Colours can have an instant impact, but they can also affect us in more subtle ways.
Red is well known as an appetite enhancer (KFC and McDonalds might be onto something!), making it an ideal choice for restaurants and fast food outlets, but if you want to turn people off their food, use purple, mauve or black.
Yellow stimulates the mind, making it a perfect choice for call centres or workplaces where people need to stay alert. Yellow can also work well in schools and study areas, as it aids concentration.
Shades of orange and yellow can also be used to lift the spirits and cheer up patients in hospitals, while bright orange is said to lessen emotional shock – making it an excellent hue for emergency rooms.
Shades of pink and peach tend to calm people down, making them ideal colours for prisons, hospital waiting rooms and counseling centres. Some US prisons have even tried painting cells pink, and as a result, noticed less aggression*.
Blue can also calm the mind and reduce stress, but day in day out, some people can find blue a depressing colour – especially if a person’s spirits or energy levels are already low.
Shades of turquoise and aqua, on the other hand, are creative, invigorating colours, making them ideal for media industries and design-related professions. As they aid communication, they can also be a great choice for boardrooms and conference centres.
Green is the colour of balance and growth, making it ideal for health industries, mediation rooms and legal offices. It can also help patients to heal, making it a perfect colour for rehab centres.
*In 1979, directors of a Naval correctional centre in Seattle, US, painted some prison confinement cells pink in order to determine the effects this might have on prisoners. The rates of assault before and after the interior was painted pink were then monitored.
According to the Navy’s report, “Since the initiation of this procedure, there have been no incidents of erratic or hostile behavior during the initial phase of confinement”. Only fifteen minutes of exposure was enough to ensure that the potential for violent or aggressive behavior had been reduced, the report observed.
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