They’re all around us. From the blue skies that’ve grabbed our attention since we were kids, to the deep, dark wine of the open ocean, colours are one of the easiest ways we have come to recognise the things that surround us.
And with them, we see many cultures passing down their customs according to colours and their associated beliefs. Yet, whether as a work of Nature’s art or simply our own prescribed superstitions, colours never fail to capture our hearts. They remain as fascinating as ever regardless of how many years we’ve walked this Earth.
If you’ve noticed that some colours appear more often than others, you’re not wrong. From the biggest corporate logos to cultural traditions, colours have taken on increasingly important roles as silent messengers, delivering messages to our brains as we come across them.
Here, we take a look at some of the most common meanings associated with the colours we most often see around us.
Red is seen as the colour of strong emotions and energy. It conveys love and passion on one hand, but also tells of lust, power, and danger on the other. Being naturally striking, it is used on many warning signs worldwide. It is, however, an auspicious colour in Chinese cultures.
The colour of Mother Nature, it represents health and youth. It gives off a calming vibe for the soul, and is also used as a symbol of renewal, growth, and vitality. In the American context, green is the colour of money and wealth. Other cultures also ascribe greed and jealousy with green.
The colour of the sky, ocean, and even of Earth from Outer Space, blue represents feelings of serenity and peace. It also symbolises stability, which is why many big corporations feature the colour on their brands and logos. Blue is often used to convey messages of responsibility, intelligence, and most essentially, of international peace and diplomacy.
The colour of sunshine and joy, yellow is associated with bright bursts of positivity. Although it is also sometimes used to convey fear, the natural disposition of this eye-catching colour means it is used most often used with young children and has become one that symbolises innocent happiness.
A warm colour, it is associated with heat and warmth, and is seen as the middle-ground between red and yellow. It is used to represent vibrant energy, and symbolises creativity and fun.
Historically expensive because of its rarity in nature, purple is a colour that is traditionally associated with royalty, and thus, with luxury.
Traditionally associated with sweetness and beauty, this naturally charming colour is not only representative of romance and sensitivity, its attractive disposition has also taken on bigger current roles as displays of modern beauty standards, contemporary ideas, and gender equality.
In most cultures around the world, black has come to be deemed as an inauspicious colour, representing moments of grief and negativity. However, it is interesting to note that for specific events, black is the go-to dress code that conveys elegance, formality, and a level of prestige.