Your favourite colour holds a lot of information about your personality, who you are, what type of person, likes and dislikes and so many other personality characteristics. You may be aware of the obvious side of your personality but I’m sure there are many other hidden personality qualities you probably never knew.
Colours are amazingly intriguing and ambiguous. Many studies have been carried out over the centuries to learn more about the science of colour and, more interestingly, colour personality meanings and how colour describes personality.
Investigating the meaning of favourite colour is primarily the subject of this article. Although I have written briefly about it before, this time it is a lot more challenging and personal as it is aimed at an artist’s personality – me!
It is never easy to speak or write about one’s self and this article is no different. It is a massive challenge for me to write about myself. Let’s see how it goes.
A bit of colour history …
The Greek philosopher, Aristotle (384–322 BC), developed the first known theory of colour and he believed it was sent by God from heaven through celestial rays of light. He also believed that all colours came from white and black. He related all colours to the four elements – earth, water, fire and air. Aristotle’s theory of colours continued for over 2000 years until being replaced by Newtons’ Rainbow theory.
In 1666 Isaac Newton (1642-17267), an English physicist and mathematician carried out a series of experiments with sunlight and prisms. He concluded that clear white light was composed of seven visible colours – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet (ROYGBIV). Newton’s most useful idea for artists was his conceptual arrangement of colours around the circumference of a circle.
Claude Boutet’s painter’s circle of 1708 was probably the first to be based on Newton’s circle.
Today, many artists, graphic designers, interior designers and a wide range of other people in various professions continue to use the colour wheel. It is a great simple tool that helps us to learn more about colour relationships and effects to identify colour harmony and balance in the concept of the designer.
And a bit of science …
There are several types of artist’s colour wheels, but the standard colour wheel usually displays twelve colours (or to be more precise in the art world terminology, ‘hues’). 3 primary, 3 secondary and 6 tertiary. The primary colours of pigments are yellow, red and blue. This is also known as the Subtractive Colour Theory.
For example, when you mix yellow and blue, you get green. Mixing red and blue creates purple or violet. Mixing red and yellow gives us orange.
When we mix all the primary colours, we should end up with black colour.
This is not to be confused with the primary colours of light – red, blue and green which is known as the Additive Colour Theory.
For example, when you mix different amounts of green and red lights, the result is a yellow light. Mixing green and blue lights, you end up with cyan light. And mixing blue and red light you get magenta. When you add all the colour lights, we see white colour light.
I hope this is not confusing as most of us may think of colours as pigments (paints) and forget about colour as light.
Understanding colour theory is absolutely amazing and can help us to learn more about our beautiful colourful world.
The science of colour is so deep in physics and art, but I’m not going to go into many details, otherwise, it would turn into a physics lesson. However, what is interesting to know is that we can only detect three colours – red, blue and green (primary colours of light). By combining these colours we can see many different other colours. Each colour has a different wavelength and we can describe nearly ten million colours (‘hues’). A good monitor, for example, can display about sixteen million tints and shades of every visible colour.
Colour and personality
Over the years there has been a lot of research into the emotional power of colours and its effects on our psychology. From mood to memory, all kinds of studies have shown that colour can have a profound effect on our mind, actions and can produce an emotional response in the human body.
Most of these studies aim is to provide more accurate answers to questions such as:
- What colour personality am I?
- Can colour describe personality?
- Can colour determine personality?
Some colours are often used to represent certain types of people. For example, blue is a colour that is commonly associated with security and calmness, while red can symbolise a sense of urgency and energy.
We all know that red means stop and green means go, but there are so many more meanings behind colours. There is a whole science behind colour psychology and how it affects our moods and emotions.
Colour is the ultimate form of expression. It is also the most powerful tool for communicating how you feel, or what emotions you want to evoke in others without necessarily using words.
