February 29, 2020 2 min read
Blue is frequently cited as the Western world's favourite colour. Why? Well, the emotive power of colour has been debated for generations and remains a contested topic for discussion.
One reason could be because blue has so many positive associations with the natural world. Research shows that in general, people are naturally more attracted to colours associated with significant everyday objects that tend to evoke positive emotions. This is Schloss and Palmer’sEcological Valence Theory of colour preference, and a key element of the biophilic design approach, which recommends the use of ‘natural analogues’, or nature references including natural colours within interior design, to bring positive emotional benefits. Perhaps this should be called ‘biophilic colour.’
Here are three very different colour palettes that explore the spectrum of blues seen in nature. Think about each colour palette in turn and explore how it makes you feel and compare your emotional response for each.
As you consider your emotional response to each colour story, remember that colours can trigger positive and negative emotions. The colour blue has been said to lower blood pressure, relax and focus the mind and instil a sense of calm. This is turn can naturally boost creative thinking, inspiration and confidence. But too much of this calming effect could induce sleepiness and reduced concentration. Getting the balance right by exploring how the mix of colours and tones works for you is the key.
Blue colour scheme featuring clockwise from top left: Guernsey Grandes Rocque coastline, Recycled Plastic Bottle Zala Denim Rug, Fermain and Cobalt Cushions, Les Burons Sark.
As you can see, different shades of blue can create very different emotive responses, from calming and relaxing, to refreshing and uplifting, or energizing and invigorating. Our emotive response is driven not only by the colours themselves, but also by the chroma – how saturated, or muted, the colour is. Any of these colour palettes can be customised by changing the proportions of each colour, or increasing or decreasing the intensity of the colour to heighten or lower its’ affects.
Blue colour scheme featuring clockwise from top left: Guernsey Rousse Harbour, Organic linen Wave Midday fabric, Rhythmic Tides Indigo Rug, Port Grat Bay Guernsey.
For more advice on colour, you may be interested in reading:
Understanding How We React To Colour
Fascinating and Useful Things To Know About Combining Colours
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