The Psychology Behind Colors


– Hey, what’s up guys? Kris Truini here for
Kriscoart Productions. Today we are breaking down the psychology behind individual colors. (funky post rock music) Color can be a means of an expression, but it all started as
a factor of survival. Flowers use color that
humans can’t even perceive to attract certain
insects for pollination. And some insects even use color
to warn a potential predator of defensive toxins. So if color plays such a vital role in some of the smaller organisms in life, imagine how it affects us humans. We respond to color neurologically, biochemically, and psychologically. And although there’s still a
lot of mystery and complexity surrounding color, we can use what we do know to tell better and more powerful visual stories. Now before jumping into
the meaning of colors, I really wanna think Skillshare for making this video possible. Skillshare is an online
learning community for creators with more than 15,000 classes in design, photo, filmmaking, and more. Everyone can take a class, try a project, and even teach a class themselves. Premium membership begins
only at around $10 a month for unlimited access to learning. So let’s jump right in and let’s start with the most striking color of them all. The red within our bodies gives us life, but if it escapes us
it can also mean death. Red has this duality to
its various meanings, and it’s almost always
connected to an extreme emotion. This is probably because red
is internalized in humans by radiant energy of specific wavelengths, and this increases muscle
tone, our breathing, and even our blood pressure. So that still sounds crazy to me, but that is a prime example of how we can use color to our advantage. And maybe splashing a
little red in your scene might not be enough on its own, but if you combine it with
a powerful line of dialogue, with a certain action or
a certain environment, it could tremendously add to your story. So just as any other color, your audience’s cultural
background will definitely affect how they internalize that color, but here are some of the common things that are associated with red. Passion, danger, anger, excitement, vengeance, war, and I can go on. So of course there are
a ton of other meanings, but you don’t even have to
be limited by those meanings, you can make up your own. For example, danger and an omen for death in The Godfather was orange. And actually like an actual orange. (gun firing) So it could be that color rather than red. And this was even used in Children of Men. So you can see how
meanings are not fixated to particular colors. So aside from specific meanings, color, and in particular red, can be used to draw attention to a
specific part of your scene or a composition. This is called adding graphic weight, and this can be used very extensively and very effectively
in certain compositions to really fine tune and
draw in your audiences’ eyes to a certain portion or
element in your shot. (upbeat jazz music) So orange. Now to start off I want to quote one of my favorite nonfiction
books, The Book of Symbols. Orange extends into the realm of gold, the incorruptible and everlasting, and into the realm of blood, vigorous, active and mutable. Really really can’t
recommend this book enough, it is so great. And of course it doesn’t
just cover colors. As the title suggests,
it pretty much covers anything that could be a symbol. So I’ll leave a link to
it in the description. It is an Amazon affiliate link, so if you do purchase the
book through that link, it also helps me out a bit. So this quote could be a little
too philosophical for you, but it just shows the
range that colors can have, and this can inspire you
to associate certain colors to certain parts of your story just because of qualities or common traits that are attached to those colors. Now a common image associated with orange is the rise and the set of the sun. I’m mentioning these things
just to get you thinking of imagery that could help you give a certain meaning to the
colors of your story. So some common things that
are associated with orange are warmth, detention,
warning, protection, growth, and like I mentioned
before, life and death. So again we can see how the same color can portray both negative
and positive associations. So it could be an orange
of a warm glow of sunlight coming in through a window, or it could be fiery tones of
a wildfire or a nuclear blast. So we mentioned how yellow
can be associated with gold and the everlasting. And remember how I said
that our cultural background affects the way that we interpret color? Well traditional Chinese
color links yellow to the most valuable things in life. In fact during the Qing dynasty, the emperor was the only one allowed to wear yellow clothing. So maybe you don’t have
to pitch your movie to a Chinese audience, and
this might not matter to you, but again just take notice
how the meaning of color can shift just based on geography alone. So the Western culture can
see, like we mentioned, yellow as gold, or as the divine. And interestingly enough,
the Islamic culture actually has two different meanings depending on how saturated