People associate colours with various emotions and personalities. Each colour has its own significance and meaning, which often differs from culture to culture. The meaning of colours has, to a certain degree, changed over the years. Colours are now more about the feelings and emotions they can evoke than their history or symbolic meaning.
Here is a brief colour personality association that is common in many Western cultures:
Red – passionate and extroverted
Orange – creating and spontaneous
Yellow – determined and intelligent
Green – harmonious and peaceful
Blue – cold and intellectual
I’m sure there is a lot more colour associations and descriptions, but this is just to give you a brief idea.
My Favourite Colours
It was only by going through some of my paintings that I started to notice something very common among most of my paintings. Three colours seem to be included in the majority of my paintings – white, black and gold.
Thinking about it now, I always felt the need to use those particular three colours in whatever painting I was making. Those paintings which I didn’t use all three colours felt, somewhat, different even when I was painting them.
Something else I also noticed. In almost every painting I’ve ever created, I used at least one of the three colours. White is most definitely the most colour I have used and still use in my paintings, followed by black and gold.
I really wonder if there is something to do with painting your feelings with your feelings!
Why these particular three colours?
A question that intrigued me for a long time and still does today. So, I became more interested to analyse my own colour personality using my favourite colours and finding out what these colours are saying about me. More importantly, I wanted to see how accurate are the colours describing my personality and the second most intriguing finding (if possible at all) whether the colours would tell me something about me that I didn’t know?
I spent several weeks going through and researching many colour psychology studies and articles in an attempt to come up with a common summary of these three personality colours. So, here we go, let’s find out what these colours personality associations are:
“Instead of trying to reproduce exactly what I see before me, I make more arbitrary use of colour to express myself more forcefully.” — Vincent Van Gogh
White Colour Personality
White is primarily associated with perfection. In the psychology world, the meaning of white is purity, innocence, completion and wholeness. A new beginning, a blank canvas waiting for a new story.
White may not necessarily stimulate the senses, but it paves the way for the creation of everything the mind can imagine. White colour is made up of an equal balance of all other colours of the spectrum and represents both the positive and negative aspects of all colours. Its basic feature is equality, which means fairness and impartiality, neutrality and independence.
White is completely reflective and evokes openness, growth and creativity. White represents the person’s ultimate purity and cleanliness, This is perhaps why doctors wear white jackets and brides wear white traditionally in western cultures.
White colour represents encouragement and protection, providing a feeling of peace and calm, a sense of comfort and hope, and helping to relieve the emotional upset. It creates a sense of order and efficiency and is a great help when you need to sort out your life.
White offers a sense of inner self-purification of thoughts and emotions refreshing your energy. It has few negative associations, especially in Western culture, but too much white can be cold, insulated, and empty. It may give the impression of disinterest and distance.
White colour is one of those colours that is not usually a favourite colour from childhood. It may, however, change as we go through changes in our lives, for example, looking for a new beginning or a new direction in one or more aspects of life.
To summarise the above, if your favourite colour is white, you:
- pay a lot of attention to your neat appearance and the appearance of almost all your belongings,
- have high standards of cleanliness, hygiene and decluttering, and you expect others to respect those high standards,
- are visionary, positive and optimistic, balanced, rational, careful and wise,
- tend to be practical, cautious and careful with money,
- think carefully before you act, you definitely don’t tend to be impulsive,
- possess a great deal of self-control,
- are confident but can be very selective and fastidious,
- can be very critical of yourself and others, but fair and impartial,
- are self-sufficient and a loner, you don’t need or want help from others,
- aim to create simplicity in your life,
- hide your flaws from others to give an impression of perfection,
- find it difficult to be flexible to communicate your desires.
That is a lot of personality descriptions for one colour. Let’s see what Black colour will say…
Black Colour Personality
Black colour personality strives for power, control and prestige in life, but are often artistic and intuitive and do not share things well with others. Independence, strong will, a high level of determination and being in control of yourself and situations are very important to this colour personality.
