the most commonly used colors in marketing, as it feels warm, happy, and energetic. 

The neutral shades are white, black, brown, and gray. Neutral hues each carry their broad meaning, with white typically referencing openness and black giving off a sense of power. Gray tones most often come across as smooth and modern, which is why this is a common home shade. On the other hand, brown is frequently associated with down-to-earth traits and a sense of certainty.

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Certain colors can evoke specific emotions and prompt strong reactions. Because of this, the colors you surround yourself with may send a signal to others about your personality, what you value, and how you behave. Black

The color black can indicate power, creativity, elegance, and sexuality. Black is frequently worn to suggest a person’s nature as independent, strong, and sophisticated. In some cultures, black is also worn during periods of mourning. If black is your preference, you may like how it makes you feel powerful and mysterious.

White

White often signals purity, birth, and innocence. Preferring white can also mean that you are organized, independent, and logical. Bare and bright, white can make you feel clean, fresh, and open to opportunities. 

Red

Red often symbolizes intense desire and aggression. If your favorite color is red, you may be someone who is driven, adventurous, and active. To some, red can feel angry or hostile; for others, though, it is used to represent love and romance. 

Purple

Purple is a favorite color for many. This hue's association with luxury goes far back in history as purple was often used to symbolize prosperity or royalty. If you favor the color purple, you may be ambitious, with a solid sense of self-worth and individuality.

Pink

Those who prefer pink typically have no trouble expressing themselves. Pink is often tied to tenderness, hopefulness, and virtue. If you tend to surround yourself with pink hues, you may be joyful, kind, and honest. 

Orange

If your favorite color is orange, you may be a social person with a vibrant personality, as this shade can represent energy, warmth, and enthusiasm. Orange is typically seen as a happy color, often associated with sunshine and the spring season. If your preference is orange, you may blend the characteristics associated with the colors red and yellow. 

Blue

The most popular favorite color, blue symbolizes peace and tranquility. This may be why blue is commonly used as wall paint in bedrooms. If your preference is blue, you could be perceived as a calm, trustworthy, and loyal person. Blue is thought to promote unity and safety. 

Green

Often associated with finance and money, green can also represent nature and signal good luck, fertility, and rebirth. If you prefer the color green, others may view you as loyal, composed, and independent.

Yellow

If you love yellow, you may be an energetic and happy person. Yellow is associated with optimism, intelligence, and creativity. It can signal a fun-loving personality and a warm spirit. 

Gray

Often, gray is perceived as chic, modern, and stylish. If your favorite color is gray, you may enjoy neutral tones because they don’t draw too much attention to you. Gray can indicate a balanced, intelligent personality.  

Brown

Brown is a natural color that represents earthy and organic materials. If your preference is brown, you may be drawn to nature or enjoy a simpler way of living. An attraction to the color brown may also imply that you enjoy certainty in life.

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How Can You Use Color To Your Advantage?

You will likely use the colors that appeal to you most in a wide variety of ways. Surrounding yourself with colors that positively affect you can help you feel more comfortable and confident in life. It is suggested, however, that to achieve balance, you make a conscious effort to incorporate small samples of colors you are not so fond of in the color scheme of your life. 

Exploring Your Psyche In Online Therapy

A growing number of studies show that online therapy can help individuals explore psychology-related topics and improve mental health concerns. In one broad-based systematic review of psychological interventions, which included over 40 studies, researchers found that online cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective treatment method, specifically mentioning its ability to help bridge the treatment gap that often exists in mental health care. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a widely utilized treatment method that can help individuals understand how certain psychological processes affect their behavior and emotions. 

If you wish to learn more about yourself and what your preferences for colors suggest about your character, consider getting matched with a qualified therapist online through BetterHelp. BetterHelp works with thousands of mental health professionals—including psychologists—so you’ll have a good chance of matching with someone who can help you explore psychology-related topics that are relevant to your life. Online therapy is also an affordable option—BetterHelp subscriptions start at $60 per week (billed every 4 weeks), and you can cancel anytime. 

Takeaway

Color psychology is a fascinating field that has implications regarding our behavior, desires, and personalities. Our responses to color help illustrate the extent to which psychological processes occur without our knowledge of them. If you’d like to learn more about your psyche, consider connecting with a mental health professional online. A licensed therapist can help you better understand psychology and how even everyday things—like color—can have a significant effect on your life. 

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