Color color everywhere! It’s probably not a huge surprise that all of us at Square One Interiors love color. Bright, bold, intense color. But why? What makes some people prefer blue over purple, red over yellow? Why do we correlate certain colors with feelings, emotions and ideas? There is quite a bit of information on color theory, symbolism and psychology but did you know those three things are all very different and all equally important in design?
Color Symbolism is pretty straight forward and fairly universal. These are the feelings, emotion and other characteristics that have come to be generally accepted. You can Google color symbolism or color meaning and all sorts of color charts will pop up. Many times the meaning can also be mistaken by some as color psychology (guilty myself!). While there may be some shared correlation and acceptance, color symbolism is not the same as the psychological impact of color.
Color Psychology is more scientific and can be defined (noted directly from the Colour Affects website) as the effects of the electro-magnetic radiation of light on human mood and behavior – a universal, psychophysical reaction, which is not as heavily influenced by culture, age and gender. Say what? Yep, that sounds pretty science-y! The research and the psychological properties of color are fascinating so we may have to dedicate a blog post specifically for that!
Color Theory is a body of guidance to color mixing and the visual effects of a specific color combination. It is where the education of knowing proper symbolism and psychology pairs with the practical application of colors to create impactful interior design, brand recognition, product design and marketing efforts. This would be why you hire designers and consultants – experts on color theory!
Whew, so what does all this have to do with space planning, design and furniture? A LOT! Based on the three principles above, color will play a part in everything from productivity and mood to emotional and even physical well being. So yeah, that’s a pretty big factor when evaluating what colors will be included in your planning process and where they will be used.
Some important things to remember when working with color in your workplace:
1. Consider the space and function. Office production areas would most likely require colors that increase productivity, clarity and concentration while non-production areas might want to be spaces that calm, soothe and help employees recharge their mental batteries.
2. Work the color theory process! Not all colors have to be the boldest of the bold. There are a gazillion options out there. Shade and tint your way up and down the color spectrum. Don’t forget about black and white. Both are strong color elements and hold their own in any design.
3. Consider the holistic approach to color use. Don’t just focus on a room, walls etc. Be sure you are including furniture material and finishes as well. Since employees will be working in that furniture day in and day out it will definitely matter!
So now that you’ve been given a bit of insight to the impact of color in design you are armed and ready to create healthy, productive, energetic and motivating workspaces for all your employees!