You may appear non-emotional, intimidating to even your closest colleagues and friends, with an authoritarian, demanding, dictatorial attitude and too serious for your own good. You dislike being told what to do.
You`re above average, worldly, traditional, proper, polite, and regal. While black can also mean “depression” to the scientific psychologist, to you it means “dignity.”
You prefer to keep people at a distance, guarding your emotions and creating an impenetrable barrier between yourself and others. Black colour personality values their inner world and keeps their private life private. Only very close relatives and selected friends are privy to some of their thoughts and feeling, but not everything.
Black colour is also associated with the unknown, the mystery and keeping things hidden from the world protecting feelings and emotions of vulnerabilities and insecurities. It may create a barrier with the outside world.
Black colour is the absorption of all colours and the absence of light. It absorbs negative energy. It may resemble the end, but the end always implies a new beginning.
You may be retreating due to going through a difficult time in your life may be because of serious illness, grief or other major negative situation.
Gold Colour Personality
Gold colour personality is about charisma, persona and individuality. You make other people feel valued and comfortable in your company. You are a compassionate and loving person. With your high quality outlook on life, you draw people to you. But you also have high expectations from other people.
This personality demonstrates tremendous spiritual qualities offering and providing extensive understanding and unconditional love to all people who come in contact with you.
You appreciate life completely and you aim for the best quality in life. With your active participation, hard work and optimistic attitude you mainly succeed in acquiring material wealth.
You are very detail oriented and enjoy planning ahead. You are dependable and reliable, which provide you with a sense of security in life. You seldom do something unexpected or unanticipated.
History and tradition are also important to you. You have a high moral standard and adhere to your family’s common practices and views. You enjoy discovering new ways to carry out these principles in numerous ways throughout your life. You appreciate having others look to you for assistance.
You take pride in being the best at what you do and feel there is always a proper way to accomplish things. Others could label you a “rule-follower” who “does everything by the book.” When you don’t agree with others’ decisions, you may become forceful and judgmental as a result.
A leader by nature who loves to share wisdom and knowledge with others. Wise, successful, yet practical and honest, you are achievement oriented with high expectations, dreams and desires.
So, what is the verdict?
During the process of researching the above three colour personalities, I was also looking at all the other colour personality descriptions and associations to give me a more comprehensive idea about most other colours.
I noticed that several colour personalities shared many similar personality traits. Despite spending a great deal of time researching and analysing many articles and studies written about the subject, I couldn’t find any concrete evidence to support any of the findings.
My three favourite colours (white, black and gold) may mean something to me and may have some sort of personality meaning, too.
The following is my take on the associations of the three colours:
Favourite colour White: I like white because to me it means open space, decluttered, no limit and no restriction. It’s clean, airy, open-minded, anything and everything is possible. Absolutely neutral, zero balance between positive and negative energy.
Favourite colour Black: This colour always reminds me of crude oil. Oil and gas had been used in some capacity thousands of years ago before the modern era. The earliest known oil wells were drilled in China in 347 AD. The modern history of oil and gas began in 1847.
It isn’t so much about the history of oil as it is about the human power struggle for control of oil, the most valuable commodity in the world.
Favourite colour Gold: There is something special about this colour. Is it something to do with gold itself as actual and symbolic value to humanity since ancient civilisation? Is it to do with the inherent relationship between the colour gold and humans ideas of divinity? Perhaps, it’s the ultimate sun energy that all humans live by.
Like all artists, I find colours to be extremely amazing and intriguing. I believe colours do communicate but their vocabulary remains subjective.
Colour psychology is about how colour and emotion are closely related, and how colour affects human behaviour. There is little rigorous scientific research on the psychological effects of colour, but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence.
It is not straightforward to understand why colour affects people’s feelings. Several factors can affect how a person feels when exposed to a particular colour. An important factor is a personal connection or experience with the colour as well as cultural interpretation.
There is no conclusive evidence to support colour personalities, as further scientific research is needed to better understand colour psychology.