the color yellow is. So if you have a very vibrant yellow, that could mean wisdom. But if it’s more of a pale yellow or a desaturated tone of yellow, that could mean betrayal. So I could go on, but one thing in common that all humans have with yellow is that it is the most visible to us. So we can see yellow from
a greater distance than any other color. So this is probably why
most road signs are yellow. But here are some other common things associated with this color. Aging, value, warning, power, enlightenment, and success. Also for some reason, babies tend to cry when they see yellow. So you know how red
increases blood pressure and is pretty much just a
wake-up call for your body? Well green does the exact opposite. It actually relaxes you. It dilates your capillaries. Capillaries. That’s a weird word to say. So green has this sort
of calming quality to it, and is typically obviously
associated with nature since it’s so prevalent in nature. But on the flip side it can also represent something manmade
such as wealth and money. So again we can see how
there is opposite meanings to the same color. It can be used to show a
peaceful, luscious green field, or it can be sickly tint
of the fluorescent tubes illuminating our mundane office space. So a few other things
that are tied to green are growth, awakening, sickness, decay, good luck, jealousy, and envy. So onto my favorite color, blue. Unlike green, blue can
be rarely found in nature other than the sky and bodies of water. And it does have some calming qualities, so it’s very similar
to green in that sense. And we even release calming
chemicals when we do see blue, so that could explain why we see blue in a
lot of hospital rooms. So there’s no surprise
that tranquility, harmony, faith, and loyalty are some of the things associated with blue. And other meanings can
include spirituality, fulfillment, stability, technology, sadness, and cleanliness. Purple, for a very long time, has been associated with
the high class and royalty. In fact, a color that Romans
used to like back in the day is a shade of purple called Tyrian purple. And of course this color was
exclusively worn by the rich. So purple can show wealth and royalty, nobility, power, wisdom, but also arrogance or eroticness. Brown is another one of those colors that are commonly found in nature. You know, dirt, the ground,
the bark on the trees, mud, poop, and the decomposition are common things that can
come to mind with brown. You can use browns as earthly
tones in your color scheme to show maybe simplicity, or home, earth, comfort, even dirtiness
or just the outdoors. So although it’s not technically a color since it is the absence of all color, we should still talk about black. This fact about black
can be used to represent the deep abyss of the human subconscious, as was done by Storaro in Apocalypse Now. Black can represent the unknown, from the immensity of space to an unsettling unlit room behind a door. Black, again, can be used to show power. It can be used to show
sophistication and elegance, but also mystery and fear and remorse. So moving from the absence of color, let’s put all of the colors together and let’s talk about white. Visually you can use white in many ways. Going back into the example
of the consciousness, we can use white to give a
sense of clarity and reflection. This idea can be noticed in The Matrix when Neo finds himself
surrounded by white, which could note his
consciousness awakening. So white can evoke this
feeling of endlessness in that kind of way. And other meanings
associated with white are purity, innocence and youth, winter, birth, and sterility. So again I can ramble
on about color forever. There’s so much more to talk about, and it really is a world in its own. And if this video didn’t
satisfy your color appetite, check out last week’s video, we talked about colors some more and just color schemes
and all that fun stuff. And also check out my lighting series. I started that, and it talks about color in terms of lighting. And again, I really recommend
The Book of Symbols. Not sponsored by them in any way, but it’s just the book
that I use all the time for inspiration and just
to add layers of detail to characters and to stories. Again, big thanks to Skillshare for making this video possible. And if you guys wanna
learn more about color, that is the perfect place to do it. You can use the link in the description to get two months completely free, and you can dive into color a bit more. So hopefully you find
all this stuff helpful. I’m really really working hard
to get these videos out there consistently every week. So if you do enjoy this
type of stuff, leave a like. And if this is your first
time on this channel, consider subscribing
because there’ll be more filmmaking videos coming your way. All right guys, thank
you so much for watching. My name is Kris Truini
for Kriscoart Productions, and I’ll see you next time. (calm acoustic guitar music) ♫ Hit me blue ♫ I’m an ocean blue ♫ Like the color of the mermaid ♫ Her hair shade ♫ I saw her rose, I prayed ♫ I was just ashamed ♫ Hit me peach ♫ I’m a pumpkin peach ♫ Like frosted buttercream ♫ Which vegans won’t eat ♫ Just get a mandarin ♫ Painted tangerine ♫ Hit me green ♫ I’m a captain’s green ♫ Like the color of my youth ♫ Which lowers me familiar ♫ While watching Willy Wonka ♫ Now that truck is my future