Understanding yourself: What your favorite color means

Medically reviewed by Laura Angers Maddox
Updated January 23, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Color can have a significant impact on the way you think, feel, and act. This article explores what your favorite color says about you, and what having this favorite color might mean. Your favorite color can reveal a lot about your personality. 

Your favorite color, be it yellow, light blue, or green, can reveal your strong desire for a stable and simple life or your vivid imagination and artistic aptitude. The important role color preferences often play in our lives is the basis of color psychology. Below, we’re going to discuss color psychology, its importance, and what your choice may say about you.

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The Psychology Of Your Favorite 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. However, research shows that colors 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 colors and psychological functioning." Like many others, however, he cautions that while it is an intriguing concept, the study of the relationship between colors 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 or that you should turn a blind eye to it. 

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, revealing their color preference.

Marketers often use colors 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 schemes because they’re thought to induce hunger.

In marketing, green is typically used with natural, clean products, making people who love green feel connected to fresh air and inner peace. Similarly, blue can represent water, purity, and cleanliness, while black is often associated with darkness, edginess, and an element of mystery. These colors may reflect multiple points of one's personality, including negative traits, emotional safety, or problem-solving abilities.

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 creative expression and are often associated with high energy and strong 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 on the wheel 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, which could be why some people say they like this color best. 

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What’s Your Favorite Color?

Some people have a preference for warm colors, others for cool colors. Many people decide which color they like best at an early age, which can impact color personality.

Different 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. Here are some color meanings connected to your favorite colors.

Black

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

Purple

Purple is a popular one 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 purple, you may be ambitious, with a solid sense of self-worth and individuality. It may come as a surprise that a pretty color like purple is the rarest favorite color on a global scale. Though extremely popular with children, and in the US, this color is one of the least popular around the world. 

Pink

Those who like pink the best typically have no trouble expressing themselves, and may march to the beat of their own drum. 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 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/Light Blue

As the most popular favorite color, blue symbolizes peace and tranquility. This may be why blue is commonly used as a popular color for wall paint in bedrooms. If your preference is the color blue, you could be perceived as a calm, trustworthy, loyal, reliable person and a great friend. Blue is thought to promote unity and safety. In some cases, blue may be connected to symbolism for people who love the ocean or the sky.

Green

Often associated with finance and money, green can also represent nature, signal good luck, fertility, and rebirth, as well as embody physical fulfillment. If you prefer green, others may view you as loyal, composed, and independent, with a strong connection to personal well-being and a balanced lifestyle. The green color is sometimes connected to trees, forests, nature, and other green symbolism, as well.

Yellow

If you love yellow, you may be an energetic and happy person. In personality color, yellow is associated with optimism, intelligence, and creativity. It can signal a fun-loving personality and a warm spirit who is generous to their friends. 

Gray

Often, gray is perceived as chic, modern, and stylish. If your favorite is gray, you may enjoy neutral tones because they don’t draw too much attention to you. Gray can indicate a balanced, intelligent personality who is a good problem solver. In some cases, grey is associated with technology, social media, and modern solutions.

Brown

Brown is a natural color that represents earthy and organic materials. If your favorite 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 and have little patience for negative thoughts.

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How Can You Use This To Your Advantage?

You will likely use the colors that appeal to you most in a wide variety of ways. Surrounding yourself with more 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 other color, even small samples of colors and different shades 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, improve mental health concerns, and cultivate unconditional love for themselves. In one big picture 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, emotions, and even their affinity for material things.

If you wish to learn more about yourself and what your preferences for certain colors suggest about your good natured 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, such as understanding other colors and their impact. Online therapy is also an affordable option—BetterHelp subscriptions start at $65 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 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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