Did you know there’s a psychology behind colors? That’s because colors affect our emotions and physical state. Red can quicken the pulse, blue can calm someone down, and yellow can cause eye strain and irritation. This information is important to know when you’re developing e-learning and choosing color schemes.

However, I do want to note that the definitions in this article are targeted mostly for western cultures. Depending on the culture or country specific to your learners, colors might have different meanings and significance, so know your audience.

Yellow

Yellow is a bright color that is often described as cheerful and optimistic; however, it is also fatiguing to the eye due to the high amount of light reflected in it. Because yellow is the most visible color, it’s often used for traffic signs.

Key Terms: Optimism, Caution, Warmth, Clarity, Friendliness, Creativity

Red

Red is a powerful and attention-grabbing color. Its effect is physical, as it stimulates our attention and raises the pulse rate. It is lively and friendly, but can also be perceived as demanding and aggressive.

Key Terms: Excitement, Passion, Fire, Boldness, Youthful, Hot, Spicy, Action, Determination

Orange

Orange is the color of communication and optimism. As a combination of red and yellow, it is considered an energetic color. It’s also stimulating, which is why it’s often used for traffic signs and advertising.

Key Terms: Passion, Fun, Warmth, Communication, Security, Immaturity

Pink

Pink is associated with love, romance, and nurturing. It’s also thought to have a calming effect. Being a tint of red, pink also affects us physically, but it soothes rather than stimulates. Pink also often represents femininity.

Key Terms: Tranquility, Nurturing, Warmth, Femininity, Love

Purple

Purple is the color of the imagination; it can be viewed as creative and individual, or immature and impractical. The color purple is traditionally the symbol of royalty and wealth, and it also represents wisdom and spirituality.

Key Terms: Creativity, Wisdom, Spirituality, Wealth, Imaginative, Royalty

Indigo

Indigo is the color of intuition and wisdom. It can represent idealism and structure, as well as ritual and addiction.

Key Terms: Integrity, Structure, Idealism, Faithful, Intuition, Wisdom

Blue

Blue is the color of trust and peace. It can suggest loyalty, calmness, and integrity as well as conservatism and frigidity. It is often described as serene, tranquil, secure, and orderly. Blue can also create feelings of sadness or aloofness.

Key Terms: Trust, Logic, Communication, Intelligence, Strength, Masculinity, Coldness, Aloofness

Green

Green symbolizes nature and the natural world. It also represents balance, growth, tranquility, good luck, health, and jealousy. The color green has long been a symbol of fertility, and it’s also thought to relieve stress and help heal.

Key Terms: Environment, Cleanliness, Peaceful, Calmness, Growth, Health, Nature

Check out this cool interactive infographic created with Articulate Storyline 2 that explains the same information from this article.

View Demo

How do you like to use color in your projects? Please share your experience in the comments below!

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Jacqueline Hutchinson
Nicole Legault