Element 4: Calm with Colors

Use neutral colors that are proven to calm and not stimulate. Cool colors tend to be more calming – pastel blues, blue-greens tend to put people at ease. Soft off whites and beiges can also be used as calming colors.

Colors can calm, excite and stimulate. Here are some guidelines around color.

Warm Colors

Red is a dynamic color with that tends to trigger opposing emotions. It is often associated with passion and love as well as anger and danger. It can increase a person’s heart rate and make them excited. It has very high visibility so if you want to draw attention to a design element, use red. But use it as an accent color in moderation as it can be overwhelming.

Orange enhances a feeling of vitality and happiness. Like red, it draws attention and shows movement but is not as overpowering. It is aggressive, but balanced – it portrays energy yet can be inviting and friendly.

Yellow is associated with positive energies like laughter, hope, and sunshine. However, yellow tends to reflect more light and can irritate a person’s eyes. Too much yellow can be overwhelming and should be used sparingly. In design, it is often used to grab attention in an energetic and comforting way.

Cool Colors

Cool colors include green, blue, and purple. Cool colors are usually calming and soothing but they can also express sadness.  Green typically symbolizes health, new beginnings, and wealth. Green is the easiest on the eyes and should be used to relax and create balance in a design.

Blue evokes feelings of calmness and spirituality as well as security and trust. Seeing the color blue causes the body to create chemicals that are calming. It tends to be one of the most favored of the colors.

The Quiet Language of White

Pantone Color Institute

White is a conciliatory color. Unsullied, divine, pristine, traditionally the color of clothing for babies and brides, there is an innocence, delicacy and simplicity to white. . . white represents new beginnings and our ability to start anew on a blank slate. White light contains all colors so that we think of white as the complete presence of light. True whites are rarely found in nature.

There is also the association of silence to white. The color family we correlate with meditation and the expression “quiet calm”, white is a symbol of calming influence in a frenetic society that is rediscovering the value of measured consideration and quiet reflection.

A quiet that in our fast paced lives is something we crave and the reason whites are becoming more important.

It is important to note that colors can be subjective – what might make one person feel cheerful can make another person feel irritated depending on the viewers’ past experiences or cultural differences.

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