How Colours Can Be Linked To Emotions And Cultures

What if rain came down and washed all the colours away? This thought would probably be too scary for some people, while far from reality for others. Our life is dipped in colours, with every single aspect of it influenced by the colours around us. All of us will know that one person who hoards everything they get if it’s their favourite colour or that friend who always wears black. All of us can relate to that special feeling of happiness when we get something in our favourite colour, and we have been surprised by how a change of colour was all that it took to change certain situations. 


All of us have our preferences when it comes to colours. They evoke feelings, incite emotions, and can dramatically affect our moods and feelings. Black makes some people feel classy, seeing yellow makes some feel happy, while grey can sometimes make people sad. We have our preferences based on how the colour makes us feel. Most of these responses are universal, but it would be interesting to know how our culture has its own unique influence on this emotional reaction. 

In Western culture, black symbolises evil, sadness and death. Their typical mourning outfit colour choice would always be full-black. On the other hand, they consider white as the colour of purity and peace. Even brides wear white for their weddings. However, things change when we move to Indian culture. In most Indian cultures, with a few exceptions, white is worn at funerals, while the brides wear bright shades of red or green. As the place and culture change, so do the emotional reactions of people towards a colour.

The colour red symbolises purity in India and is usually preferred for brides. Yellow is considered a colour of hope as it shows the onset of spring. Bright colours are worn at festivals and dull colours at funerals. 


Artists, interior designers, and business brands all rely on colours and their influence on people, and that can show how much difference a simple change of colour can make. They all work according to colour psychology, which is the study of colours in relation to human behaviour. Colour psychology focuses on how colour affects our day-to-day actions and decisions like the items we choose. For example, there’s a reason why the McDonald’s logo is red. Fast-food joints mostly use the colour red, to invoke the feeling of excitement and of course appetite in the viewer. Blue conveys a universal meaning of reliability, and stability and is used mostly by banks and educational institutions. Pink is said to be the colour of love and femininity, which is why it’s used extensively by companies like Barbie. 

Colours can even affect a person’s view of the world and according to studies, it has helped a great deal. A study in 2002 in the city of Glasgow in Scotland concluded that the number of crimes dropped when the colour of some streetlights was changed from yellow to blue to improve the look of the place. Another study in 2005 in Nara, Japan states that suicide rates decreased by 84% when blue lights were installed on railway platforms. In many mental asylums and jails, the walls are painted pink, which is a colour that evokes the feeling of serenity, particularly the colour baker-miller pink. The walls of houses are painted light pink or blue as well, for the feeling of tranquillity. 

Image: Blue lights installed in Japan’s railway platforms 

Another fun thing to look at is that there are traits associated with people according to their favourite colours. Love the colour pink? You’re probably intuitive and sensual. Obsessed with black? Such people are said to be strong-willed and determined. People who love blue are said to be sensible and organised, while those who love red and yellow are associated with energy and cheerfulness. Did anybody cross your mind? 

It’s beautiful how colours can hold so much meaning. Most of us have been passive to their existence, but it is always a pleasant experience to notice how they brighten up our world!

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