Traces of Colors I – What is Color


As the seasons shift, colors transform, and colder weather ushers us slowly into winter, we find ourselves witnessing the fading of the once-vibrant flowers on our workshop terrace, as they shed their leaves. Seeds have reached maturity, been carefully collected, and are now stored, awaiting their moment to meet the earth come spring. The duration of our breaks on the terrace of Woodsaka wood workshop has decreased even more. Perhaps it’s because of this, or maybe because options have decreased (perhaps both), but now birds come more often for their meals to the terrace. Likewise, a welcoming spot is always reserved for our feathered friends on the workshop’s terrace.

As we transition from the rich reds and yellows of autumn to the softer, more subdued hues of pale yellow and yellow-brown, it seems only fitting to delve into the world of colors. After all, colors have held a profound fascination for scientists for thousands of years. Color is a visual perceptual attribute that corresponds to categories created by humans, such as red, green, blue, and so on. We call the sensations produced by light reflecting off objects and entering our eyes “color”. The seven colors of the spectrum are produced by various wavelengths of light waves reflected from living and non-living beings. Light and color are fundamentally a matter of vibration frequency.

The profound impact of colors on human emotions and psychology has been a long-established fact, recognized by artists, designers, and scientists alike. The study of colors and their psychological effects traces back to Goethe’s seminal work, “Theory of Colors,” published in 1810. In this work, Goethe associated specific colors, such as yellow-red and the amalgamation of these hues, with emotional responses. Subsequently, Goldstein (1942) expanded upon Goethe’s ideas, asserting that certain colors—like yellow-red—elicited systematic physiological reactions, influencing emotional experiences, cognitive orientation, and external focus. Over time, theories delved into the wavelength of colors, positing that longer wavelengths yielded stimulating and warm effects, whereas shorter wavelengths imparted a sense of calm and coolness. Other theories explored color’s psychological function, focusing on the general associations it engendered in individuals.

Fascinating studies exploring the impact of colors have emerged over the years. Allow me to highlight a couple of these captivating investigations that are sure to intrigue you. In a study published in 1996, researchers probed whether the colors of medications influenced the perceived effectiveness of the drugs. Participants with various medical conditions were administered drugs in different colors, with the study then gauging the effects of these colors. The findings indicated that drugs in shades of red, yellow, and orange had stimulating effects, while blue and green colors yielded a calming influence. Consequently, researchers postulated that colors could indeed shape the perceived efficacy of a drug.

In a study conducted in 2015, researchers examined the effects of six colors—bright red, blue, and yellow, as well as pale red, blue, and yellow—on university students’ learning performance, emotional states, and heart rates. Different study areas were designed with the mentioned colors. The results showed that participants considered pale-colored environments more comfortable, calm, and pleasant, but their reading scores significantly improved in vivid color conditions. Heart rates were significantly affected by the color tone, increasing in red and yellow conditions.

Lastly, I’d like to mention a study related to sports. In a study on athletic performance, it was observed that red uniforms provided an advantage. During the 2004 Olympics, athletes competing in four different sports (Greco-Roman wrestling, freestyle wrestling, boxing, and taekwondo) were randomly assigned red or blue uniforms/protective gear. As a result, athletes wearing red won 19 out of 29 weight classes. Similar studies conducted between football matches also suggested that teams wearing red jerseys had a similar advantage.

Colors and their intricate connection to psychology constitute a profound subject. As the colors shift and the season progresses towards more muted tones, I believe it would be beneficial to delve even deeper into this intriguing realm. What are your thoughts?

Wishing you a day filled with vibrant colors and inspiration.


Anton J M de Craen, Pieter J Roos,  A Leonard de Vries, Jos Kleijnen, 1996, Effect of colour of drugs: systematic review of perceived effect of drugs and of their effectiveness, doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7072.1624

Andrew J.Elliot, 2015, Color and psychological functioning: are view of theoretical and empirical work, Front. Psychol.6:368. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00368

Aseel AL-Ayash, Robert T. Kane, Dianne Smith, Paul Green-Armytage, 2015, The influence of color on student emotion, heart rate, and performance in learning environments, Color Research & Application


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