The Universal Color Theory

That today we apply emotions to colors is not intrinsic but cultural. To each color we have applied the filter of tradition to fix emotions to each color. That is why we say that someone is green with envy or that something is red passion.

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However, while for some black is the color of mourning, others manifest the mourning of white. The festive symbolism of orange is the color of spirituality for Tibetans. Here luckily we dress it in the green of the clover, and the Chinese dress it in red.

But really, is there a universal symbology?

Apparently, this universal symbology was born relatively recently. In 1810, the writer and scientist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe applied psychological meaning to color in his “Theory of Colors.” German proposed a universal meaning for basic tones and some mixes. A proposal that continues to influence despite its detractors. Speaking of “sad colors” and “happy colors” is due to the author of Faust.
Today it is still taught in design schools that each color has its own meaning, beyond each local tradition.

For Goethe, the shades of red evoke vitality, excitement, blood and violence.

Pink is not part of Goethe’s theory. For the German it is a shade of red. However, the identification of pink with women is imposed from the 70s. In fact, previously, in the United States it was common to see how boys dressed in pink (vitality) and girls in blue (kindness). In Europe, the choice depended on the country.

The color of energy for Goethe. A color that the writer associates with children. It is also associated with the effort since it involves facing difficulties.

For Goethe, yellow is beauty, optimism and joy. However, yellow, due to its attractiveness, has also been used to signal danger, so that on many occasions it can communicate that idea to us.

For Goethe, green is spring, youth and hope. It is also associated with the natural and respectful with the environment. By modern analogy, green is associated with healing. In the operating rooms, it was adopted because it is the one that most hides the color of the blood.

Purple or violet represents maturity and experience according to Goethe. Also power and solemnity. And in some cases, mysticism and magic. Meanings that we have assumed.

Goethe grants blue the qualities of intelligence, patience and calm. The sky and the sea agree with the poet.

The cinema has also not escaped using colors as a way to evoke sensations. In Color Theory, Kat Smith reviews the use of color in cinema and how environments are generated from its use and outdoor advertisers also using these color theory for thier advertising campaign.

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