When looking at the key trends in interior design, it is also important to remember the fundamentals of colour theory, which dictate the impact a particular colour palette can have on the ambience of a workspace. Rich plum may be superhot, but if your team needs a calm, cool, tranquil environment in which to work, it might not be the trend for you! If serenity is your goal, might we direct you to the cool pastels and marine shades that are also making a splash this year? Each colour has its own set of semiotics - the symbols and signs it communicates - and each is capable of creating many different moods, depending on the shade selected and how they are used and combined in an interior. It is also worth remembering that these symbols can change from culture to culture – a lesson learned the hard way by a certain chocolate manufacturer, which, when trying to launch its products in a new country, quickly discovered that its iconic purple packaging was the colour associated with death. In the UK the following associations and feelings are related to colour.
Red is the colour of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love. Red is a very emotionally intense colour. It enhances human metabolism, increases respiration rate, and raises blood pressure.
Yellow is the colour of sunshine. It’s associated with joy, happiness, intellect, and energy. Yellow produces a warming effect, arouses cheerfulness, and stimulates mental and physical activity.
Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. It is associated with joy, sunshine, and the tropics. Orange represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation. To the human eye, orange is a very hot colour, so it gives the perception of heat, but is not as aggressive as red. Orange increases oxygen supply to the brain, produces an invigorating effect, and stimulates mental activity.
The colour of nature, green symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility. Green has strong emotional correspondence with safety and dark green is also commonly associated with wealth. Green has great healing power. It is the most restful colour for the human eye; it can improve vision. Green suggests stability and endurance.
Blue is the colour of the sky and sea and is often associated with depth and stability. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and spirituality. Blue is considered beneficial to the mind and body. It slows human metabolism and produces a calming effect. Blue is strongly associated with tranquillity, serenity and purity.
Purple combines the stability of blue and the energy of red. Purple is associated with royalty, symbolizes power, nobility, luxury, and ambition and conveys wealth and extravagance. Purple is associated with wisdom, dignity, independence, creativity, mystery, and magic. Shade choice is very important with purple, as light purple evokes romantic and nostalgic feelings, but dark purple can evoke gloom, sad feelings and can cause frustration.
White is associated with light, goodness, innocence, purity, and virginity. It is considered to be the colour of perfection. White means safety and cleanliness and usually has a positive connotation. In heraldry, white depicts faith and purity.
Black is associated with power, elegance, formality, death, evil, and mystery. It is a mysterious colour associated with fear and the unknown and frequently has a negative connotation (e.g. blacklist, black humour, Black Death). However, black also denotes strength and authority and is considered to be a very formal, elegant, and prestigious colour (e.g. black tie, black card). In heraldry, black is the symbol of grief.